Detailed Presentation Abstract Schedule

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Monday 26 September 2016

Author / Presenter: Gordon Craig
Affiliation: G.R. Craig & Associates
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 09:50 – 10:30
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Regulatory control of the impact of industrial discharges on receiving waters began in the early 1950s with some narrative prohibitions and some quantitative chemical limits. A good example is the 1952 IJC Boundary Waters Objective. The Provinces developed their respective physical and chemical effluent limits expressed as concentrations and loads. In the 1960s government regulators and universities conducted benthic surveys downstream of discharges and some industries did the same either voluntarily or under order. The two approaches of point in time end-of-the-pipe effluent quality and integrative benthic and fisheries community assessments continued along separate paths for the next two decades. By the mid 1980s scientists and managers in Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada realized that the two needed to be connected to quantify the impact of industrial discharges on the biological and physical environment. Over-riding statutes had always claimed a requirement to protect fisheries and aquatic life but there was little proof that existing controls accomplished that purpose. Historical studies were so varied that spacial and temporal comparisons were difficult to impossible. Workshops were held to review pilot studies in the late 1980s; a strategic plan was developed to meet stated objectives; technical guidance was developed in 1991 to ensure conformity; the industry and consultants critiqued the program and; in 1992 the Environmental Effects Monitoring program was created. The objectives and capabilities of the program were debated before and long after promulgation of the regulation. Those early days were a fiery ground swell shift in environmental impact assessment. Everything changed.

Author / Presenter: Richard Lowell
Affiliation: Environment Canada
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:30 – 11:10
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

To investigate the nature and degree of effluent effects on receiving water biota since the 1990’s, a series of national assessments have been conducted on environmental effects monitoring (EEM) data submitted under the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations (PPER) and Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER). These assessments have provided a great deal of insight into effluent effects (when they occur), facilitating subsequent investigations of cause (IOC) and solutions (IOS). In areas exposed to pulp and paper mill effluent, the national assessments have shown national average response patterns typically associated with nutrient enrichment/eutrophication effects on fish and invertebrates, together with metabolic disruption (reduced gonad size) in fish. Pulp and paper standard monitoring findings led to IOC and IOS studies that revealed, among other things, the importance of reducing organics loading to help ameliorate both eutrophication and fish gonadal effects. In areas exposed to metal mine effluent, the national assessments have shown a greater heterogeneity of effects (sometimes inhibitory, sometimes stimulatory) among mines, although effects were fairly repeatable from one study to the next for individual mines. Metal mining IOC studies, to date, have shown that the effluent substances associated with effects include major ions, metals, nitrogen, total suspended solids, phosphorus, and selenium. This long-term series of EEM studies and assessments (for both PPER and MMER) has revealed a wealth of information that was not available before the national implementation of EEM in Canada, and has played a central role in evaluating the effectiveness of current regulations in protecting fish, fish habitat, and fisheries resources.

Author / Presenter: Mark McMaster
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

During the late 1980’s, studies found reduced gonad sizes, delayed maturation and changes in secondary sex characteristics in fish near effluent discharges from some Canadian pulp mills. The findings led to the development of a national, standardized, cyclical monitoring program for fish and benthic invertebrate communities focused on the >130 Canadian mills discharging effluent in the early 1990’s. This program was expanded to include metal mines with liquid effluent discharges a decade later. Science played a driving role in the development and improvement of EEM over the years, and is an excellent example of how science and policy can work well together. The industry-funded cyclical program is tiered and adaptive, and decisions on subsequent monitoring depend on the sizes of effects and consistency of patterns of responses. Science-driven expert working groups were formed to provide advice on sample design and data interpretation, and to review results and make recommendations to improve the requirements. A series of workshops, conferences and special issues focused on evolution of sampling methods, design challenges and data interpretation, and a series of science-driven guidance changes focused on improving the monitoring program. Science played a number of globally unique roles in the development of this national program, including developing methods for determining critical effect sizes, setting standardized alpha and power levels for pre-design, scheduling species-specific sampling times, and developing and applying methods for calculating the magnitude of difference on a national basis, in an environment open to multi-stakeholder input and debate. This presentation will review the science development over the years which contributed to the success of the program.

Author / Presenter: Rick Scroggins
Affiliation: Ecotoxicology and Wildlife Health Division
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Sublethal toxicity testing (SLT) has been a component of the Environment Effects Monitoring (EEM) program under the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations since 1992, SLT became a requirement for Canadian mining operations through the 2002 amendment of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation which introduced EEM studies as a requirement. Mills and mines must complete SLT testing using a battery of 3 or 4 tests with representative fish, invertebrate, algal and aquatic plant species at a frequency of once or twice per year. In this presentation, we will provide an overview on the application of SLT within EEM. Specifically, the common uses of SLT data will be summarized; how the EEM program requirements have enhanced the capabilities of the Canadian toxicology laboratories and driven improvements in test methods; and a discussion on recent and proposed changes to the sublethal testing requirements will be covered. Audience members new to EEM will gain an understanding of the value of laboratory toxicity tests conducted on end-of-pipe effluents from a regulatory standpoint; while the EEM ol?timers will be able to relive the ?ups and downs? of this often controversial program requirement.

Author / Presenter: Tim Vickers Mary Murdoch
Affiliation: Stantec Consulting Ltd.
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Understanding the potential influence of non-mill activities on the characteristics of a receiving environment is critical to an Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program. Irving Paper Limited (IPL) operates a thermo-mechanical refining paper mill in Saint John, New Brunswick, which began discharging secondary treated effluent into Courtenay Bay in 1995. IPL began its EEM Program in 1993, prior to the discharge of effluent into Courtenay Bay. The initial EEM demonstrated baseline environmental conditions characterized by an impoverished benthic invertebrate community (BIC), low and evenly distributed sediment total organic carbon (TOC) levels, and a lack of suitable sentinel species for an Adult Fish Survey (AFS).Field studies conducted in subsequent EEMs programs found BIC composition and sediment quality decreased near the mill outfall. Environment Canada (EC) confirmed a prioritized effect (species richness) for BIC that exceeded the critical effects size (CES) over two consecutive cycles, and indicated that these BIC effects were likely related to the deposition and degradation of carbon rich sediments. The confirmation of prioritized effects for BIC across two consecutive cycles allowed for an Investigation of Cause/Investigation of Solutions (IOC/IOS). Questions remained about the potential for non-mill related influences to confound the interpretation of results. These influences included petroleum and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the sediments, more than two centuries of untreated municipal wastewater discharges and, perhaps most importantly, the annual dredging of sediments in Courtenay Bay to allow for commercial vessel traffic. Physical, chemical and biological information collected in the first three EEM programs were re-examined in light of third-party information on non-mill factors. The conclusion reached was that there was low potential for municipal wastewater or hydrocarbons to explain the reduction in BIC composition at sampling stations located near to the mill outfall. Although dredging removed sediments annually along the sampling gradient, there remained a distinct pattern of effects to BIC at stations in close proximity to the IPL mill outfall. Overall, the IOC results confirm that the changes in abundance and structure of the BIC close to the mill outfall is most likely related to increased organic deposition from the discharge of mill effluent. Recommendations on future BIC study designs are made to provide additional information to aid in interpreting results. This study highlights how a re-examination of historical information can improve our understanding of EEM results for mills situated in dynamic and industrial urban receiving environments.

Author / Presenter: Tim Arciszewski
Affiliation: COSIA
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Monitoring shouldn’t be difficult, but it is. And despite the difficulty of detecting and attributing cause, its importance has not diminished. A Federal EEM program was developed in the early 1990s for determining the efficacy of guidelines regulating the discharge of pulp mill effluents and (later) metal mines. After 25 years of developing consistent monitoring for large industries in Canada, many lessons can be gleaned for application in other areas. Although implicitly included in the development of EEM, Adaptive Monitoring has recently been formalized and offers an opportunity to develop and operate meaningful monitoring programs. An Adaptive Monitoring program is characterized by hypothesis-driven questions linked to conceptual effect pathways, evolving through trigger-driven feedback loops that connect tiers of monitoring. Triggers describe background variability and notify us when an unexpected change has occurred. Tiers represent an escalation of effort or attention towards those unexpected observations. Tiering allows the simultaneous operation of both broad non-specific tools and targeted sampling. Other recent improvements include the development of adverse outcome pathways as simple expected effects pathways. A logical question in an AOP process as applied in monitoring is: if we see a change in some physiological indicator, and the difference matters, what will change next? These ideas and a more detailed discussion on improving environmental monitoring will be presented.

Author / Presenter: Pierre Martel
Affiliation: FPInnovations
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

This review will focus on the environmental research funded at FPInnovations (formerly the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada) in response to the Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) regulations. Before the first Cycle of the EEM program was completed the need to understand the relationships between process, effluent chemistry and chronic effects in fish was fully recognized. Field studies reported that measurements of somatic indices, mixed function oxidase (MFO) enzyme activity and circulating steroid hormones were symptoms of endocrine disruption. Chlorinated dioxins and furans were suspected as causal agents. In our laboratory, full life cycle tests with fathead minnows found that a 2.5 % concentration of bleached Kraft mill effluent caused lower egg production and an increased number of individuals with male secondary characteristics. Later, substitution of elemental chlorine for chlorine dioxide in bleaching with improved biological treatment abated the effects. In the late 1990s we gained further insight into the benefits of biological treatment with respect to MFO induction and identified two natural wood extractives as causative agents. Our involvement in field studies in the late 1990s included sentinel species surveys, fish population surveys and the evaluation of caged bivalves. By Cycle 3, accumulated data demonstrated the presence of effects on fish reproduction based on the indicator of reduced gonad size. A Smart Regulation initiative recognized that there was an opportunity to expand the EEM beyond monitoring and address priority issues. Recommendations included allowing flexibility with the design of investigation of cause studies and that government work collaboratively with industry to identify the cause of effluent effects on fish gonads. These recommendations were acted upon and a National Project was formed where industry, government and academia joined in a collaborative study. The study plan was supported by the EEM National Office and measures taken to facilitate mill participation and funding of the project in EEM Cycles 4,5 and 6. The National Project team first worked to select biological and analytical tools based on lab and field results. Based on these findings a large scale effluent survey was proposed in Cycle 6. The survey included 20 mills and examined 81 effluents using chemical markers and a 5-day version of the adult fathead minnow egg production test. One major finding was that effluent organic loading could be correlated with inhibition of egg production for most Kraft and thermomechanical pulp mill effluents. Minimizing organic losses in the process and optimizing biological treatment were proposed as solutions. In future EEM Cycles there will be an opportunity to evaluate how the strategies adopted by mills translate into measurable improvements in the field.

