Detailed Presentation Abstract Schedule

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Author / Presenter: George Arhonditsis
Affiliation: University of Toronto
Student: No

Session: Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Biota of the Great Lakes
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

In the context of aquatic biogeochemical modelling, there is an increasing pressure to explicitly treat the functional diversity of biotic communities. The first part of my presentation evaluates the capacity of 124 aquatic biogeochemical models to reproduce the dynamics of phytoplankton functional groups. The analysis reinforces earlier findings that aquatic ecosystem modellers do not seem to consistently apply conventional methodological steps during the development of their models. There is also significant uncertainty with respect to the mathematical representation of key physiological processes (e.g., growth strategies, nutrient kinetics, settling velocities) as well as group-specific characterizations typically considered in the literature. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a major concern for water industries as they represent high risk for human health and economic costs for drinking water treatment, and thus one of the outstanding challenges is to offer credible modelling tools that can serve as early warning systems to assist with the operational control of cyanobacteria dominance. Using cutting-edge machine-learning and Bayesian inference techniques, I will illustrate a methodological framework that aims to: (i) identify the factors that regulate the occurrence of HABs; (ii) provide predictions of HABs under different climate scenarios; and (iii) obtain a probabilistic mapping of areas around the Great Lakes that are characterized by an excessively high risk of HAB formation (“hot-spots”). The application of Bayesian inference techniques provides a convenient means to addresses the urgent need for novel modelling tools that can support water quality management throughout the Great Lakes Region.

Author / Presenter: Yuko Shimoda
Affiliation: University of Toronto Scarborough
Student: No

Session: Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Biota of the Great Lakes
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Phosphorus control has been historically regarded as the most effective management action for the reduction of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in lakes and rivers. HAB occurrence is, however, on the rise around the Great Lakes in recent years, despite the extensive restoration efforts, posing risks to human health. The objective of this study is to identify potential environmental conditions, where a set of variables significantly increase the frequency of HABs and the likelihood of cyanotoxin violations in waters used in drinking water treatment plants (i.e., Microcystin> 1.0 ?g/L). Our study site, the Bay of Quinte, a Z-shaped embayment at the northeastern end of Lake Ontario experiences frequent and spatially extensive algal blooms and predominance of toxic cyanobacteria. We identified several variables (i.e., total phosphorus, ammonium, temperature, chlorophyll a, wind speed, and light) that are connected with the likelihood of Microcystis blooms during the growing season in the bay. The integration of Bayesian hierarchical frameworks with regression modelling allowed us to delineate the role of different abiotic factors on the spatiotemporal variability of the phytoplankton composition and to quantify threshold values of environmental variables that may increase the likelihood of Microcystin violations. Findings suggested that there is a significant temporal and spatial heterogeneity with respect to the role of the factors examined and the potential impacts of dreissenid mussels that may have contributed to the shifts in the composition of phytoplankton assemblages. Thus, total phosphorus alone cannot always explain the year-to-year variability of Microcystis and the toxin productions in the system. This spatially explicit approach is useful in identifying “hot spots”, where more intense monitoring is required, thereby allowing us to examine toxin productions at macroscales.

Author / Presenter: Xavier Ortiz
Affiliation: Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Student: No

Session: Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Biota of the Great Lakes
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Microcystins are cyclic heptatpeptide hepatotoxins produced by cyanobacteria found in freshwater environments. They are toxic to higher organisms, causing sickness or even death. Even though only one particular variant is currently regulated under the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act (microcystin-LR, 1.5 µg/L), over 100 different microcystins variants have been reported to date. In fish, microcystins are in equilibrium between the covalently protein-bound and not protein-bound (free) forms. Most recent developments for microcystin analysis in fish are based on the Lemieux oxidation of all the cyanotoxins to the common fragment 2-methyl-3(methoxy)-4-phenylbutyic acid (MMPB). Even though these methods can quantitatively determine the total amount of microcystins, they can’t differentiate between the different variants originally present in the fish. The present study describes the development of a method for the analysis of 12 different variants of free microcystins in fish based on aqueous extraction (5% ammonium hydroxide), solid phase extraction clean-up and liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry instrumental analysis with matrix-matched calibration standards. Ten yellow perch and ten walleye samples were analyzed with the validated method (fillets and livers analyzed separately). As expected, concentration in liver was significantly higher than fillets, since these compounds are hepatoxins. In yellow perch liver, concentration of total free microcytins ranged from <20 to 331 ng/g, where microcystin LA and dmLR were present in a 1:1 ratio. In walleye liver, concentrations ranged between <20 to 4829 ng/g were LA accounted for 98% of the total microcystins.

