Detailed Poster Abstract Schedule

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Tuesday 27 September 2016 – Salon 12 – 17:00 – 18:30

Author / Presenter: Alper James Alcaraz
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Emerging chemical contaminants (ECC) are ubiquitous in the environment, and have become of increasing toxicological concern to humans and wildlife. ECCs include pharmaceuticals and personal care products, brominated flame retardants, and nanomaterials, among others, which are commonly discharged into surface waters through municipal wastewater and other sources as a result of human activities. However, little is known about the toxicological significance of most ECCs in the aquatic environment. Particularly, little is known about the effects of ECCs to fishes that are of commercial, cultural, and recreational relevance (CRA species) to North America and that are at risk of exposure with ECCs. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the responses and the underlying mechanisms of the exposure to ECCs of three CRA species including lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Specifically, the objectives of this study are to (1) characterize critical molecular toxicity initiating events (MIEs) associated with each ECC; (2) assess the conservation of gene expression signatures across fish species; and (3) construct ECC-induced molecular toxicity pathways, and anchor these to apical outcomes. Fishes at early life stages will be exposed to three representative ECCs, namely nanosilver (AgNP), 17?-ethinylestradiol (EE2), or fluoxetine (Prozac). Whole transcriptomic and proteomic coupled with receptor-binding, cellular and biochemical assays will be used to characterize critical toxicity pathways. Finally, mechanistic information from molecular toxicity pathways will be linked with apical responses across higher tier biological organizations. Linking results from open omics analyses with effects at higher levels of biological organization aims to identify and establish relevant biomarkers for environmental risk assessment.

Author / Presenter: Sarah Alderman
Affiliation: University of Guelph
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Diluted bitumen (dilbit), the crude oil product of oil sands extraction, is transported across North America by rail and pipeline. In British Columbia, proposals to expand dilbit transport to the Pacific coastline raise concerns of the ecological impacts of spilled dilbit, particularly in the aquatic environment. Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) are a culturally and economically important species at risk of dilbit exposure if these pipeline proposals are realized, but little is known about the specific toxicity of dilbit to fish, or the sensitivity of sockeye to the contaminants in dilbit. Developing fish are particularly sensitive to contaminants in crude oil, but the latent effects in the brain are not well understood. In the present study, sockeye salmon were exposed throughout early development (fertilization to swim-up) to four concentrations of the water-soluble fraction of dilbit (initial total PAH concentrations were 0, 13.7, 34.7 and 124.5 µg/L). At the end of the exposure period, alevin cyp1a mRNA levels were significantly elevated in all treatments relative to controls, confirming PAH bioactivity during the exposure. Phenotypically normal alevins were then transferred to clean water and raised for 9 months. While there were no differences in mass, length, or condition factor of juvenile salmon after 9 months, significant differences in regional brain volumes were apparent. Specifically, the olfactory bulbs, telencephalon, optic tectum, and cerebellum were all larger in fish exposed to 13.7 µg/L TPAH relative to controls. While the mechanisms of this response are not known, endocrine disruption during critical periods of neural development is a prime hypothesis. This study shows that fish exposed to low, environmentally relevant levels of the soluble-fraction of dilbit can have long-term effects on brain morphology. This is important for understanding the impact of dilbit contamination in salmon habitats. Supported by the National Contaminants Advisory Group of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Author / Presenter: Kristin Bianchini
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Avian species exhibit up to 1000-fold differences in sensitivity to dioxins and dioxin-like compounds (DLCs). These sensitivity differences are directly related to the identity of two amino acids within the ligand-binding domain of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor 1 (AhR1 LBD). Surprisingly, amino acid expression within the AhR1 LBD of avian species does not appear to be explained by phylogenetic relatedness alone, suggesting factors other than phylogeny may better predict avian sensitivity to DLCs. We built on previous existing datasets of AhR1 LBD amino acid sequences by collating diverse information indicative of the biological and ecological traits of 89 (largely North American) bird species spanning 41 families. Boosted regression tree (BRT) analysis was used to determine which variables were most important in predicting species sensitivity (measured as the 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p¬-dioxin half maximal effective concentration; TCDD EC50). We controlled for potential phylogenetic non-independence by including phylogenetic eigenvectors as covariates. 74% of the variance in DLC sensitivity was explained by 67 variables, and five trait-related variables explained over half of the model deviance: duration of incubation period (22.1%), habitat associations (20.6%), duration of fledging period (9.3%), testes mass (8.1%), and migration route (6.6%). Species with a faster developmental rate, higher sexual selection, that use terrestrial habitats and with inland migration routes or non-migratory strategies show greater sensitivity to DLCs. By comparison, phylogenetic relatedness was a weak predictor of sensitivity (e.g. phylogenetic coordinate 4: 7.9%). This study is the first to reveal that life history and ecological traits correlate well with a commonly used toxicological measurement across a broad range of avian species. This presents an important alternative method to traditional single-species toxicity testing that will improve our prediction and management of contaminant risk to birds.