Author / Presenter: Deborah MacLatchy
Affiliation: Wilfrid Laurier University
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

A national assessment of the fish data from the first five cycles of the Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program for pulp & paper identified evidence of enrichment as condition factors and liver sizes of the effluent-exposed fish were larger. This was accompanied by metabolic disruption, a term used to describe impacts on reproductive capacity, defined by the occurrence of larger fish with smaller gonads. Prior to the national assessment, a number of mills were proactively working through Investigation of Cause (IOC) and Investigation of Solution (IOS) studies as prescribed by the EEM program. Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd. (IPP), in Saint John, New Brunswick provides a case study for conducting IOC/IOS studies as augmented through the development of additional research and assessment tools. At IPP, the use of mesocosm, laboratory reproductive bioassays for the estuarine fish species mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus), and chemical separation and compound identification studies, through multiple cycles, showed recovery condensates to be a contributor to reproductive endocrine effects. In-mill reverse osmosis treatment of the 5th effect condensates was also shown to be an effective solution. To address on a wider scale the emerging conclusions of metabolic disruption, during Cycle 4 a national research project involving the pooling of resources from Environment Canada, FPInnovations, academia and industry was formed. Beginning with a thorough literature review, the selection of a reliable lab tool for assessing the potential effects of mill effluents on fish reproduction (adult fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas), and preliminary studies, the test was applied to various mills through several cycles. Effluents were also subjected to chemical characterization involving a range of parameters, demonstrating that organic loss control is an important component of a strategy to abate potential effluent-related effects on fish reproduction. In particular, measurement of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry profiles were good indicators of organic losses due to spills, upset conditions or underperforming effluent biological treatment. The approach was also expanded to include assessments of effluent variability at individual mills and confirmed that reducing the loading of organics in the final effluent appears to provide the greatest probability of abating effects on the reproduction of fish in lab tests. Overall, individual mill studies and the national project work done through the auspices of the EEM program indicate that improvements in effluent quality are achievable through reduction of BOD throughout the process; optimization of treatment processes within the mill or through a biological treatment plant; and spill minimization. To that end, the cyclical EEM program has been a successful and responsive regulatory program to support improvements in the environmental effects of pulp mills.

Author / Presenter: Bruce Kilgour
Affiliation: Kilgour & Associates Ltd.
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

When we were developing the benthic monitoring protocols for the federal pulp and paper EEM program we wrestled with critical effect sizes in order to justify sample sizes. Power analyses and sample size were topics of the day, but the notion of specifying a critical effect size for a benthos monitoring program was a relatively new challenge. The proposal to use the normal range was one of the products from a ‘pivotal’ meeting at Toronto’s Novotel in 1992 where government (principally staff from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, with their consultants) and industry (and their consultants) met to discuss generic approaches to EEM study design. The proposed idea was that environmental effects that exceeded the normal range of variation (i.e., mean ± 2 SDs) of reference communities were potentially informative. The concept looked relatively straight forward at first glance, but the statistics for testing that an observed effect exceeds the normal range took some time to sort out, and even longer to gain general acceptance. Although the 2 SD normal range has been criticized as being too statistical and not ecologically meaningful. there has yet to be, however, a different idea that is more meaningful or useful for designing and interpreting benthos monitoring programs.

Author / Presenter: Brian Pyper
Affiliation: Azimuth Consulting Group
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 15:20 – 15:40
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Biological monitoring studies downstream of mine effluent discharges are required as part of federal Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) programs. Study designs and initial studies for EEM are not required prior to the commencement of effluent discharges. Consequently, many EEM programs do not have useful data for the period ‘before’ mining begins. Not surprisingly, the experimental design for almost all EEM programs relies on comparison of a potential ‘impact’ (i.e., exposed) site to one or more unexposed ‘control’ sites, or to reference conditions or ‘normal’ ranges. However, there may be large pre-existing differences among sites, and hence, a potential weakness of these designs is the underlying assumption that observed differences (or lack thereof) between ‘impact’ and reference areas can be considered an effect (or lack thereof). Conceptually, a before-after-control-impact (BACI) design is preferable because it can account for natural differences among sites, as well as natural changes over time. In the BACI framework, the effect of interest is a change (from before to after period) in the difference between an impact site and control site(s). Using data for benthic invertebrate community abundance and richness from several locations in Canada, we evaluated the expected performance of control-impact designs and BACI designs. First, we characterized the relative magnitude of natural variation attributable to time, sites, and replicate samples. Second, we used these components of variation to guide simulations that evaluated the Type I and Type II error rates associated with alternative designs. We draw conclusions about when BACI designs are likely to be preferable to control-impact designs, given typical variation in data for benthic invertebrate community abundance and richness.

Author / Presenter: Joanne Parrott
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

The Brazilian Program for Assessment of Water Quality has not yet established a standardized methodology for environmental effects monitoring. Recent movements have shown the importance of integrating physical, chemical, and biological results for environmental health studies. In Canada this type of monitoring was implemented in the mid-90s, as part of the federal program of Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM). The present study aimed at validating and adapting the Canadian EEM program, in a pilot project in Brazilian estuarine ecosystems referred to as the Fish Guide Project. The EEM approach was used to assess the health of three estuaries of Espirito Santo State: the Benevente, Jucu and Santa Maria da Vitoria rivers. Three sampling points were selected in each river along a hypothesized contamination gradient. Fish and benthos studies were conducted during three sampling periods in 2014 and 2015 in different seasons (dry and wet). In parallel, water and sediment chemical parameters were analysed. Three different fish species were chosen as bioindicators, Genidens genidens, Ophioscion punctatissius and Eleotris pisoni. The fish index (GSI, HIS and K) and benthic community structure results showed that the greatest environmental effects were observed in sampling points located in the region next to the sewage discharge, reflecting the results of chemical analyses of water, sediment, and fish filets. From this study it was possible to evaluate the health status of the 3 Brazilian estuaries and to publish the Brazilian environmental effects monitoring protocol in December 2015. Adopting this protocol is expected to maximize the effectiveness of environmental monitoring studies while reducing time and cost.

Author / Presenter: Martin Davies
Affiliation: Hatfield Consultants
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Since its inception in 1993, the federal EEM process for the Weyerhaeuser pulpmill at Grande Prairie, AB has successfully identified and quantified mill influences on aquatic receiving environments, implemented innovative investigations of cause with collaboration with government and academic researchers (including distinguishing additive and synergistic effects of effluent discharges by other river users), identified and implemented engineering and technical solutions to address documented effects (including modelling of their potential outcomes), and assessed in the field the effectiveness of these engineering solutions once applied. The history and progression of the Grande Prairie EEM program over time will be presented, with discussion of the limitations of the current EEM process to guide future monitoring at facilities like Grande Prairie that have progressed through all tiers of the EEM investigative and mitigation framework.

Author / Presenter: Karen Petersen
Affiliation: EcoMetrix Incorporated
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

A southern British Columbia pulp mill which has been operational since 1968, has discharged mill process effluent to an adjacent river system, which is considered a high-gradient, coldwater receiving environment. Since the mill began discharging, monitoring of the receiving environment has shown an eutrophication response. After the completion of the Cycle 4 EEM (Environmental Effects Monitoring) program it was determined that the mill should go into an investigation of cause for Cycle 5. The cause of the enrichment was determined to be primarily nutrient based which lead to the mill implementing nutrient control strategies during Cycle 6. The Cycle 7 EEM program in 2015 included the first field program undertaken since Cycle 4 in 2006. The results observed during Cycle 7 were clearly positive; whereby effects in the nearfield area were not only less than observed during Cycle 4 but were below Environment Canada’s critical effect sizes. The Benthic Community in the nearfield during Cycle 7 exhibited higher density, richness, and Bray-Curtis Dissimilarity Index compared to the reference, although the magnitude of difference between the two locations was less in Cycle 7 than in Cycle 4 for these endpoints. In Cycle 4, where statistical differences in endpoints were measured, the differences all exceeded the 3 Reference Standard Deviations, whereas in Cycle 7 the differences were all less than 2 Reference Standard Deviations. Torrent Sculpin (Cottus rhotheus) populations were measured during both the Cycle 4 and Cycle 7 EEM programs. In Cycle 4, fish results had magnitudes above critical effect sizes for liver weight at body weight in female and immature populations of the near-field compared to reference. In Cycle 7, the near-field results were larger for this endpoint compared to both references but at magnitudes below critical effect sizes. Minor enrichment effects were seen in Cycle 4 for this pulp mill and changes to treatment were implemented. After nearly 10 years, minor enrichment effects were still observed, but with smaller magnitudes and in some cases, a small enough difference to be considered not ecologically significant. The Environment Effects Monitoring program has assisted mills in identifying environmental impairment and provided a process to improve effluent quality to reduce effects to the aquatic receiving environment.

Author / Presenter: Shannon Bard
Affiliation: Hemmera
Student: No

Session: 25th Anniversary of Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:40 – 17:00
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Marine biological community in British Columbia near historic pulp mills have been recovering over the last two decades since initiation of more stringent enforcement of environmental standards. Improvement in effluent treatment, mill closure, remediation and restoration programs have led to the reduction of contamination loading to the marine environment. Intertidal community monitoring has been conducted along pollution gradients in several pulp mill areas from Prince Rupert to Howe Sound since 1990, which documented some recovery of intertidal species diversity and abundance. However, the recovery at the sites heavily impacted by industrial effluents and historically accumulated marine depositions was minimal compared to the recovery of the less impacted sites. Data collected since 1990 at several sites located along contamination gradient were analyzed with the following questions in mind: (a) What are the dynamics of recovery at the sites with different impact level? (b) What are the major factors impairing recovery? (d) What are the key species that could facilitate the successional recovery at the site? (e) can we accelerate the recovery of intertidal communities though physical and biological habitat enhancement? The results of the analysis and data modeling are presented to illustrate recovery of marine communities in multi-stressor environments and can be applied to develop management to facilitate successful marine ecosystem recover post-pollution abatement.

Author / Presenter: Bryanna Eisner
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Alternative Non-Vertebrate Test Methods for Evaluating Ecotoxicity
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 9:50 – 10:10
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Large numbers of chemicals are discharged into aquatic ecosystems as a result of human activities. While some of these compounds have been widely studied and adverse effects on fishes have been identified, there is an increasing number of emerging contaminants (ECs), including pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) or brominated flame retardants (BFRs), for which little or no toxicity data regarding aquatic organisms is available. Many of these ECs, such as 17?-ethynylestradiol (EE2), a potent estrogen agonist used in oral contraceptives, fluoxetine, a common antidepressant, and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) a widely used flame retardant, may pose significant risks to aquatic ecosystems due to their prevalence in the environment. Specifically, large quantities of these chemicals have been identified in municipal wastewater effluents (MWWEs). Widespread use of ECs has raised concerns regarding their possible risks to the environment, particularly to native species of cultural, recreational and commercial importance to Canadians, including lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and northern pike (Esox lucius). While extensive data are available on model laboratory species, such as rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), little is known of the effects of these ECs to species in northern ecosystems, and as such, there are approaches needed that allow to assess potential effects to such species. However, there is increasing concern with regard to live animal testing, particularly with regard to endangered or wild species, and therefore, alternative testing methods, such as in vitro tissue explant assays, are needed. Following an in vitro tissue explant assay in which lake trout, northern pike and rainbow trout livers were exposed to serial concentrations of EE2, fluoxetine or HBCD, transcript abundance of select genes was measured in these species and a species-specific response was characterized. With exposure to EE2, fluoxetine or HBCD, no response was observed in expression of genes related to endocrine disruption or oxidative stress in any species tested and, therefore, these species are relatively more tolerant to these chemicals than other species previously tested.