Author / Presenter: Denina Simmons
Affiliation: McMaster University
Student: No

Session: Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Biota of the Great Lakes
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Microcystins are toxins produced by some freshwater cyanobacteria, and their global presence in surface waters is increasing, particularly as the climate warms, resulting in altered nutrient profiles and increased algal bloom events. In vertebrate organisms, microcystins are well-established hepatotoxins. There is less known about the mechanism that causes toxic effects after microcystin exposure in invertebrates. To address this, we exposed Daphnia magna to live, laboratory-grown blue – green algae, Microcystis aeruginosa (as a food source) that high in microcystin toxins for 24 hours. We then performed shotgun proteomic analysis on whole homogenates of pooled daphnids from each an exposed treatment and a control treatment. A unique feature of this method was the inclusion of Daphnia magna whose proteome was entirely labelled with stable 13C and 15N isotopes, which allowed direct relative quantification and comparison between the control and exposure treatment for each replicate. We will present the preliminary proteomic results from this study, with an emphasis on what biological functions in Daphnia were affected by exposure to microcystins in order to determine a toxicological mechanism of action.

Author / Presenter: Bruce Pauli
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Toxicity and Exposure of Wildlife to PAHs
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 9:00 – 9:20
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Recent studies have reported evidence that surface mining operations in northern Alberta’s oil sands region are contributing to the atmospheric deposition of metals and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) in the vicinity of major bitumen upgrading facilities in the oil sands development area. As part of the Canada-Alberta Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Program, we examined the accumulation of PACs in small shallow boreal wetlands at varying distances from oil sands industrial activities through use of semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) and collection of wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles. SPMDs were deployed in shallow lentic waterbodies adjacent to wood frog egg masses and were retrieved approximately 35 to 40 days later. Late stage tadpoles were retrieved from the wetlands at the same time as the SPMDs. Wetlands south of the Athabasca oil sands industrial area accumulated less PACs than wetlands situated north of Fort McMurray, Alberta; the latter wetlands were inside the oil sands surface mineable region. The highest concentrations of PACs were detected in SPMDs deployed within a 25 km radius of surface mining activity, consistent with snow deposition studies of PACs in the region. In wetlands located in the surface mineable region, PAC profiles from SPMDs and wood frog tadpoles were dominated by C1-C4 alkylated PACs, including dibenzothiophenes; these compounds represented 87-97% and 91-97% of PACs detected in SPMDs and tadpoles, respectively, which is strongly indicative of petrogenic sources. Total PACs in whole body wood frog tadpoles ranged from 111 to 195 ng/g wet weight. Contrary to differences seen in the SPMD PAC concentrations, there were no obvious differences in the sum of wood frog tissue PAC residues between wetland study sites. Alkylated fluorenes and dibenzothiophenes were found to be higher in tadpoles collected from a wetland located within 10 km of two bitumen upgrading facilities. The use of SPMDs in tandem with biomonitoring organisms offers considerable value when assessing the potential exposure of aquatic organisms to PACs, however further validation is required to determine whether SPMDs can be utilized as surrogates for tadpoles for the monitoring of PAC environmental exposure.

Author / Presenter: Philippe Thomas
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada/University of Ottawa
Student: Yes

Session: Toxicity and Exposure of Wildlife to PAHs
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 9:20 – 9:40
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Oil sands bitumen is heavily and severely biodegraded crude oil dominated by alkylaromatic hydrocarbons and hetero-compounds, some of which are likely oxidized, increasing their water solubility and potential for bioaccumulation and biomagnification in wildlife. The Athabasca River and the Peace-Athabasca Delta may be impacted by industrial development related to bitumen extraction occurring in the upstream region of the oil sands. There have been few studies on the exposure of free-ranging terrestrial mammals to Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds (PACs). As such, the ecological significance and the effects of this exposure are poorly understood, especially in long-lived species where long-term survival and lifetime productivity may be adversely affected. Given the paucity of information on the levels and effects of PACs on reproductive success, immune function, and population level responses, further investigative studies in terrestrial apex predators are warranted. In this project we assessed PAC contaminant burdens in liver tissues of river otters collected from traditional land users and registered trappers. A collaborative non-invasive sampling program involving the collection of otter feces at latrine sites at two different trap lines was undertaken. Analysis of the samples collected allowed us to determine chemically-induced stress responses in the animals as well the measurement of various fecal hormone metabolites (including progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones and corticosteroids). DNA was extracted from the same scat samples and used for a population genetic assessment of river otters to monitor population structuring in the vicinity of development sites. Local populations of river otters are responding to anthropogenic disturbances as evidenced by altered fecal hormone metabolite levels and reduced local effective population sizes with correspondingly higher hepatic PAC burdens.

Author / Presenter: Zachary Currie
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Toxicity and Exposure of Wildlife to PAHs
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Aquatic organisms are rarely exposed to only one stressor in their environment. Chemical stressors such as contaminants along with wavelengths of solar radiation can interact to increase toxicity of contaminants. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are one class of organic molecules that are lipophilic and readily bioaccumulate. Certain PAHs exhibit photo-induced toxicity with ecologically relevant intensities of ultraviolet (UV) light, resulting in increased mortality, reduced fecundity, and behavioural effects in aquatic organisms. Early life-stages of amphibians may be particularly susceptible to PAH photo-induced toxicity as they are translucent, have permeable skin and undergo embryo and larval development in shallow ponds. Limited studies have investigated the potential photo-induced toxicity of PAHs in larval amphibian species making it difficult to predict their impact. The objective of the present study was to evaluate and compare the sensitivity of a laboratory model amphibian (Xenopus laevis) and an ecologically native species (wood frog, Lithobates sylvaticus) to the photo-enhanced toxicity of PAHs. 96-h tests were performed in which tadpoles were exposed to individual PAHs (anthracene, naphthalene, benzo(a)pyrene) for 8 h, transferred to clean water, and then exposed to UV light for 12 h. Results were compared using mortality, growth, body burden, and whole body transcriptomic responses as endpoints. In the presence of UV light, anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene were found to increase mortality, and decrease total length, of both larval Xenopus and wood frog. Based on mortality data, Xenopus was found to be the more sensitive species, suggesting the model organism might be protective of Ranids with regards to the photo-induced toxicity of PAHs. Body burden analyses at 8 h will identify whether differences in uptake of PAHs contributes to the observed species-specific photo-induced toxicity. Transcriptomic analyses are underway in an effort to further understand the mechanism of toxicity of photo-induced PAHs in larval amphibians by examining genome-wide changes in gene expression following exposure to UV light and benzo(a)pyrene. This study demonstrates that UV exacerbates PAH effects in developing amphibians and that photo-induced toxicity of PAHs is species-specific. Overall, it is important to consider UV as an environmental stressor when assessing the toxicity of PAHs to larval amphibians.

Author / Presenter: Vince Palace
Affiliation: IISD-Experimental Lakes Area
Student: Yes

Session: Toxicity and Exposure of Wildlife to PAHs
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

The International Institute for Sustainable Development-Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is embarking on a comprehensive program of study to examine the fate, behaviour and potential impacts of diluted bitumen (dilbit) in the freshwater aquatic environment as well as strategies to enhance recovery of impacted freshwater ecosystems. During the 2017 field season, baseline data and initial studies to refine methods were conducted in preparation for model spill studies in subsequent years. Here we report initial results from exposures of wild adult fathead minnows (FHM) (Pimephales promelas), captured from lakes at the IISD-ELA, to dilute concentrations of dilbit water accommodated fractions (WAFs). Adult FHM (n=50m/100f) were exposed to high energy mixing WAFs at concentrations of 1:100,000 or 1:1,000,000 for 21 days. An unexposed reference group was also included. After the exposure period, FHM from each treatment were relocated to 10L breeding chamber aquaria so that 1 male and 2 females from a treatment were housed together in a breeding triplet (n=12 triplets per treatment) and ambient temperature was incrementally raised to 22°C to induce spawning activity. Video analysis of time spent in the breeding area and total number of spawning events was used to determine reproductive activity, and reproductive output was determined by the total number of eggs produced over a 14 day breeding period. Ongoing analysis of egg diameter, hatching success, and mean larval length and weight at landmark developmental time points will be used to determine potential effects of exposure to the dilute WAFs among progeny of exposed FHM.

Author / Presenter: Pamela Martin
Affiliation: EWHD
Student: No

Session: Toxicity and Exposure of Wildlife to PAHs
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Situated in western Lake Ontario, Hamilton Harbour was designated in 1987 under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement as one of 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern due to local environmental degradation that had severely impacted the area’s ability to support aquatic life. Historical discharges of pollutants from local industrial and municipal sources impaired water quality and contaminated sediment in the Harbour and several contaminants of concern, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and several metals, were identified. Remediation work has begun in Randle Reef, an area in the Harbour where sediment is known to be highly contaminated with PAHs and other pollutants. This study examines reproduction, health, and contaminant exposure in a wildlife sentinel, the tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), as part of an assessment of pre-remediation environmental conditions at Randle Reef from 2013-2016. This species feeds on emergent aquatic insects in close proximity to its nesting site and has been used widely as an indicator of local sediment contamination in the Great Lakes. Twenty-five nest boxes were installed at two locations in Hamilton Harbour at Randle Reef and Bayfront Park (3 km upstream of Randle Reef) and at Long Point on Lake Erie (reference site). Additional monitoring was initiated in 2015 when nest boxes were installed at three locations upstream of the Harbour (but within the AOC) in Cootes Paradise. Various measures of reproductive success were generally high at Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise study locations. Concentrations of PCBs and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were higher in eggs from the two Hamilton Harbour locations compared to eggs from the Long Point reference site and Cootes Paradise locations. In contrast, mercury concentrations in eggs were comparable among Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise locations. As a measure of PAH exposure, air monitoring was conducted from 2013-2015 using polyurethane foam (PUF) disk samplers that were installed near nest boxes. Concentrations of PAHs in air were consistently higher at the two Hamilton Harbour locations compared to Cootes Paradise locations and the Long Point reference site. While PAH burdens were not higher in liver of nestling chicks from the two Hamilton locations compared to the reference site in 2013 and 2014, significant spatial variation in EROD activity (induced by PAH exposure and responsible for PAH metabolism) was found in liver of chicks among the three study locations. Additional EROD results are pending for chicks collected in 2016 to examine this pattern further. Several biochemical health endpoints associated with contaminant exposure, e.g., corticosterone (stress hormone) and immune and thyroid function, were also studied in chicks in 2015 and 2016.