Author / Presenter: David Saunders
Affiliation: Shell Health, Shell Oil Company; Toxicology Centre, University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Alternative Non-Vertebrate Test Methods for Evaluating Ecotoxicity
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Shell has a global animal testing policy and associated guidelines which are reviewed by an external committee and updated regularly to guarantee ‘best practices’ for the humane use of animals. In 2014 Shell used roughly 82,000 fish for product or whole effluent toxicity testing, which is the largest category of vertebrate animal testing conducted by or on Shell’s behalf. Shell’s guidelines include a discussion of the euthanasia of laboratory animals. In the Shell animal testing guidelines, euthanasia means, literally, an easy or good death and in practical terms, this means that the animal should be killed causing minimal pain or distress. The guidelines reference the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines on Euthanasia, and the Newcastle Consensus of 2006 on carbon dioxide euthanasia. However, no specific method of euthanasia for fish is recommended in the Shell guidelines. To remain at the forefront of humane fish handling practices, these guidelines and the referenced documents were reviewed with the objective of identifying a method of euthanasia specifically for fish. Two common methods of euthanasia were reviewed: 1) CO2-saturated water and 2) buffered tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222). Use of CO2 with terrestrial animals can cause rapid asphyxiation and the AVMA guidelines supports its use for the humane euthanasia of both terrestrial and aquatic animals, though little information actually exists supporting this position for fish. Further, other organizations such as the Canadian Council for Animal Care (CCAC) strongly advocate against the use of CO2 for euthanasia of fish. The CCAC presents that the addition of CO2 to water forms carbonic acid which can alter the pH of the aquatic environment causing undue suffering for the fish. Indeed, the AMVA guidelines warn that CO2 might cause pain due to formation of carbonic acid on the respiratory and ocular membrane of terrestrial animals, though they do not extend this consideration to an aquatic environment. The use of the anesthetic, MS-222, was also reviewed as it is currently a prominent method of euthanasia. Both the AVMA and CCAC guidelines suggest the use of an overdose of MS-222 for humane euthanasia, though recent studies suggest it might be aversive to fish. Following an extensive review of best practices and literature representing state of the science, we proposed the discontinued use of CO2 and the use of MS-222 as the prominent method of euthanasia for Shell testing.

Author / Presenter: Marriah Grey
Affiliation: Maxxam Analytics
Student: No

Session: Alternative Non-Vertebrate Test Methods for Evaluating Ecotoxicity
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

The acute 96-hr Rainbow Trout test has been used as a standard toxicity test for the permit compliance of effluents for over two decades. Within British Columbia, the provincial regulations require liquid effluents produced by industry to meet certain standards as stipulated in the Environmental Management Act. Independent contract laboratories who conduct these toxicity tests may use tens of thousands of juvenile rainbow trout annually, to support their customer’s needs. Currently, there is little pressure on the independent laboratory, from either industry or regulators, to reduce the number of fish used for permit testing. Most of the stakeholders involved continue to utilize a precautionary approach, where more fish than may be necessary are cultured, tested, and ultimately euthanized. As the importance of balancing such principles as the 3R’s (reduce, refine, replace) with environmental protection grows, it becomes essential to re-evaluate how fish are used by laboratories in support of permit testing. The independent laboratory is well positioned to identify many aspects of the toxicity testing process where the 3R’s could be applied.

Author / Presenter: Jon Doering Markus Hecker
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: No

Session: Alternative Non-Vertebrate Test Methods for Evaluating Ecotoxicity
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Adverse effects of exposure to dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) in vertebrates are primarily driven by activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). Despite this single, specific, and highly conserved mechanism, differences in relative sensitivity greater than 1000-fold exist both among and within vertebrate taxa. Studies in birds have demonstrated that in vitro activation of AHR1 is predictive of in vivo sensitivity of embryos to DLCs across species of birds. However, whether this relationship holds true for other oviparous vertebrates is unknown. Therefore, this study investigated the relationship between in vitro activation of AHRs in transfected COS-7 cells and in vivo sensitivity of embryos among fishes. Specifically, this study 1) investigated sensitivities to activation by five DLCs of AHR1s and AHR2s among nine species of fish known to differ in relative sensitivity to DLCs by almost 40-fold, and 2) characterized the relationship in fishes between in vitro sensitivity to activation of AHR1s and AHR2s and in vivo sensitivity of embryos. All AHR1s and AHR2s of fishes were activated in a concentration-dependent manner by exposure to DLCs. There was no significant linear relationship (R2 = 0.24) between EC50 of AHR1 and LD50 of embryos. However, a highly significant positive linear relationship (R2 = 0.96) was observed between EC50s of AHR2s and LD50s of embryos of fishes. The slope and y-intercept for this linear relationship for AHR2 of fishes is not statistically different from the slope and y-intercept for the previously determined significant linear relationship among EC50 of AHR1 and LD50 of embryos of birds to DLCs. Results of this study suggest that sensitivity to activation of AHR2, but not AHR1, mediates adverse effects of and sensitivity to DLCs among phylogenetically diverse species of fish with a comparable relationship as previously demonstrated for AHR1 of birds. This co-relationship resulted in a single equation for predicting sensitivity to any DLC across these distantly related species of oviparous vertebrates from in vitro sensitivity to activation of AHRs (R2 = 0.88). This co-relationship between fishes and birds is suggestive that other groups of oviparous vertebrates, such as amphibians and reptiles, follow a similar co-relationship. The mechanism-based biological model developed here has the potential to guide more objective ecological risk assessment of DLCs among distantly related groups of oviparous vertebrates by use of in vitro methods, including species that are not easily studied, such as threatened or endangered species.

Author / Presenter: Francois Gagné
Affiliation: Enviroment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Alternative Non-Vertebrate Test Methods for Evaluating Ecotoxicity
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

The lifestyle of bivalve populations makes them species at risk to anthropogenic stressors such as pollution, loss of habitats and climate changes. Indeed, mussels are sessile organisms and could live to relatively long periods in some species (up to decades if not centuries). It is anticipated that global changes are likely to have local impacts on biodiversity. In this sense, local mussel populations are directly impacted by upstream disturbances such as urban effluents discharges and loss/modification of habitats. They are filter-feeders from which they trap and concentrate micro-particles in the digestive gland which represent a major vector for contaminant exposure in mussel tissues. For these reasons, bivalves were selected as sentinel species to assess the toxicity of emerging contaminants such as nanotechnology, oil sand products, endocrine disrupters from municipal discharges and changes in the microbiome. The cumulative effects of complex mixtures and other stressors in these times of climate change were also examined at the molecular and cellular levels in the attempt to identify adverse outcomes pathways leading to the decline of mussel populations. Exposure to xenobiotics increase the susceptibility to temperature changes at the electron transport steps in mitochondria which could increase energy expenses in bivalves at polluted sites under thermal fluctuations. Exposure to municipal effluent and zinc oxide nanoparticles both elicit oxidative stress which could lead to inflammation and phagocytosis suppression. Recent studies also showed that air time survival could also be shortened in mussels exposed to nanoparticles and oil sand contaminated environments which support the contention that mussels are species at risk from urban activities.

Author / Presenter: Garrett Morandi
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Alternative Non-Vertebrate Test Methods for Evaluating Ecotoxicity
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Oil Sands process-affected water (OSPW), produced during extraction of bitumen in the surface-mining oil sands industry in Alberta, Canada, is acutely and chronically toxic to aquatic organisms. Organic compounds that are dissolved in OSPW are responsible for most toxic effects, but knowledge of specific chemicals that cause this toxicity, or their associated mechanism(s) of toxicity, is limited. Due to a lack of understanding of the toxicological effects and associated drivers of toxicity, the Alberta oil sands industry has adhered to a policy of “no release” of all process affected materials, including OSPW. Currently, greater than 1 trillion litres of OSPW are stored in tailing ponds, all of which must be remediated and eventually returned to the surrounding environment. Due to the chemical complexity of the dissolved organic fraction of OSPW, the development of remediation methods/ benchmarks and monitoring strategies has been limited. Here, we present the development of a predictive aquatic toxicity model, combining state of the art mass spectrometry, measures of bioaccumulation potential for chemical species in OSPW and an understanding of mixture toxicology. Due to the complexity of the dissolved organic fraction of OSPW, traditional bottom-up mixture toxicity approaches to predict toxic potencies cannot be used. Therefore, a top-down approach to mixture toxicity predictions was developed, whereby accurate masses and not structures of chemicals are used for identification purposes by use of linear ion trap (orbitrap) ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry. Using either solid phase micro-extraction (SPME) or solid-supported lipid membranes (SSLM), accurate masses were assigned a measured estimate of bioaccumulation. A narcosis mode of action was assumed and the target-lipid model of Di Toro et al., (2000) was adapted for toxicity predictions by use of measured bioaccumulation estimates of the individual accurate masses. Toxic potencies of mixtures were predicted assuming strict additivity. Presented results suggest that a model developed using both SPME and SSLM methods, compared best with LC50 estimates from 96-hr acute lethality assays with embryos of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Model predictions were within 4-fold of observed toxicity for 75% of samples and within 8.5-fold for all tested samples, well within inter-laboratory variability. In addition, the contribution of chemical classes of concern to toxicity of the mixture will be discussed. This work highlights the importance of considering differential accumulation of polar chemicals and how ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry in combination with surrogate lipid accumulation estimates can be used to develop a model for predicting acute toxicity of fractions and samples of OSPW to early-life stages of the surrogate model fish, fathead minnow.

Author / Presenter: Erin Kelly
Affiliation: Government of the NWT
Student: No

Session: Community Driven Research in the North: Opportunities and Challenges
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

During the development of the Northwest Territories (NWT) Water Stewardship Strategy, Aboriginal community water partners expressed the desire and need to be actively involved in research and monitoring designed to address community questions about aquatic ecosystem health. Equally important was fostering capacity for communities to implement water quality monitoring over the long term. Questions about local water quality were generally in response to concerns about upstream development (particularly oil and gas, hydroelectric development and mining), climate change and municipal issues. The NWT-wide Community-based Water Quality Monitoring Program started in 2012 to support the dual goals of answering local questions about water quality and building local monitoring capacity. Currently, community monitors in 21 communities, in collaboration with government technicians, collect water quality information at over 40 sites across the NWT. Recognizing that there are many approaches to community-based monitoring, this presentation will highlight the development of the NWT-wide Community-based Water Quality Monitoring program and outline key successes and challenges. The presentation will touch on program methodology and approaches, guiding community questions, mechanisms for capacity building and tools for information dissemination.

Author / Presenter: Rosy Bjornson
Affiliation: Deninu Kue First Nation
Student: No

Session: Community Driven Research in the North: Opportunities and Challenges
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Understanding aquatic ecosystem health is important to community members that live along the Slave River and Delta. The river and its delta are important ecologically, spiritually, culturally and economically. The Slave River and Delta Partnership (SRDP) was formed in 2010 in response to community concerns about observed changes in Slave River and Delta, with the goal of working together to undertake coordinated research and monitoring about the health of this important area. The SRDP is a collaborative group consisting of Aboriginal, municipal, territorial and federal governments, academic institutions and Slave River and Delta community members. At the outset of the SRDP?s formation, community partners identified three guiding questions that have shaped the group?s research and monitoring efforts: 1) can we drink the water? 2) can we eat the fish and wildlife? and, 3) is the ecosystem healthy? Simultaneously, community partners identified the critical need to build capacity at the local level to undertake research and monitoring and the importance of traditional and local knowledge underpinning all SRDP initiatives. This presentation will outline the history and development of the SRDP, guiding community questions and approaches to answering those questions, highlights of key research and monitoring initiatives, and key outcomes from the group?s work. The presentation will also offer insights from our experiences that to help inform ongoing discussions about the critical importance of community-driven research and monitoring.