Author / Presenter: Shane de Solla
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Toxicity and Exposure of Wildlife to PAHs
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Earlier research indicated that airborne exposure to PAHs increased the incidence of mutations in double-crested cormorants that were breeding in Hamilton Harbour relative to those from a Lake Erie reference site; further, alterations in gene expression in the putative p53 (tumor suppression gene) pathway were observed. We examined the metabolomics responses from cormorant chicks from each colony, using 3 tissues (blood, liver, lung). Over 200 metabolites, including acylcarnitines, amino acids, glycerophospholipids, hexose, sphingolipids, and biogenic amines, fatty acids, and bile acids, were measured by flow injection- or liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Although all three tissues easily differentiated the three colonies, the majority of differences observed were between the Lake Erie colony and the other two Hamilton Harbour colonies. Based upon estimates of diet using regurgitates and stable isotopes (ðC,ðN), most of the differences in metabolomics responses appear to be due to diet, as opposed to either airborne PAH exposure, or dietary exposure to POPs. Metabolomics are a useful tool in determining responses of wildlife in field studies where there are multiple, sometimes confounding, stressors including contaminant exposure and ecological drivers.

Author / Presenter: Bharat Chandramouli
Affiliation: SGS AXYS
Student: No

Session: Toxicity and Exposure of Wildlife to PAHs
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Water and sediment from the oil sands represent a complex mixture of organic and inorganic contaminants of potential harm to the ecosystem including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Apical end points of toxicity, such as survival and growth, are traditionally used to understand the effects of exposure and to inform regulatory limits. More recently, molecular markers such as gene expression (transcriptomics), protein expression (proteomics) and changes in endogenous metabolites (metabolomics) have shown great potential in measuring earlier indications of potential toxicity, at lower exposure levels, and in informing the mode of action of these complex pollutant mixtures. These biological perturbations can be used to elucidate adverse outcome pathways connecting exposure and effect. Omics data can provide valuable insight into prioritizing and refining future contaminant measurement strategies and have the potential to inform regulatory approaches earlier than toxicological tests focused on apical end-points. In this study, we used targeted metabolomics in fathead minnow larvae exposed to sediments from the oil sands to study whether this approach could be used to link oil sands PAH exposure information and apical measures of toxicity such as survival, growth and deformities. Fathead minnow embryos and larvae were exposed to low concentrations of three oil sands sediments (1-3 g/L) for 21 days. Sediment PAH (parent and alkylated) levels ranged from low concentrations in upstream sediments from outside the oil sands area (with 9 and 3 ng/g, for total EPA priority PAH and total alkylated PAHs, respectively) to high concentrations in downstream river sediments close to bitumen deposits (with 170-275 ng/g EPA PAHs and 4500-6200 ng/g alkylated PAHs). Larval fish were sampled at 16 days post-hatch (dph) and pooled bodies were assessed for a suite of 217 tissue metabolites including 43 amino acids and biogenic amines, 13 bile acids, 17 fatty acids, and 144 phospholipids and acylcarnitines (all measured in ng/g tissue). Pooled larvae were extracted in methanol and chloroform, spiked with an isotopically labeled internal standard mix and concentrations of the metabolites were measured using a series of LC-MS/MS and flow injection (FI)-MS/MS analytical runs. Metabolomics endpoints were related to apical endpoints in fish tests (survival, growth, % deformities) and to exposure concentrations of PAHs and alkylated PAHs using univariate and multivariate statistical approaches such as ANOVA, PCA and Orthogonal Least Squares Partial Discriminant Analysis (O-PLSDA). Preliminary results show that tissue concentrations of the various metabolites in fish were detected in 36/43, 1/13, 11/17, and 129/144 cases, respectively, for each of the metabolite groupings above indicating appropriate assay performance.

Author / Presenter: Satyendra Bhavsar
Affiliation: Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Student: No

Session: Impact of Air Contaminants on Ecological Health
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Mercury can be naturally elevated in the environment; however, anthropogenic activities can increase environmental mercury levels even at remote locations. Mercury is considered a global pollutant due to its widespread presence, and bioaccumulative and toxic nature. Mercury can damage gonads and alter production of sex hormones in freshwater fish. Mercury is also harmful to humans causing damages to the neurological, immune, genetic, enzyme, cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems. Environmental levels of mercury are impacted by a multitude of complex factors including local geochemistry and biology, local/regional climate, and local/regional/global emissions. This talk will present recent findings on the impacts of these factors that are ever changing on mercury in fish from Ontario waterbodies including the Great Lakes.