Author / Presenter: Allice Legat
Affiliation: Gagos Social Analysts, Inc
Student: No

Session: Community Driven Research in the North: Opportunities and Challenges
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Community-driven research relies on communities to collaborate in a research process. Participatory action research, as conceived by the Dene Cultural Institute, is based on the premise that the community suggests and oversees the research, and participates in leading the resulting actions. Also important to participatory action research is the training of community researchers by both elders and the academics. Dene community members usually consider knowledge to be an individual entity that allows them to learn and share while building relationships in their community and beyond. Community members usually focus on understanding and taking action that is flexible enough to change when conditions necessitate. This paper considers two examples. ‘The Impact of Forest F?res on To?dz? (Boreal Caribou)’ research taking place in What??’ in conjunction with the Wek’e?ezh??? Renewable Resources Board, NWT, and ‘Finding Solutions to Health Impacts of Climate Change’ research overseen by K’at?odeeche First Nation, NWT. I found that community members want opportunities to share their knowledge while building capacity and relationships, and while providing their youth with a deeper understanding of living with the environment.

Author / Presenter: Richard Nesbitt
Affiliation: Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Community Driven Research in the North: Opportunities and Challenges
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Methods to assess environmental changes in the Arctic through scientific analysis are well established. However, vast, inaccessible expanses with a harsh climate present logistic and financial challenges few other places in Canada experience. Community based monitoring represents a potential to improve our ability to track changes in Canada’s north, yet there is no established methodology to reconcile observations made by Inuit while on the land with scientific indicators such as water chemistry. Proponents have historically collected traditional knowledge as part of the Nunavut’s environmental assessment (EA) process and use it to further justify establishing the freshwater environment as a “valued ecosystem component”. To date however, no way to quantitatively use Inuit observations of the aquatic environment to track changes have been established resulting in a reliance on patchwork scientific monitoring limited in both scope and scale. Qualitative observations are occasionally incorporated into EA documents, but there is a lack of consistency in both how that information is collected and how it is applied. We are currently developing a methodology to monitor the northern aquatic environment using Inuit traditional knowledge in conjunction with scientific observations. Development of the methodology is focused through trying to answer two core questions of community concern: “Is the water safe to drink?” and “Are the fish good to eat?”. We are working throughout 2015-2017 to develop this methodology to bridge the two knowledge systems by conducting a series of interviews with traditional knowledge holders led by social scientists and uniquely attended by “curious scientists”. This allows, for the first time, targeted follow up to historically surficial questions that overlook key variables that could be used to link western science with traditional knowledge. The intended outcome is to develop a set of common indicators between the two knowledge systems to characterize the aquatic environment focusing on water quality and fish health. We are working to, for example, correlate the taste of high quality drinking water sources as reported by Inuit while on the land with chemical analysis, and observations high quality harvest species of fish with tissue analysis. Once refined, the method will increase the capacity of the community to be active participants in monitoring the aquatic environment and tracking cumulative impacts in their land use areas. It will facilitate a more consistent qualitative assessment of the environment and improve the use of Inuit traditional knowledge in the EA and other regulatory processes, thereby improving monitoring based decision making at multiple jurisdictional levels.

Author / Presenter: Julian Kanigan
Affiliation: Government of the Northwest Territories
Student: No

Session: Community Driven Research in the North: Opportunities and Challenges
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 15:20 – 15:40
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Krista Chin, Julian Kanigan, NWT Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories This project aims to understand the impact of various disturbances on aquatic systems in an area of oil and gas exploration in the Sahtu region; in particular, for watersheds draining the eastern foothills of the Mackenzie Mountains. This project was stimulated by community concerns regarding oil and gas development taking place near their communities without an understanding of baseline conditions or how development may affect the aquatic environment and in turn, their lifestyles. Currently, very little is known about factors that influence the health of the watersheds in this area. The landscape is impacted by natural (i.e., landslides and slumps) and anthropogenic disturbances (i.e., winter roads and seismic lines). There is a long history of oil and gas exploration in the area, that culminated in the horizontal fracturing of two well sites in February 2014. However, because of declining oil prices and the lack of transportation infrastructure, industry has left the region, allowing more time for the establishment of baseline information. This multidisciplinary project involves communities, regulators, government and academic researchers. The main objectives that will be discussed in this presentation are to: 1) Build a partnership between communities, regulators, government and researchers; 2) Measure water quality conditions and assess the health of stream ecosystems; and 3) Contribute to community capacity building in the Sahtu. We collected surface water and invertebrate samples from 47 sites. Data were collected in undisturbed sites, sites downstream from industrial development, landslides and slumps and areas impacted by 2014 and 2015 wildfires. Some sample sites were chosen by land users and elders who identified areas that were important to them and their respective communities. Preliminary findings from 2013 and 2014 macroinvertebrate data demonstrated that there were no obvious trends in invertebrate abundance or composition with respect to a rudimentary classification of disturbances within the watersheds. A more refined system of measuring disturbances on the landscape will be used to analyze invertebrate abundance and community structure using data from 2013 to 2015. Since 2013, the project has supported 42 community-person days in the field and laboratory. Community technicians from Norman Wells and Tulita learned to collect data using the Environment Canada CABIN protocol, as well as identify and sort benthic invertebrates to the Order level. The project also contributed support to the Sahtu Renewable Resources Board for two annual 8-day Cross-Cultural Research Camps. Participants included 10 community Environmental Monitors-in-Training, as well as 18 Elders, harvesters and community members.

Author / Presenter: Kenneth Hunt
Affiliation: Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board
Student: No

Session: Community Driven Research in the North: Opportunities and Challenges
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

The Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board (GRRB) has established a research priority setting process in the Gwich’in Settlement Area (GSA). This process includes the ongoing collection of research interests from the communities as one of its key criteria. The GRRB uses the end product to help set its work plan and make decisions on project funding. Examples can be given of community-based monitoring programs that are closely linked to community interests with full involvement of the community. The research interests from the communities include research that is not related to the GRRB’s mandate but could be of interest to other researchers. The GRRB is interested in finding other ways to advertise these interests to promote research that addresses them.

Author / Presenter: Heidi Swanson
Affiliation: University of Waterloo
Student: No

Session: Community Driven Research in the North: Opportunities and Challenges
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Many northerners are concerned about levels of mercury in food fishes such as Northern Pike, Walleye, and Lake Trout. In some traditional fishing lakes, mercury levels are high enough to have led to consumption advisories. Fishers, community members, regulators, monitors, and scientists want to understand why fish mercury levels are relatively low in some lakes but higher in others, and why fish mercury levels are increasing in some lakes but stable in others. By understanding the dominant drivers of fish mercury in the Dehcho, we can more accurately predict how climate change and resource development may affect fish mercury. In this presentation, we will discuss challenges, successes, and lessons learned (so far) during two community-driven research projects on understanding and predicting fish mercury levels in northern lakes. In one study, a joint University and community research team completed an intensive one-year study on Kluane Lake, YT. This project formally included traditional knowledge interviews with elders, collaboration with subsistence fishers, and an intensive youth training component. Results of the study indicated that mercury levels in food fishes were remarkably low, and thus communication and analysis of results was very straight-forward. In the second much more complex study, eight lakes in Dehcho region of the Northwest Territories were sampled over three years. This project involved several different First Nations, a joint University-Indigenous environmental monitor team, and an informal youth component. Results of this study have led to very interesting community-driven management initiatives, such as fish-downs. Results indicate that monitoring certain water chemistry parameters in these Dehcho lakes will be useful in predicting the trajectory of mercury in some food fish species.

Author / Presenter: Claudia Sheedy
Affiliation: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Student: No

Session: Current-Use Pesticide Fate and Effects in Canadian Ecosystems
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 09:50 – 10:10
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

This project aimed to determine the occurrence of agricultural pesticides in groundwater of southern and central Alberta. To this end, groundwater samples (440) were collected from water table wells and piezometers over a three year period (2013-2016). In addition, shallow groundwater (214) and soil (122) samples were collected from experimental plots at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. All samples were extracted and analyzed for the presence of 106 (2013, 2014) or 146 (2015) pesticides. A total of 23 different pesticides were detected in groundwater collected from agricultural land in central and southern Alberta, while 13 pesticides were detected in shallow groundwater collected from experimental plots. Moreover, a total of 35 different pesticides were detected in soil samples collected from the experimental plots. Pesticides detected included herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Pesticides detected most frequently at all locations were herbicides, although differences in the spatial and temporal distribution of pesticides were observed. Overall pesticide detection frequency and concentration in groundwater of Alberta are less than those found in surface waters. In addition, fewer pesticides were detected in groundwater compared to surface waters. Concentrations measured for all pesticides were well below water quality guidelines, as well as Maximum Acceptable Concentrations (MAC) for drinking water.

Author / Presenter: Amy Jimmo
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Current-Use Pesticide Fate and Effects in Canadian Ecosystems
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Currently, brushing and mowing are the only vegetation management techniques used along transmission right-of-ways in the Yukon Territory. When mowed dominant woody species such as Populus tremuloides, Populus balsamifera and Salix spp., grow rapidly. The prolific growth shortens management cycles increasing associated costs. Different vegetation management options were reviewed resulting in the implementation of a pilot study addressing the effectiveness, persistence and toxicity of different herbicide application techniques. Specifically, this research aims to address the persistence of Garlon XRT (triclopyr) and Arsenal Powerline (imazapyr) in soils along transmission right-of-ways in the Yukon Territory. Three different application techniques (backpack spray, cut stump and point injection) were assessed in 6 m x 6 m treatment plots at five sites representing the main ecoregions where right-of-ways occur in the Yukon Territory. Soils from one site were collected as soon as herbicides had dried and at 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, 30, 60 and 365 days after treatment to develop a detailed dissipation curve. Soil samples from the remaining four sites were collected at 1, 30 and 365 days after treatment. Herbicide residues from select samples are being analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrophotometry. The dissipation curve for triclopyr from the backpack spray treatment indicates that the half-life occurs within 7 days of application with residues at all sites persisting for longer than 30 days. Backpack spray samples from 365 days after treatment are currently being analyzed to further assess dissipation. In the cut stump and point injection treatments residues are present in the soil at 30 days after treatment, but are reduced by greater than 80% in the point injection treatments and are below analytical detection limits in the cut stump treatments at 365 days after treatment. Imazapyr samples are currently being analyzed. Further research is being conducted to determine the impact these residual concentrations may have on the soil ecological community in the Yukon Territory.