Author / Presenter: Haley Piagno
Affiliation: University of British Columbia
Student: Yes

Session: Impact of Air Contaminants on Ecological Health
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Authors: H. Piagno (School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Canada; Environmental Health Services, BC Centre for Disease Control) and R. Afshari (Environmental Health Services, BC Centre for Disease Control; Occupational and Environmental Health Division, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Canada) Introduction: Atmospheric deposition is the primary source of ?new mercury? in the environment. Mercury in the atmosphere typically travels long distances before it is deposited to land or water, where it may undergo bacterial conversion to methylmercury, mercury?s most toxic form. Methylmercury bioaccumulates in animal tissues and biomagnifies in the food chain; it is associated with adverse behavioural, neurochemical, hormonal, and reproductive effects in humans and wildlife. Of particular concern are the effects of methylmercury on neurological development. Mercury is an important component of dental amalgam, comprising approximately 50% of the amalgam mixture. Despite safety concerns, dental amalgam fillings remain the most common type of filling used in Canada. The Canadian Dental Association cites a lack of evidence for adverse health outcomes associated with amalgam fillings in its support of the continued use of dental amalgam. Perhaps of greater concern to human and ecological health is the hazard created when individuals with amalgam fillings are cremated; the temperature of cremation far exceeds the boiling point of mercury, so nearly all of the mercury present in the fillings of a deceased person vapourizes and is released to the atmosphere as elemental mercury. This study aimed to estimate the quantity of mercury emitted annually from crematoriums in Vancouver to elucidate the scope of the problem and inform recommendations for risk management and regulatory action.   Methods: The number of cremations conducted in Vancouver each year was estimated based on age-stratified population and mortality data from Statistics Canada and BC Vital Statistics, respectively, and the cremation rate for the province of BC (82%) as reported by the Cremation Association of North America. Information on the prevalence of fillings among Canadians by age category was obtained from the Canadian Health Measures Survey, and an estimate of the mass of mercury per amalgam filling was derived from various literature sources. A mercury mass balance was conducted to estimate the amount of mercury released to the atmosphere annually from crematoriums in Vancouver.   Results: It is estimated that more than 3500 cremations were conducted in Vancouver in 2016, resulting in the release of more than 5 kg of elemental mercury to the atmosphere. This result was compared to an estimate obtained using the US EPA?s mercury emission factor for crematoriums and was found to be in agreement.  Conclusion and Discussion: Mercury emissions from crematoriums in Vancouver are significant, and given that the rate of cremation is high across the province, crematorium emissions likely account for a considerable proportion of the 360 kg of mercury released to the air each year in BC. Without intervention, mercury emissions from crematoriums will continue to rise as the baby boomer population, among whom amalgam fillings are most prevalent, grows older and the annual number of deaths (and cremations) in this cohort increases. Vancouver, in particular, should see an increase in the number of cremations performed. The rate of cremation in the city is expected to increase with rising land values ? more and more people are choosing cremation over earth burial because of the high cost of cemetery plots. There are currently no regulations limiting the release of mercury from crematoriums in BC, but other regions around the world have recognized the risks to human and ecological health and have moved to reduce emissions. Notably, the UK has established the Crematoria Abatement of Mercury Emissions Organization (CAMEO) to meet a national target of 50% reduction in mercury emissions from crematoriums. It is recommended that the BC Ministry of Environment introduce measures to regulate emissions from crematoriums in the province to mitigate the risks to human and ecological health posed by mercury and other products of cremation.

Author / Presenter: Miriam Diamond
Affiliation: University of Toronto
Student: No

Session: Impact of Air Contaminants on Ecological Health
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Flame retardants (FRs) have been used to mitigate health and financial risks due to fires. The widespread use of additive FRs (not chemically bonded) that are semi-volatile organic compounds (partition between gas/dissolved and condensed phases) has resulted in their global distribution and occurrence in biota and humans. Concerns over the hazardous nature of some brominated flame retardants (BFRs), have resulted in increased use of organophosphate esters (OPEs). Now some OPEs are also coming under regulatory control due to concerns over human health toxicity. Concerns for aquatic toxicity may also arise due to elevated levels of some OPEs in urban surface waters which sees the greatest usage of OPEs, and FRs in general. This paper discusses the indoor sources of OPEs in products (e.g., electronics, upholstered furniture) and building materials (e.g., polyurethane foam insulation), their emissions to the indoor environment, followed by transport outdoors, and their fate in an urban area. Toronto is used as a case study for illustration. Homes in Toronto have levels of OPEs from 1-3 orders of magnitude higher than BFRs. Concentrations of several OPEs (TBEP, TCPP, and TCEP) can reach low µg/L levels in Toronto rivers. One pathway to surface waters is through clothes laundering which efficiently releases these highly soluble compounds. Results from the Multimedia Urban Model (MUM) suggest that washout of measured outdoor air concentrations (low µg/m3 levels) is sufficient to supply rivers with sufficient OPEs to achieve measured concentrations. Estimated total OPE emissions to Toronto air reach tonnes per year, which are orders of magnitude higher than BFRs. These results are discussed in terms of implications for aquatic biota.