Author / Presenter: Jose Luis Rodriguez Gil
Affiliation: University of Calgary
Student: No

Session: Current-Use Pesticide Fate and Effects in Canadian Ecosystems
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

The actual hazard/risk posed by MON 0818, the polyoxyethylene amine (POEA) surfactant present in the original formulations of glyphosate (e.g. Roundup Original), has traditionally been hard to asses, mainly due to lack of exposure data. Here, we present a refined hazard assessment of MON 0818 based on the re-evaluation of the existing toxicity data, supplemented by water-only toxicity data for an additional 15 species, tested with standard methodologies and confirmation of exposure concentrations. Species Sensitivity Distributions were compared against a series of scenarios showing moderate levels of hazard (43.1% of the species exposed at or above EC50 levels), for a chosen worst-case scenario – unintentional direct over-spray of a 15 cm-deep body of water with the maximum label application rate for the studied formulations (Roundup Original, Vision; 12 L formulation/ha, equivalent to 4.27 kg acid equivalent [a.e.]/ha). The hazard decreased to impairment of 20.9% of species under the maximum application rate for more typical uses (6 L formulation/ha, 2.14 kg a.e./ha), and down to a 6.9% for a more frequently employed application rate (2.5 L formulation/ha, 0.89 kg a.e./ha). Finally, the percentage (3.8%) was less than the hazardous concentration for 5% of the species (HC5) based on concentrations of MON 0818 calculated from maximum measured concentrations of glyphosate in the environment. In addition, we recently showed that MON 0818 presents a high affinity for sediment and that, in its presence, the water column half-life of the surfactant can be very short (generally <10h, and commonly <5h). In order to further explore the role that sediment plays in the exposure of aquatic organisms to MON 0818 we also present the results of a series of test following novel approaches such as water column toxicity tests in the presence of sediment and the evaluation of pulse-recovery approaches to mimic water column exposures for compounds with short water-column half-life. When evaluated in this manner, no acute (24-h) mortality was observed for three of the five species tested in the presence of clean sediment up to 10 mg L-1 MON 0818 initial water concentration. The EC50s for the other two species were significantly greater than for parallel water-only tests. Our results indicate that quick dissipation of MON 0818 in the presence of sediment can reduce the effects on exposed organisms, and that full recovery from 24-h exposures to concentrations of MON 0818 equal to, or greater than, those expected in the environment is possible. These results highlight the inappropriateness of simple screening-level approaches for the assessment of the risk posed by compounds for which the expected exposure regimes may deviate from that more typically used in traditional standard acute laboratory tests.

Author / Presenter: Natalie Kromrey
Affiliation: Alberta Environment & Parks
Student: No

Session: Current-Use Pesticide Fate and Effects in Canadian Ecosystems
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

A synoptic (time of travel) study was performed beginning Aug 12, 2014, to determine if pesticide concentrations, number of pesticides detected and frequency of detection were highest in mainstems, tributaries or effluents. Three parcels of water were theoretically followed for eleven days using hydrological time of travel calculations from their respective headwaters in the Red Deer, Bow, and Oldman Rivers to their eventual convergence in the province of Saskatchewan. Water quality samples were taken at 68 mainstem river stations, 63 tributary stations and 24 effluent sources. They were sampled for over 200 parameters including physical & biological parameters, nutrients, total & dissolved metals, bacteria and a suite of 106 pesticides. 2,4-D, Dicamba, Mecoprop (MCPP) and MCPA had the highest number of detections as well as the highest concentrations. The frequency of detection and number of different pesticide detections was highest (83.3%, 17) in wastewater treatment effluent (6 industrial, 18 municipal) which were > tributary > mainstem and exceeded expectations, prompting a winter resampling of a representative subset of effluents (2 industrial, 6 municipal; encompassing all 4 basins). The frequency of pesticide detection of the winter effluent samples was comparable to the summer, while the number of different pesticide detections and concentrations were lower. Pesticide monitoring is not required by Alberta Environment & Parks at all of the facilities sampled. In light of the results, to better determine the contribution to the environment, consideration could be given to the merits of incorporating a pesticide monitoring requirement into all operating approvals for effluents that discharge to a receiving waterbody. Moreover, consideration could be given to the confounding factor pesticides may play in ecotoxicity experiments involving wastewater effluents or receiving waters.

Author / Presenter: Erin Maloney
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Current-Use Pesticide Fate and Effects in Canadian Ecosystems
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Neonicotinoids are a popular class of systemic insecticidal treatment, commonly applied as a seed treatment to protect young crops against biting-sucking insects. Extensive use of these seed treatments (e.g., imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam) in Canadian Prairie agricultural regions has resulted in the detection of neonicotinoid mixtures in ecologically important wetlands surrounding these arable areas. However, the impact of these mixtures on local insect communities is poorly understood. This research aims to address that knowledge gap by characterizing the cumulative toxicity of binary and tertiary mixtures of select neonicotinoids (imidacloprid (IMI), clothianidin (CLO), and thiamethoxam (TMX)) to the sensitive aquatic insect Chironomus dilutus under acute (96 h) exposure scenarios. Single-compound toxicity bioassays yielded toxicity threshold values (LC50) of 4.63 (3.96 – 5.41), 5.93 (5.29 – 6.65), and 55.34 (43.98 – 69.64) for IMI, CLO, and TMX, respectively. These values were used to develop parametric models, which were statistically compared to the toxicity of binary and ternary mixtures from similar laboratory studies using the MIXTOX approach. CLO-TMX mixtures demonstrated concentration-additive synergistic toxicity. IMI-CLO mixtures demonstrated response-additive synergistic toxicity. IMI-TMX mixtures demonstrated response-additive dose-ratio dependent synergism, with toxicity shifting from antagonism to synergism as the relative concentration of TMX was increased. IMI-CLO-TMX mixtures demonstrated response-additive synergistic toxicity. Results obtained indicate that under acute exposure scenarios, the toxicity of these neonicotinoid mixtures to sensitive aquatic insects cannot be adequately predicted by direct addition of single compound concentrations. These results will be compared to those garnered in concurrent chronic (28 d) mixture studies, allowing for an assessment of whether these insecticide mixtures display similar deviations from concentration addition under more environmentally realistic exposure paradigms, and what risk this may pose to the aquatic environment.

Author / Presenter: Stacey Robinson
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Current-Use Pesticide Fate and Effects in Canadian Ecosystems
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Neonicotinoids are being intensively used on a variety of crops and have the potential to continuously expose non-target organisms. For terrestrial invertebrates, exposure through contact with contaminated soil, water or plants can result in lethal and sub-lethal effects, with most information gathered from honey bee (Apis mellifera) studies. However, it is important to assess a variety of non-target taxonomic groups to fully understand the scale and magnitude of effects. We examined the direct effects of neonicotinoids on an herbivorous invertebrate, using the generalist grasshopper Melanoplus sanguinipes as a representative non-target species occupying field margin habitats. We also conducted soil toxicity assays using two invertebrate species, the earthworm Eisenia andrei and the springtail Folsomia candida to assess for the effects on survival and reproduction; very few studies have assessed the risk of neonicotinoids to soil-dwelling species, despite growing evidence of soil persistence. We orally exposed adult grasshoppers to a gradient of concentrations of the formulated neonicotinoid product containing clothianidin. We monitored consumption, biomass gain and sub-lethal effects (e.g., lethargy and mobility) over a four day exposure period. For the soil invertebrate assays, we exposed adult organisms to a formulated neonicotinoid product (active ingredient thiamethoxam) in a natural sandy loam soil. Test endpoints included adult survival after 28 days, and juvenile production after 28 (F. candida) or 56 (E. andrei) days of exposure. Grasshopper and earthworm tissues were also analysed to assess the product?s bioaccumulation potential. Preliminary results indicate that grasshoppers were affected by concentrations less than the recommended application rate and sub-lethal effects were detected for F. candida at < 0.5 mg/kg and for E. andrei at < 10 mg/kg. This project provides base-line toxicity and bioaccumulation data on the effects of neonicotinoids to non-target invertebrates that are important for terrestrial food webs and soil health.

Author / Presenter: Ryan Prosser
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Canada
Student: No

Session: Current-Use Pesticide Fate and Effects in Canadian Ecosystems
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Neonicotinoid insecticides can be transported from agricultural fields, where they are used as foliar sprays or seed treatments, to surface waters by surface or sub-surface runoff. Few studies have investigated the toxicity of neonicotinoid or the related butenolide insecticides to freshwater mollusk species. The current study examined the effect of neonicotinoid exposure to the early-life stages of the ramshorn snail, Planorbella pilsbryi, and the wavy-rayed lampmussel, Lampsilis fasciola. Juvenile P. pilsbryi were exposed to imidacloprid, clothianidin, or thiamethoxam for 7 or 28 d and mortality, growth, and biomass production were measured. The viability of larval (glochidia) L. fasciola was monitored during a 48 h exposure to six neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, acetamiprid, thiacloprid, dinotefuran), or a butenolide (flupyradifurone). The 7-d LC50s of P. pilsbryi for imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam were ? 4000 µg/L and the 28-d LC50s were ? 182 µg/L. Growth and biomass production were considerably more sensitive endpoints than mortality with EC50s ranging from 33.2 to 122.0 µg/L. The LC50s for the viability of glochidia were ? 456 µg/L for all seven insecticides tested. Our data indicate that neonicotinoid and butenolide insecticides pose less of a hazard with respect to mortality of the two species of mollusk compared to the potential hazard to aquatic insects.

Author / Presenter: Declan Ali
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Linking Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses Following Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (??9-THC). Marijuana, derived from the plant Cannabis sativa L., is commonly used for medicinal purposes, but is also used as an illicit recreational drug. In Western societies it is often taken recreationally along with alcohol, and may pose a significant risk to embryonic development as it freely crosses the placenta. In fact THC exposure during development has been shown to lead to deficits in fine and gross motor control. Here we used zebrafish embryos to determine the effects of THC treatment during gastrulation. We treated embryos in the gastrulation stage (5.25 hours post fertilization (hpf) to 10.75 hpf) with 2 mg/L, 4 mg/L or 6 mg/L THC and examined the effects on animal morphology, heart rate, Mauthner cell (M-cell) morphology and the c-start escape response. THC (6 mg/L) treated fish were smaller than controls with a body length of 3.140.02 mm (n=30) compared with untreated animals 3.23±0.01 mm (n=25) (p<0.05). THC treatment also induced a reduction in heart rate. Exposure to 6 mg/L of THC resulted in embryos with a heart rate of 85±3 (n=42) beats per minute, while untreated animals had a heart rate of 124±2 (n=43) beats per minute (p<0.01). Mauthner neurons are large reticulospinal neurons associated with the c-start escape response in teleosts. These cells are born at 8 hpf, during gastrulation and during the THC exposure period. Therefore, we compared the M-cells of treated and untreated fish to ascertain if there were any morphological differences between the groups. We found that THC treated animals had significantly smaller M-cell axon diameters (1.25±0.05 µm; n=10) compared with untreated fish (1.94±0.14 µm; n=8) (p<0.001). Because the M-cells are involved in the c-start escape response, we examined locomotor characteristics of the escape response. We found that THC treatment induced an increase in the initial angle of tail bend (323±13 degrees; n=12) compared with controls (216±15 degrees; n=15) (p<0.05), but no significant change in the peak acceleration or peak speed of the tail movement. Together these findings indicate that THC exposure during gastrulation can lead to alterations in heart rate, neuronal morphology and some aspects of locomotion in embryos.

Author / Presenter: Steve Wiseman
Affiliation: University of Lethbridge
Student: No

Session: Linking Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses Following Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

1,2,5,6-tetrabromocyclooctane (TBCO) is a novel brominated flame retardant considered as a potential replacement for the major use flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). Recent studies in our lab have demonstrated that TBCO is an endocrine disrupting chemical capable. TBCO alters estrogen (ER) and androgen (AR) receptor signaling, and synthesis of estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T), in vitro. Also, exposure to TBCO impairs reproductive performance of Japanese medaka, and this effect appears to multi-generational. To gain a greater understanding of effects of this novel chemical, RNAseq and proteomics were used to characterize responses of transcriptome and proteome in embryos of embryos of medaka exposed to waterborne TBCO. Several putative toxicity pathways that likely are independent of the endocrine disrupting effects of TBCO were identified and were confirmed by use of bioassays. However, results of the omics analyses did provide information about potential mechanisms of multi-generational effects of TBCO on reproduction. This work not only increased understanding of toxicity of TBCO, including its endocrine disrupting effects, it also demonstrated that simultaneous use of transcriptomics and proteomics provides a comprehensive understanding of potential mechanisms of toxicity of chemicals, and can be used in concert to explain and predict apical effects on attributes that contribute to fitness.