Author / Presenter: Clare Wiseman
Affiliation: University of Toronto
Student: No

Session: Impact of Air Contaminants on Ecological Health
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Road dust is a major sink for a variety of toxic metals and metalloids (e.g. lead, cadmium, chromium, arsenic and antimony) and a potentially important source of pollutants to the atmosphere. In addition to geogenic sources and human activities such as construction, traffic exhaust and non-exhaust emissions generated from the wear and tear of asphalt and automotive components such as tires and brake linings are primary sources of metal-enriched particulate matter on roadways. While most particles accumulating on roads fall in the size range expected to accumulate in the roadside environment, road dust has been found to contain a significant fraction of fine particles that are capable of being resuspended and transported longer distances. Total elemental concentrations of road dust in geochemical particle size fractions (e.g. <63 microns) have been characterized in a several studies. However, very little data are available on the metal and metalloid concentrations in road dust fractions capable of being resuspended and their capacity to impact human and ecological receptors via atmospheric transport pathways. In particular, there are limited data on the emerging metals of concern contained in mobilizable road dust fractions such as platinum group elements (PGE), which are heavily used as automotive exhaust catalysts. This presentation focuses on concentrations of PGE in road dust collected in the City of Toronto. Data on PGE were generated as part of a larger study to investigate the bioaccessibility of priority metals in road dust, in fulfillment of identified information needs under Canada's Chemical Management Plan and Clean Air Regulatory Agenda. Road dust samples were collected from a range of street types (residential, arterial and expressway) in Toronto in 2015 and 2016 in cooperation with Transportation Services, City of Toronto. Total PGE concentrations were measured in both coarse and fine dust samples using NiS fire-assay-INAA. Particle size distribution analysis of road dust sweeps indicated that the majority of particles ranges between 6.5 and 14.6 microns, thereby belonging to a size range capable of resuspension to the atmosphere. Pd was observed to occur at the highest relative concentrations in fine road dust, with a City median of 132 µg/kg, followed by Pt (median: 50 µg/kg) and Rh (median: 19 µg/kg) and Ir (median: 0.35 µg/kg), while Os and Ru were below limits of detection and/or limits of quantification. Fine/coarse enrichment ratios for PGE increased from lowest to highest in the following order: Pd(2.5)< Rh(2.6)

Author / Presenter: Grazyna Kalabis
Affiliation: Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Student: No

Session: Impact of Air Contaminants on Ecological Health
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) local air quality regulation (O. Reg. 419/05: Air Pollution – Local Air Quality) works within the province’s air management framework to protect local communities from the effects of air pollution by regulating air contaminants released into communities by various sources, including industrial and commercial facilities. The Ministry derives Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQCs) which are then used to develop air standards and guidelines under O. Reg. 419/05. The AAQCs are developed following an evaluation of the scientific and jurisdictional information, and are based on sensitive critical effects. While majority of AAQCs have been established to protect human health, some AAQCs are derived to protect against other environmental impacts including impact on vegetation, corrosion and visibility. This presentation will provide an overview of the science that the Ministry uses to develop AAQCs, with focus on sulphur dioxide (SO2) which is currently being reviewed. Exposure to SO2 is associated with number of adverse effects on human health and the environment. Inhalation of SO2 can contribute to respiratory morbidity. Asthmatics and those with underlying respiratory disease are particularly susceptible to the direct health effects of SO2 exposure. SO2 also contributes to the formation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). PM2.5 is associated with an increased risk of premature mortality and aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, resulting in increased hospital emergency department, doctor’s visits and restricted activity days. SO2 can also have direct and indirect effects on the environment. Plants can directly uptake SO2 which can interfere with photosynthesis and energy metabolism leading to direct injury and reduced plant growth and yield. SO2 can affect ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic, indirectly through the deposition and retention in soils of sulphur-containing acidifying compounds such as sulphuric acid and sulphate particles. The deposition of acidifying compounds can lead to increase acidification of ecosystems causing a decrease growth and increase susceptibility to disease and injury of sensitive species including lichens. Using SO2 as a case example, discussion will aim to elaborate on the approaches the ministry uses in weighing all the scientific information in determining the most appropriate sensitive adverse effect as means of establishing regulatory limits for contaminants released into the air, hence protecting human health and health of the environment.