Author / Presenter: Cheryl Murphy
Affiliation: Michigan State University
Student: No

Session: Linking Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses Following Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

The adverse outcome pathway framework (AOP) is an effective collaborative platform to unite multidisciplinary scientists to focus on challenging ecological problems, to form hypotheses and direct research. In our work, we focus on behavior, which is a challenging endpoint to incorporate into ecological risk assessment because it is difficult to infer how subtle changes in behavior translate to ecological metrics (such as population abundance trajectories), and it is often difficult to setup appropriate behavioral assays in the laboratory (especially for species not typically maintained in the lab). But behavior of organisms, if measured appropriately in laboratory assays, can provide much integrated insight into the physiological status of the individual, with implications for key demographic parameters such as individual survival and growth rates. We use the AOP framework to unite several different technologies and approaches: behavioral assays, gene expression, metabolomics, individual based models, and risk analyses to predict the effect of contaminants across levels of biological organization and infer population responses to quantify risk of exposure to certain chemicals. By using the AOP framework in a systematic way, we collect data on multiple species and facilitate cross-species comparisons. We also collaborate with other agencies and institutions that do similar work on different species – which assists our cross-species comparisons. Our aim is to determine what information can be collected on model species that will be informative for behavioral impairments and population responses on other species. We also wish to determine if molecular information can substitute for behavior assays related to foraging success and learning, as such assays are labor intensive and challenging to do on non-model species and molecular level information is relatively easier to collect. The AOP framework has been immensely helpful for organizing, focusing and propelling this research forward.

Author / Presenter: Jan Mennigen
Affiliation: University of Ottawa
Student: No

Session: Linking Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses Following Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Fluoxetine is an antidepressant pharmaceutical, which is routinely detected in effluent receiving watersheds in the low ppm range (?g/L) as a consequence of incomplete retention in urban wastewater treatment plants. Fluoxetine has been shown to bio-concentrate in wild fish, resulting in measurable quantities of fluoxetine and its active metabolite, nor-fluoxetine in several tissues. This has led to concerns of organismal-level physiological consequences in response to sub-lethal exposure to fluoxetine, especially since additional (antidepressant) pharmaceuticals with similar mode of actions are also routinely detected in effluent-receiving water systems, raising concerns of potentially synergistic effects. In this platform session, I will present evidence from integrative studies using the goldfish, Carassius auratus, a model organism in comparative endocrinology, which identify fluoxetine as an endocrine disrupting chemical. Specifically, the disruptive effects of fluoxetine, including environmentally relevant concentrations, on (neuro)-endocrine systems regulating reproduction and energy metabolism in goldfish will be discussed. Additional relevant evidence from studies in other fish species and aquatic invertebrates will be presented to highlight how molecular, physiological and behavioral endpoints have been used to identify endocrine disrupting properties of fluoxetine and other antidepressant pharmaceuticals detected in the aquatic environment.

Author / Presenter: Bastien Sadoul
Affiliation: University of Calgary
Student: No

Session: Linking Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses Following Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 15:20 – 15:40
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Municipal wastewater effluents (MWWEs) are carrying a wide range of human-made molecules with individually well-established adverse effects in wildlife. Describing the biological effects of MWWEs on native species may provide novel biomarkers of health and performance disruptions for environmental effects monitoring. The stress response is playing a central role in allowing the animal to cope with a new environment, including predator avoidance and ultimately survival in stressful situations. However, there is a paucity of information regarding the ontogeny of the stress axis in native fish species, including the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). We hypothesize that early life exposure to MWWEs disrupt the proper development of the cortisol stress axis leading to reduced fitness in fathead minnows. The development and function of the cortisol stress axis was characterized by temporal measures of whole body cortisol content, as well as cortisol response to a stressor at critical stages during early development. Also, the behavioural response to a stressor, a sudden light pulse, was monitored during embryogenesis in this species. The results suggest that key stages of the stress axis ontogeny may be targets to assess the effects of contaminants, either singly or as mixtures. Overall, the results provide a general framework to study the effect of emerging contaminants in MWWE on the functioning of the endocrine stress axis in fathead minnows. The study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Strategic Grant to MMV.

Author / Presenter: Deborah Kurrasch
Affiliation: University of Calgary
Student: No

Session: Linking Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses Following Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Exposure to environmental contaminants has been linked to developmental and reproductive abnormalities leading to infertility, spontaneous abortion, reduced number of offspring, and metabolic disorders. In addition, there is evidence linking environmental contaminants and endocrine disruption to abnormal developmental rate, defects in heart and eye morphology, and alterations in behavior. Notably, these effects could not be explained by interaction with a single hormone receptor. We used a whole-organism approach to investigate morphological changes to developing zebrafish caused by exposure to a number of environmental contaminants, including bisphenol A (BPA), di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), nonylphenol, and fucosterol at concentrations measured in a local water body (Oldman River, AB), individually and in mixture. In this presentation, I will demonstrate that exposure to nanomolar contaminant concentrations resulted in global developmental changes, as well as abnormal pericardial (heart) development and abnormal head development. In addition, we examined the effects of contaminants singly and in mixture and show that experimental mixtures caused different phenotypes than theoretical mixtures. Combined, our results support the hypothesis that adverse effects of contaminants are not mediated by single hormone receptor signaling. Furthermore, our results support the view that adversity of contaminants in mixture could not be predicted by simple additive effect of contaminants. The findings provide a framework for better understanding of developmental toxicity of environmental contaminants in zebrafish and other vertebrate species.

Author / Presenter: Jith Kallarakavumkal Thomas
Affiliation: University of Calgary
Student: No

Session: Linking Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses Following Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Bisphenol A (BPA) is widely prevalent in the environment with a mounting evidence of its impact on the endocrine system of animals. Although environmentally realistic concentration of BPA is shown to cause endocrine dysfunction, less is known regrading generational toxicities of this chemical in fish. Recent studies suggest that BPA exposure can lead to developmental effects in fish, but the mechanisms are far from clear. The objectives of this study was to investigate persistent and generational toxicities of maternally deposited BPA in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Zebrafish embryos were microinjected with 0, 1, 10 or 100 pg BPA/embryo to mimic a maternal transfer scenario of this chemical to the embryo. The impact of BPA on development, behaviour and acute stress-response in the early life stages, as well as adults in the F1, F2 and F3 generations were determined to investigate the long-term adverse effects of maternally deposited BPA in fish. Embryo accumulation of BPA modified the development and locomotor behaviour in early life stages of F1 and F2 generation fish. There were no differences in cortisol production in fish from control and BPA exposed treatment groups. Reproductive capacities (egg production, hatchability and/or embryo survivability) were altered in F1 generation adult fish from 1 and 10 pg BPA exposed groups but not in 100 pg BPA group, suggesting a monotonic dose-response for BPA-induced reproductive toxicities in fish. There were no differences in swimming performance and avoidance temperature in adult fish from the control and BPA exposed treatment groups. Overall, our results suggest that BPA affects multiple aspects of fish performance and some of these changes are evident even in multiple generations in zebrafish. *The study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Strategic Grant to MMV.

Author / Presenter: Denina Simmons
Affiliation: University of Waterloo
Student: No

Session: Linking Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses Following Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Cootes Paradise is a wetland on the western tip of Lake Ontario, and is part of the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern. Cootes Paradise is also an important site of biological diversity and a fish nursery. The primary source of contaminants in Cootes Paradise is the Dundas municipal sewage treatment plant (STP) which discharges in to the marsh. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have been associated with STPs and their recipient waters. Some PPCPs are known to cause endocrine disruption. To assess the endocrine disrupting potential of Dundas STP effluents to wild fish in Cootes paradise, male goldfish were caged for 21-days (5/cage, 10 cages/site) at three sites along a contamination gradient within Cootes Paradise. We also caged fish at a reference site in Lake Ontario: Jordan Harbour. Twenty male wild goldfish were captured from Cootes Paradise in the summer of 2012. Concentrations of PPCPs and profiles of endogenous proteins and metabolites were determined in plasma from both the caged and wild goldfish. Half of the caged fish were assessed in behavioural assays. This talk will (1) describe the observed behavioral changes and the protein and metabolite expression patterns of the caged fish, (2) relate those changes to the burden of PPCPs in the fish plasma, and (3) assess the ability of the caged fish to predict whether similar effects are likely in wild fish populations.

Author / Presenter: Amy Gainer Amy Gainer
Affiliation: Toxicology Graduate Program, University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Avoidance tests are a rapid toxicity test type in soil toxicology to assess the influence of contaminants on organisms behaviors. Behavioral studies are currently lacking in ecotoxicology risk assessment and can easily be incorporated into the common risk assessment tool, the species sensitivity distribution (SSD) curve. Soil invertebrates with chemosensing abilities avoid nonvolatile, volatile and semi volatile contaminants. Semi volatile contaminants like petroleum hydrocarbons interfere with chemosensing and alter the distribution and behavior of soil invertebrate populations. Development of guidelines considering ecologically relevant endpoints are important to maintaining ecological functioning of soil invertebrate communities following contamination events. The effective concentration (EC) values for avoidance tests for numerous soil invertebrates were compared to the EC value for reproduction. Soil remediation guideline derived from a SSD was determined with and without inclusion of avoidance tests to assess how these tests influence the resulting guidelines.

Author / Presenter: Dylan Steinkey
Affiliation: University of Lethbridge
Student: Yes

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Present production in the Alberta oil sands has raised concerns of its prospective influences on the surrounding environment. This study has demonstrated toxicity from oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) to Daphnia magna exposed to OSPW as well as its dissolved component (DC) and suspended particulate matter (SPM). All components demonstrate a reduced feeding rate compared to unexposed D. magna. This study also examined different mechanisms of action to explain the observed feeding rates seen in each group. Digestive enzymes trypsin and amylase were largely unaffected by the individual components, however there was a significant decrease in trypsin activity when exposed to total OSPW (as normally found in tailings ponds). Neither mandible rolling nor post-abdominal rejections, two feeding behaviours, showed change after any treatment. Thoracic limb movements, which provide water flow toward the feeding groove, were reduced in all SPM and total OSPW treatments but not in the DC treatment. Peristaltic movements were reduced resulting in a reduction of digestion time in all DC treatments. Energy dispersive x-ray analysis detected both aluminum and silicon in SPM treatments. All exposures showed an increase in the number of intact algae cells after excretion demonstrating the reduction in feeding rates is partly caused by improper digestion.