Author / Presenter: Duck Kim
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Thermal Discharges – Research and Regulations
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 9:00 – 9:20
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Because Canada is blessed with so much water, many industries use this natural resource for cooling and discharge large volumes of heated water back to the environment. Canada?s nuclear power plants utilize once-through cooling technology that relies on a large water body as heat sinks. Once-through cooling is an efficient, low cost method of condensing steam back to liquid in the power generation industry. However it is becoming apparent that there may be ecological risks associated with the often extensive thermal plumes created by the large volumes of cooling water discharged by nuclear power plants. Environment Canada has responsibilities under Section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act which prohibits the deposit of substances or water that is changed by heat into water so that it is rendered or is likely to be rendered deleterious to fish or fish habitat. In assessing the effects of cooling water, Environment Canada has taken the approach of examining the biology of the fish species utilizing the waters impacted by the thermal plume, the thermal plume behaviour throughout the water column compared against acute and chronic temperature thresholds and modeling of survival of the most thermally sensitive life stages of a thermally sensitive fish species. Environment and Climate Change Canada is in the process implementing updated thermal guidance that consider physiological responses to thermal stress. This paper gives an account of how these management approaches have been used at in the context of nuclear power plants in Canada.

Author / Presenter: Carolyn Brown
Affiliation: EcoMetrix Incorporated
Student: No

Session: Thermal Discharges – Research and Regulations
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 9:20 – 9:40
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Various biological processes are temperature dependant, or temperature sensitive, and different species have optimal temperature ranges over which life functions occur. Temperatures outside these optimal ranges can have varying effects, depending on life history stage, length of time exposed, maximum temperature of exposure, and the rate of change in temperature relative to ambient conditions. In some instances, thermal releases associated with industrial discharges (i.e., process effluents, once-through cooling waters) can have an effect on resident and/or migratory biota. This presentation considers potential thermal effects on different species and life history stages of fish. There are various thermal assessment methods, including the upper incipient lethal temperature, the critical thermal methodology, maximum weekly average temperature, and delta temperature. These methods, the factors that affect their measurement, and their application will be discussed.

Author / Presenter: Joanna Wilson
Affiliation: McMaster University
Student: No

Session: Thermal Discharges – Research and Regulations
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Once through cooling waters from nuclear generating stations represent a possible source of thermal, radiological and chemical stressors to the near shore aquatic environment. These stressors may impact fish physiology and development. Of particular concern are species of whitefish; whitefish spawn in the near shore area in fall and have a long period of development lasting until ice break up in spring. Lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) are both commercially and culturally important, while Round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum) are thought to be a thermally sensitive species and have suffered large population decreases in the Great Lakes. For the past five years, we have been studying the impacts of thermal stress, morpholine, and radiation on lake and round whitefish development. Chronic embryonic thermal stress results in higher mortality, smaller size at hatch, and earlier hatch in both species. Higher incubation temperature appears to result in hatching at an earlier developmental stage, based on fin definition and jaw morphology. Chronic morpholine (an anti-corrosive chemical) exposure during development increases mortality and alters growth in both species; although at doses that were higher than would be expected in the once through cooling waters. Chronic, low dose radiation appears to increase growth early in development and advanced hatch. Collectively, our research suggests that the thermal stressors from once through cooling are the most important for fish development and that round whitefish are the more thermally sensitive species.

Author / Presenter: Elaine Mason
Affiliation: EcoMetrix Incorporated
Student: No

Session: Thermal Discharges – Research and Regulations
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Temperature-response information for use in evaluating thermal discharges is often over 30 years old and in the nonpeer-reviewed literature, especially for Round Whitefish Prosopium cylindraceum and Lake Whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis exposed to nonlethal, elevated, and variable temperatures. Egg incubation experiments on Round Whitefish collected in Lake Ontario and Lake Whitefish collected in Lake Huron were carried out from December 13, 2011, to April 7, 2012. Experimental treatments included ambient baseline control conditions as well as fixed and fluctuating (variable) temperature increases of 1, 2, 3, and 5°C above ambient baseline conditions. For both species, the window for hatching for all experimental temperature treatments was variable (range, 10-38 days for Round Whitefish and 11-44 days for Lake Whitefish), and the hatching windows tended to be greater as temperatures increased. Our results indicated that both fixed and variable incremental increases in temperature above ambient baseline conditions have a statistically significant effect on 50% hatch, and hatch occurs earlier with higher incremental temperature increases. The ecological significance of advanced hatch, such as indirect mortality and food source availability, was evaluated. Additionally, the results of this study were also compared to other advanced hatch literature.