Author / Presenter: Ebrahim Lari
Affiliation: U of Lethbridge
Student: Yes

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Determining the potential effects of the main by-product of oil sands surface mining process, oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), on aquatic ecosystems is of main concern to oil sands companies and legislators concerned about the reclamation of mining sites. In the present study, the first interaction of OSPW with the chemosensory system of rainbow trout was investigated. The aim of the first part of the study was to determine whether or not the olfactory system of fish detect OSPW. The aim of the second part of the study was to investigate if the olfactory fatigue resulted from continuous exposure to OSPW thereby reducing the acuity of olfactory system of rainbow trout. Olfactory acuity and its response to chemical cues was tested using electro-olfactography (EOG). In order to find out whether or not rainbow trout can detect OSPW using olfaction, fish were tested for their avoidance behaviour in a choice maze and EOG response to 1 and 10% OSPW. To investigate the immediate effect of OSPW on the olfactory acuity of rainbow trout, fish were tested for their attraction and avoidance behaviour in a choice maze and EOG response to a food (L-alanine) and an alarm (taurocholic acid) cue in presence and absence of OSPW. Rainbow trout ware able to detect OSPW at concentrations as low as 1%. The presence of OSPW at 1% and higher also reduced olfactory acuity. The results of the present study suggest that fish can detect and probably avoid OSPW if possible. If the fish cannot detect or avoid OSPW for any reason, its ability to detect natural chemosensory cues could be impaired immediately after being exposed to OSPW.

Author / Presenter: William Thompson
Affiliation: University of Calgary
Student: Yes

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

William A. Thompson (University of Calgary) and Mathilakath M. Vijayan (University of Calgary) Antidepressants prescriptions have been increasing worldwide resulting in higher levels of these neuroactive compounds in municipal wastewater effluent (MWWE). These compounds are biologically active in humans, but the impacts on non-target organisms are far from clear. In this study we used the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), a native species to Alberta, as a model to understand the impact of the antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor) on development and behaviour. Venlafaxine is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor prescribed for mood alteration in humans commonly appearing in MWWE at concentrations upwards of 0.5?g/L worldwide. We hypothesized that venlafaxine would alter the behavioural response and the normal development of the fathead minnow. Fertilized fathead minnow eggs were exposed to environmental concentrations of venlafaxine (0, 0.1, 0.5, 1, 2, and 4?g/L) for 7 days and key developmental markers, including survival, hatching success, growth and behavior, were assessed. Venlafaxine exposure did not affect survival, but altered the time of hatch and growth in the exposed embryos. The behavioural end-points included thigmotaxis, commonly used in zebrafish to assess the anxiety response, and swimming performance. Overall, venlafaxine affects key stages of fathead minnow development, while the behavioural models used in this study may be useful as a high-throughput screening tool to assess the impacts of environmental levels of antidepressants on fish performance. This study was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery and Strategic Grants to MMV and an Eyes High Doctoral Scholarship to WAT.

Author / Presenter: Patrick Gauthier
Affiliation: University of Calgary
Student: No

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 15:20 – 15:40
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Animal behaviours in response to a stressor are complex and adaptive strategies to maximize survival and fitness. While animals typically have a relatively stable activity profiles under non-stressful conditions, the sudden occurrence of a predator or environmental change drastically alters this profile. Dealing with such complicated activity data is often handled by averaging activity over an interval of time (e.g., total activity pre- and post-stimulus). This avoids substantial statistical headache, but greatly simplifies animal behaviour as the change in activity is typically dynamic and non-linear. A researcher may be interested in knowing the complete profile of how an animal responds to an environmental stimulus and might ask: does activity change and if so, how rapid is the change in activity, at what point in time does that change in activity reach a maxima, and what is that maxima? Moreover, ecotoxicologists will be interested in how the presence of a contaminant influences these metrics, as they provide highly ecologically relevant information regarding animal function, performance, and survival. Thus, finding appropriate models that encapsulate these metrics will prove exceptionally useful and help propel the use of animal behaviour as an ecotoxicological endpoint. As environmental exposure occurs as a mixture of contaminants, and the effects of a mixture can diminish or enhance the overall toxicity of the contaminants that are present, understanding these outcomes is critical for predicting potential adverse effects of mixtures in the environment. Unfortunately, there is no current consensus on appropriate statistical methods for predicting mixture toxicity from a regulatory standpoint, and no clearly outlined modelling approaches for simultaneously analysing time-series behavioural data for: a) the effect of contaminants on behaviour, and b) the additive effect of those contaminants on behaviour. We present a novel statistical approach with the zebrafish embryo photomotor response (PMR) assay. We apply non-linear mixed effects (nlme) modelling to test for the effects of ?-adrenergic compounds and their mixtures on the complete time-series of the PMR of zebrafish embryos. We found the nlme model performed excellently in describing the PMR time-series data, and revealed that exposure to the ?-agonist, isoproterenol, and the ?-antagonist, atenolol, stimulated and supressed the embryo PMR, respectively. However, exposure to the ?-agonist and ?-antagonist mixture produced non-additive effects on the zebrafish embryo PMR. The successful application of the nlme modelling on behavioural data, particularly in the context of a mixture, has potential to improve the use of animal behaviour in ecotoxicological research.

Author / Presenter: Clara Philibert
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: Yes

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

In North America it is predicted that current pipelines will not be able to handle the demand for oil and natural gas, creating the need for expansion. With this growth it is likely that the incidences of pipelines spills will also grow. In 2012 there were 140 incidents of pipeline spills in Canada and this number is projected to increase as new pipelines are built. With continued drilling and oil sands exploration there are both conventional and unconventional crudes that are marketed throughout North America and overseas. Two common conventional crudes that are currently being shipped in Alberta are mixed sweet blend (MSB) and medium sour composite (MSC). Bitumen extracted from the oil sands is unconventional crude and is mixed with natural gas condensates creating diluted bitumen (dilbit) which is then able to shipped via pipeline. It is critical that we understand the effects of these 3 common pipeline oils on aquatic organisms so that we can better assess the risks associated with a pipeline spill on the environment. The effects of oil exposure on the visual learning of fish is important as vision is used for prey capture and predator evasion which are both crucial factors in survival. In our study we examined the effect of exposure to these three types of oil on zebrafish visual learning behaviour. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to one of four treatments; mixed sweet blend, medium sour composite, dilbit or embryo media (EM control). Mixed sweet blend, medium sour composite and dilbit treatments were made as a water accommodated fraction (WAF) by mixing 1 part oil to 1000 parts water. Embryos were exposed from 0-7 days post fertilization (dpf); at 7 dpf larvae were shown a pre-recorded video containing 30 minutes acclimation, 5 minutes of visual stimulus followed by 5 minutes without, then another 5 minutes of stimulus. The larvae were recorded throughout and observed for behavioural change. By studying the effects of crude oils on visual learning behaviour we are better able to predict the more subtle consequences of a pipeline oil spill.

Author / Presenter: Jody Heerema
Affiliation: University of Lethbrige
Student: Yes

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Conventional wastewater treatment technologies were not designed to remove the multitude of everyday products, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products, that are prevalent in wastewater today. Consequently, low concentrations of these products can persist in wastewater effluent after treatment. Some products are able to disrupt the normal functioning of the endocrine system in vertebrates, even at low concentrations, and therefore are considered endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs). More specifically, some EDCs are thyroid active and therefore can interfere with the thyroid system through blocking or mimicking thyroid hormones (THs) thyroxine (T4) or tri-iodothyronine (T3). Tadpoles have been identified as excellent sentinels to study the effects of TH disruption because their development into adult frogs through metamorphosis is highly dependent upon the normal signaling of THs. With metamorphosis comes the major remodeling of the entire body plan, including the olfactory system. The tadpole olfactory system undergoes both structural and molecular changes as it transitions from functioning in a fully aquatic environment to functioning in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. As a result, the disruption of normal TH signaling has the potential to affect chemosensation during the sensitive developmental process of metamorphosis. This study aimed to measure the effects of TH disruption on chemosensation in North American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) tadpoles. Premetamorphic tadpoles were exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of one of T3, T4, a cocktail of known EDCs, treated wastewater effluent or 17?-estradiol (E2) as a negative control. After exposures, avoidance responses to a chemosensory cue (amino acids) were measured using an I-maze behavioural assay. Our results show that T3 impairs chemosensory mediated avoidance responses to the cue, but T4 and E2 have no effect. Additionally the cocktail of known EDCs did not have an effect on the chemosensory behavioural responses, but treated wastewater effluent impaired the avoidance responses. These results suggest that constituents in the wastewater effluent were able to mimic T3, as similar chemosensory mediated behavioural results were measured after both exposures. Healthy chemosensory acuity in tadpoles is important for them to locate food and avoid predators in order for them to reach the adult frog life-stage and reproduce. Therefore, chemosensory mediated behaviour can be a sensitive and ecologically relevant endpoint for studying the effects of TH disruption in tadpoles.

Author / Presenter: Keith Tierney
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Some mallard ducks may elect to overwinter on wastewater treatment ponds. These birds have been observed drinking from secondary clarified effluent (SCE) ponds. This water contains a diverse cocktail of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), pesticides and other contaminants. We first compared duck behaviour on these ponds to that on more typical overwintering sites, and found no evidence of adverse effects. To determine directly if SCE ingestion could pose a health concern, we gavaged ducklings with SCE over days 2-30 post-hatch. We found both developmental and behavioural effects, but they were very subtle, and hard to characterize as adverse. For example, beak length was increased and pecking behaviour was reduced. Liver size was unaffected, which suggested the absence of a major toxic challenge. Additionally, we characterized a biotransformation enzyme, but its expression was not statistically increased by SCE exposure. Overall, our study suggests that ingestion of clarified wastewater may not pose a risk to overwintering waterfowl.

Author / Presenter: Edward Little
Affiliation: Columbia Environmental Research Center, United States Geological Survey
Student: No

Session: Trends in Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 16:40 – 17:00
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

The upper Columbia River (UCR) has been contaminated from metal-loaded effluents resulting from smelter and mining activities. Approximately 10 million metric tons of slag, in addition to liquid effluent, were released from a lead-zinc smelter in Trail, British Columbia from 1947 until 1995, resulting in some UCR sediment metal loads being elevated above biological criteria concentrations. In the transboundary reach of the UCR, White Sturgeon population declines have been associated with little to no natural recruitment since the late 1960s. Copper, which is present in significant concentrations in slag, can be mobilized from slag containing sediments and is highly toxic to early life-stage White Sturgeon. Our objective was to evaluate toxicity of slag-contaminated sediments collected at various sites from the UCR to early life-stage White Sturgeon and to assess various behavioral endpoints of early life-stage sturgeon to slag-contaminated sediments during exposure using field-collected and reference sediments. We exposed early life-stage White Sturgeon to sediments from sites from the UCR in Reach 1, which were targeted for testing based on slag characteristics, copper concentration, and the potential for very early life-stage sturgeon to inhabit. Sturgeon were exposed for 14 days starting with 3 days post hatch fish. Mortality was recorded and swimming activity endpoints were measured at the end of the exposure. In the overlying water, cumulative hardness-based chronic toxic units for the metal mixture of copper, cadmium, lead, nickel, and zinc were >1.0 for three of the six sediment treatments tested. The biotic ligand model normalized copper only chronic toxic units were also >1.0 in three of the six sediment treatments although one treatment was different between the two measures. Mortality and swimming activity endpoints were significantly different than the quartz sand control treatment with higher mortality and reduced activity measured in one sediment treatment, which was collected from the UCR near the city of Northport, WA. This study sheds light on the cause-effect relationships of slag on the white sturgeon population.