Author / Presenter: Meghan Fuzzen
Affiliation: McMaster University
Student: No

Session: Thermal Discharges – Research and Regulations
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) are a commercially and culturally important fish species in the Great Lakes. The population size of Lake Whitefish in the Great Lakes in declining due to many factors. The role of thermal discharges from industrial facilities in this decline is unknown. Early life stages of Whitefish are vulnerable to thermal discharges due to their relatively shallow depth of spawning (10 m) and the timing and duration of embryonic development (November to May). Previous studies have demonstrated that Lake Whitefish reared at elevated temperatures have reduced survival and earlier time to hatch. Additionally, early hatched larvae are smaller and are not as developed as later hatched larvae. It is hypothesized that larvae reared at elevated temperatures will have reduced fitness due to the smaller size and delayed developmental stage at the time of hatching. To test this Lake Whitefish were reared at constant temperatures (0.5, 2, 5, or 8°C) during embryonic development and monitored for survival until hatch. Development was assessed by comparing morphometric features. The fitness of larvae was assessed by monitoring the transition to feeding and growth rate. Larvae reared at higher temperatures had a higher mortality rate during all period of development, hatched earlier, and had a longer duration in the period between hatching and first feeding. It is predicted that the delay in feeding will be related to smaller jaw size and a slower growth rate. If this is found, it would suggest a lower recruitment of fish exposed to elevated temperatures during embryonic development.

Author / Presenter: Andrea Murillo
Affiliation: McMaster University
Student: Yes

Session: Thermal Discharges – Research and Regulations
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Thermal stress can be a consequence of a fish’s natural environment or a result of anthropogenic activities such as industrial thermal pollution. The production of heat shock proteins (hsp) is an important and highly conserved cellular response to thermal and other stressors. In this study, we assessed the kinetics and ontogeny of the heat shock response (HSR) by quantifying changes in gene expression of hsp70, hsp47, hsp90alpha, hsp90beta, and heat shock cognate 70 (hsc70) in embryonic and young of the year (YOY) juvenile round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum; RWF). For the kinetics experiment, RWF were subjected for 1 to 4 h to three different heat shock (HS) temperatures: +3, +6, or +9 °C for embryos and +6, +9, or +12 °C for YOY juveniles. Embryo and YOY juvenile RWF were allowed to recover at control temperatures of 4 °C and 10 °C, respectively, for 0 to 24 h prior to sampling and quantifying hsp mRNA levels using RT-qPCR. Of the 3 typically inducible hsps, only hsp70 was increased consistently in embryos following heat shock. By comparison, both hsp70 and hsp47 increased in YOY juveniles. mRNA levels of the inducible hsp90alpha, the constitutive hsp90beta, and hsc70 did not vary significant in comparison to controls. For the ontogeny experiment, embryos of different ages were subjected to a 2 h HS of +6, +9, or +12 °C and allowed a recovery period at a control temperature for 2 h. As expected, basal levels of hsp70 and hsp90alpha mRNA increased significantly throughout development. Basal hsp47, hsp90beta, and hsc70 mRNA levels increased significantly early in development (8 to 22 dpf) and stabilized later in development. RWF embryos upregulated hsp47 and hsp70 mRNA levels in response to HS as early as 8 and 22 days post fertilization (dpf), respectively. The HSR differed in an age-specific manner throughout embryogenesis. A better understanding of the impact of thermal fluctuations which can arise from thermal effluents or climate change on key life history stages of a sensitive cold water species may aid in predicting and mediating anthropogenic influences on these and other near shore spawning fishes.

Author / Presenter: Joseph Tetreault
Affiliation: EcoMetrix Incorporated
Student: No

Session: Thermal Discharges – Research and Regulations
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

The primary focus of monitoring and assessment of industrial discharges to surface waters is typically associated with chemical constituents. However, in some instances, thermal releases associated with these discharges can have significant effects on resident and/or migratory biota. The Ontario Provincial Water Quality objective for temperature is such that the temperature at the edge of the mixing zone must have a ÄT of less than 10°C compared to background. This presentation outlines a multi-season field based thermal plume delineation in the Welland Canal that utilized interpolation to determine the ÄT at the edge of the mixing zone for the purpose of supporting an ECA amendment application. The potential implications of thermal loadings to surface water systems are discussed.

Author / Presenter: Tamara Darwish
Affiliation: Golder Associates Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Thermal Discharges – Research and Regulations
Date: Wednesday 04 October 2017
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

The first edition of Canadian Standards Association N288.9 Guidance for Design of Fish Impingement and Entrainment Programs at Class I Nuclear Facilities will be finalized in 2018. This Guidance is part of the CSA N288 Suite of standards on Environmental Management for nuclear facilities. This standard provides guidance for the design and implementation of fish impingement and entrainment monitoring and assessment programs at Class I Nuclear Facilities, but may also be used by any facilities (i.e., nuclear facilities that are not Class I, or non-nuclear facilities) with high water use, or species at risk concerns. The primary objective of an impingement and entrainment monitoring and assessment program is to quantify fish impingement and entrainment. Compliance with the Guidance will assist facilities in assessing effects of water use on fisheries by incorporating best practices from Canada and internationally. This presentation describes the Canadian Standards Association process for developing the guidance, and the key elements of the guidance. Key elements included are guidance on sampling design, data collection, and data analysis for both impingement and entrainment.