Author / Presenter: Daniel Alessi
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Issues and Environmental Effects
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 09:50 – 10:10
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

The rapid expansion of combined horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has opened previously uneconomic oil and gas deposits to development in the past decade. Many wells are fractured using slickwater, and these wells often produce large volumes of flowback and produced water (FPW) that are typically brackish and contain a suite of inorganic and organic constituents. FPW returns to the surface with a temperature representative of the geologic formation that was fractured, which in western Canada often ranges between 60 – 120C. Upon reaching the surface, FPW cools to ambient surface temperature, leading to the precipitation of a suite of secondary precipitates and the contemporaneous oxidation of reduced aqueous species, including ferrous to ferric iron. In this presentation, I will discuss the contribution of secondary precipitates formed in FPW collected from a well in the Duvernay Formation in Alberta, to the overall toxicity of FPW toward model aquatic organisms. To do so, FPW precipitates were thoroughly characterized using electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, electron diffraction, and chemical digestions to understand their geochemistry. Because a range of organic constituents were found to significantly sorb to the surface of the precipitates, LC50 and EROD analyses were conducted on FPW with and without precipitates to understand the degree and mechanisms of toxicity due to the precipitates. Ultimately we find that secondary precipitates may comprise a large fraction of the overall toxicity of FPW, and treatment technologies to handle the precipitate fraction may prove promising in reducing the overall environmental risk posed by FPW.

Author / Presenter: Bonnie Bergsma
Affiliation: Sahtu Land and Water Board
Student: No

Session: Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Issues and Environmental Effects
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

In the Central Mackenzie Valley region of the NWT, interest in oil and gas exploration and long term development is increasing. The Sahtu Land and Water Board (SLWB) must ensure that any authorization for the use of water will not substantially alter the quality, quantity, or rate of flow of waters on or flowing through or adjacent to Sahtu lands. The SLWB has issued two authorizations for hydraulic fracturing of exploratory wells. With the environmental uncertainty related to potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on surface and groundwater, the Land and Water Boards of the Mackenzie Valley have developed guidelines describing minimum expectations for the preparation of a surface and groundwater monitoring program for all new water licence applications for oil and gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing activities in unconventional oil and gas plays. The Guidelines set out the required design steps to implement a monitoring program: 1) set program goals and objectives; 2) develop monitoring and program design; 3) data collection and data quality; 4) data analysis and interpretation; 5) reporting and recommendations; 6) continue monitoring. The goal of the monitoring program is to determine the baseline status or trends of the receiving environment prior to significant development (i.e. multi-well pads or permanent infrastructure construction) in order to detect any changes over time that may be the result of or associated with activities related to the exploration, drilling, and hydraulic fracturing. A project description, or study plan, must be developed to identify key issues and concerns about how the activity could affect the receiving environment. The nature of the activities, and the contaminants of potential concern (COPC) and their pathways into the receiving environment helps to identify the ecosystems/waterbodies/aquifers that are potentially at risk. Development of a Conceptual Site Model (CSM) of the possible ways the activity could affect the receiving environment helps to identify sampling locations (areas of potential concern), variables to be measured (COPC), frequency of measurement, and other key considerations for the monitoring design. A well-designed monitoring program will generate specific conclusions with an identified level of risk. The Guidelines present a three-step impact assessment monitoring approach that is initiated prior to project start-up, continues while the project is operational, and extends for a defined period post-project. The Guidelines acknowledge that the environment will differ between sites and projects and therefore allow some flexibility in design while setting a high standard of expectation for the monitoring activities. The Boards recognize that sound and sustainable water quality monitoring programs are key factors in assessing and managing potential direct, indirect, and cumulative effects to surface and groundwater quality in the Mackenzie Valley.

Author / Presenter: Tamzin Blewett
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Issues and Environmental Effects
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping a mixture of water, fracture proppants, and industrial fluid into deep wells at high pressures to allow for the recovery of tight gas and oil reserves. Flow-back and produced wastewaters (FPW) are extremely high in salinity (up to 330,000 ppt), and also contain elevated concentrations of organic and metal contaminants. From 2005-2013, there were >2500 documented flow-back fluid spills in Alberta alone, and of these, 113 were large spills into either flowing water, freshwater lakes or wetlands. Little data exists on the impact of these complex mixtures on native fish species. Using juvenile rainbow trout, 48 hour acute toxicity tests were conducted to replicate spill effects. Fish were exposed to 7.5% of the total FPW, or salt-matched controls. Gill histology showed significant changes in lamellar width, inter-lamellar cell masses, and changes in cell type with exposure to FPW, similar to effects seen in salt-matched controls. FPW- and salt-matched control exposed fish also showed signs of oxidative stress, with decreased levels of SOD with 50% reduction in the highest exposure tested in the gill and liver, and increased catalase activity in the same tissues. The pattern of measured changes represents a unique signature of impact, suggesting an approach that could be used to track exposures, facilitating an understanding of spill impacts and helping to define a zone of biological influence of the spill. Overall, these data point to significant impacts of salt stress as a confounding factor in understanding the effects of FPW spills. These data will aid in the design of post-spill environmental effects monitoring and risk assessment.

Author / Presenter: Yuhe He
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Issues and Environmental Effects
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

The potential environmental risk related to horizontal drilling with high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HF) has drawn a lot of public concerns. However, the toxic effects on fish embryo development posed by HF flowback and produced water (FPW) has not been well studied. FPW is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic constituents in HF fluids and deep formation water. The surface spills of FPW may cause acute and/or long term environmental impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Previous studies indicated FPW may have endocrine disruptive and embryotoxic effects on fish, but studies on those effects were heavily hindered due to the high mortality caused by salinity and limited exposure concentrations. In this study, the total organic fractions were extracted from sediment-free water and sediment phases of several FPW samples from various locations. Analyses of PAH profile were performed for each organic fractions, demonstrating that FPW samples have complicated and highly variable organic profiles based on but not limited to PAHs profile results. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to various concentrations of organic fractions for 120 h. Mortality (LC50), success of hatching, survival, and incidences of spinal malformation were examined. A scale of degree of spinal malformation was designed and applied to calculate the cumulative curvature score (CCS) for each exposure group. Compared to the previous studies using the dilutions of original FPW samples, the organic fractions of FPWs have much higher LC50 values, proving the major lethal toxicity is dominated by high salinity in original FPW samples. Generally, exposure to organic fractions of FPW significantly increased the incidences of morphological deformities in zebrafish embryo development, resulting higher CCS. Expression of a series of genes related to biotransformation, oxidative stress and endocrine disruption were also found to be altered in exposure groups through quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The results provide novel information on the developmental toxicity of organic contents in HF-FPWs, and suggest that the organic contaminants released from FPW spills may have potential long-term environmental effects on teleost early development.

Author / Presenter: Erik Folkerts
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: Yes

Session: Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Issues and Environmental Effects
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Horizontal hydraulic fracturing is an emerging practice in North America to extract oil and gas reserves. To date, little toxicological information is supplied for both the technologies and chemicals used during the fracturing process, and for the surface returned by-product fracturing flowback and produced water (FPW). Volumes of water used per well can often exceed 1 million m3, resulting in potentially devastating environmental effects when spills of FPW occur. Although salinity dominates much of the toxicity observed, other inorganic (e.g. metals, radionuclides, etc) and organic (e.g. polyaromatic hydrocarbons, benzenes, etc.) molecules found in FPW can induce toxicological responses in exposed organisms. The current study uses zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model organism to determine if acute exposures to FPW induce developmental changes in organismal oxygen uptake. To determine if exposure to dilute FPW resulted in changes in oxygen consumption, zebrafish embryos were acutely exposed to 2.5% and 5% FPW and oxygen consumption was measured. Transcriptional analyses of specific hypoxia, stress inducible, and cardiovascular genes were performed and paired with embryo metabolic rates to determine if FPW exposure affected immediate embryo oxygen consumption, and if FPW-induced respirometry changes persisted after exposure was terminated. Furthermore, developmental toxicity assays were employed to determine if acute FPW exposure changed developmental deformity (such as pericardial edema and yolk sac edema) occurrences in 120 hour-post-fertilized larvae. Finally, juvenile zebrafish swim performance experiments were performed to determine if acute FPW exposure affected later stage fish fitness. This is one of the first studies to use respirometry as a metric for measuring FPW induced toxicity. Our results aim to validate respirometry as a potential toxicological biomarker for identifying biological zones of impact when FPW spills occur, and provide regulating agencies information to help shape future FPW spill/leak remediation protocols.

Author / Presenter: Howard Bailey Bryon Shore
Affiliation: Nautilus Environmental
Student: No

Session: Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Issues and Environmental Effects
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Previous research linked the primary toxicant in various sources of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) to the organic acid fraction (naphthenic acids), but did not have access to the high-resolution mass spectrometry techniques that are now available to measure and characterize the organic acid component of OSPW. More recent studies have used these techniques to implicate O2 (i.e., classical) naphthenic acid species as the primary cause of toxicity but, due to methodological and statistical limitations, were unable to demonstrate quantitative dose-response relationships. This study characterized the primary toxic component(s) in OSPW using the Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) approach. Phase 1 TIE treatments were used to identify the general characteristics of constituents responsible for toxicity using acute 96-hr rainbow trout exposures. Toxicity was primarily associated with the organic fraction, and toxic components were further separated using solvent-gradient fractionation. Naphthenic acid fraction compounds in the toxic and non-toxic fractions were determined using Orbitrap Mass Spectrometry in negative ion mode, and the data used to conduct a principal components analysis (PCA). The resultant PCA axis loadings were then used to conduct regression analyses between various classes of naphthenic acids and toxicity, with only the O2 class (classical naphthenic acids) demonstrating a significant relationship. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a quantitative relationship has been demonstrated between classical naphthenic acids and acute toxicity. Of note, this investigation also found evidence of a secondary toxicant, and additional work is being undertaken to determine its identity. The results of this research increase our understanding of the link between naphthenic acids and OSPW toxicity, and aids in identifying other toxic constituents in OSPW. Moreover, these data will help develop treatment goals and targets for removal of OSPW toxicity in future mine closure landscapes and water return scenarios.

Author / Presenter: Collin Arens
Affiliation: Golder Associates Ltd.
Student: Yes

Session: Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Issues and Environmental Effects
Date: Monday 26 September 2016
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

The rapid development of the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta Canada has raised concerns with regards to the ecological impacts on downstream aquatic environments, particularly the Athabasca River. Population, physiological and biochemical responses in White Sucker collected downstream of Athabasca oil sands developments were compared with those at Calling Lake, a location upstream of oil sands activities. These analyses were paired with an evaluation of waterborne naphthenic acids in the river and indicators of exposure to naphthenic acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals in White Sucker tissue. Levels of naphthenic acids were elevated in tributaries adjacent to oil sands mining activities but were lower in the mainstem of the river. Tributary naphthenic acid profiles were more similar to oil sands aged tailings water than were the mainstem water samples, suggesting some influence of tailings in the tributaries. White Sucker showed higher energy storage in the Athabasca River as indicated by significantly higher condition and liver size in both male and female fish. White Sucker were not investing that energy into reproductive effort as measured by gonad size in the two sexes and fecundity in females, which were significantly reduced relative to the reference location. Despite the differences in gonad development, there were no significant differences in White Sucker sex steroid hormone concentrations between the two locations. Athabasca River White Sucker showed increased exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as indicated by hepatic CYP1A activity and fluorescent bile metabolites. Naphthenic acids measured in bile also indicated exposure to low concentrations of these compounds in the Athabasca River. Some priority metals (e.g., cadmium, copper, nickel, and selenium) were also elevated in White Sucker liver tissue when compared to the reference location. Under the current regime of oil sands mining in the region, compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals derived from atmospheric deposition currently present a greater risk to fish populations than naphthenic acids derived from natural sources or tailings seepage.