Author / Presenter: Andrea Farwell Che Lu
Affiliation: University of Waterloo
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

In 1987, the provincial Municipal-Industrial Strategy for Abatement (MISA) under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act was established to reduce contaminants entering Ontario waters via discharge of industrial wastewater. From 1988 to 1993, initial monitoring that consisted of a comprehensive list of chemical and physical parameters as well as acute toxicity to Rainbow trout and Daphnia magna was established for 9 industrial sectors. Following a review of the initial monitoring data and on the basis of reduction of toxicity and Best Available Technology Economically Achievable (BATEA), the Effluent Monitoring and Effluent Limits (EMEL) regulations were promulgated. Since the establishment of EMEL regulations, no thorough review of the monitoring data has been conducted. The objective of this study is to analyze available toxicity test results and associated water quality measurements to assess the effectiveness of the EMEL regulations in reducing toxicity to standard test species. Rainbow trout and Daphnia magna toxicity tests results from 1995 to 2015 were provided for 9 sectors (electric power generation, industrial minerals, inorganic chemicals, iron and steel manufacturing, metal casting, metal mining, organic chemical manufacturing, petroleum refineries, and pulp and paper). All toxicity tests results were reported as “pass“ and “fail“. A ?fail? under the EMEL monitoring regulations indicates that over 50% of the test animals died in the 100% (undiluted) effluent sample being tested. For each toxicity test, results were compiled by sector, company (numerical code only) and year. Over 36, 000 results for Rainbow Trout and Daphnia magna toxicity tests were reviewed and analyzed. A total of 203 companies within 9 sectors were identified; 75-100 % of the companies reported toxicity test results. The total number of test results varied by sector with less than 200 toxicity test results for metal casting and greater than 10, 000 toxicity test results for pulp and paper. Approximately 30% to 90% of the companies reported one or more “fails“, totalling over 1500. Lethal toxicity test “fails“ will be correlated with available water chemistry monitoring data to assess the effectiveness of these monitoring components of the EMEL regulations.

Author / Presenter: Tariq Francis
Affiliation: Health Canada
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

A Canadian regulatory framework has been developed specifically for active ingredients in human and veterinary drugs regulated by the Food and Drugs Act (F&DA) to assess risks to the environment and to human health resulting from environmental exposure. This regulatory framework has been designed to harmonize with the drug approval process stipulated by the F&DA and its regulations. Health Canada developed this framework in collaboration with stakeholders including Environment and Climate Change Canada, industry and environmental non-government organizations. The framework was endorsed in principle by all stakeholders in 2011. Since then, the proposed regulatory framework has been revised to increase alignment with environmental assessment approaches in other jurisdictions and to incorporate recent technical developments related to the environmental assessment of active ingredients in human and veterinary drugs. Highlights include a proposal to adopt VICH guidelines 6 and 38 for environmental assessment of active ingredients in veterinary drugs, and updates to screening level exposure assessments such as new Canada specific defaults for predicting environmental concentrations of veterinary drugs in soils. The proposed changes will be the subject of an upcoming stakeholder consultation. The purpose of this poster is to present the revised regulatory framework being proposed and generate feedback on the updates.

Author / Presenter: Chris Kennedy
Affiliation: Simon Fraser University
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Canadian pipeline companies have proposed a number of major new transmission pipelines that will transport diluted bitumen (D-bit) from the oil sands in northern Alberta to the coast of BC for processing and for export to overseas markets. In BC, the routes of existing and proposed pipelines traverse the Fraser River Watershed, spawning habitat for multiple species of Pacific salmon species. Similarly in eastern Canada, the proposed route of the TransCanada pipeline to St Johns, NB traverses the St. Lawrence River as well as some 100 other Atlantic salmon bearing rivers and watersheds. Leaks and ruptures to these pipelines will pose serious challenges to aquatic biota including salmon. The effects of a waterborne exposure to the dissolved fraction of D-bit on various aspects of sockeye early life stage physiology and behaviour were examined. Exposure of sockeye at the swim up and fry stage resulted in concentration-dependent increases in oxygen consumption. No significant increases in oxygen consumption over baseline values occurred in yolk sac fry at any concentration indicating that later stage salmon may be experiencing a stress response and increased energetic costs associated with exposure. Sockeye fry continuously exposed to 4 concentrations of D-bit were fed ad libitum 3 times per day; D-bit exposure caused juveniles at two higher treatment groups to gain significantly less mass than control fish. Fry and juveniles not exposed to D-bit were acclimated in a shuttle box apparatus and tested in a choice/avoidance assay to D-bit. Fish actively avoided bitumen, however this avoidance was stricly size-dependent with a higher proportion of larger fish actively avoiding D-bit. Fry exposed to 4 concentrations of the DF of D-bit for either 0, 24 h, 4 d or 28 d were then acclimated in a shuttle box apparatus for a choice/avoidance assay to determine their ability to detect food. Unexposed fish responded to food extract, however longer exposures to higher concentrations of D-bit resulted in the loss of attraction to food. These results show that exposure of sockeye salmon early life stages results in several different sublethal toxicities, possibly reflecting a generalized stress response, as well as consituent-specific toxic mechanisms of action. These results will aid in the development of risk assessment plans for managing salmon populations in the event of potential pipeline failures.

Author / Presenter: Chris Kennedy
Affiliation: Simon Fraser University
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Canada produces hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of bitumen per day, mostly from oil sands in northern Alberta. In BC, existing and proposed pipelines are to carry diluted bitumen (D-bit) for transfer to ships destined for overseas markets, highlighting the potential risk of a spill of D-bit into the marine environment. Few studies exist on the toxicity of D-bit alone or in combination with common dispersants to any marine organisms. Successful reproduction in teleosts depends on a complex and highly regulated interplay between the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of naturally circulating sex steroids. Increasing evidence shows that environmental chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) can impact the endocrine systems of vertebrates, mimicking or obstructing endocrine function and affecting normal biological function in a wide-ranging manner. The effects of a waterborne exposure to the dissolved fraction of diluted bitumen alone or in conjunction with the dispersant Corexit® 9500A on the kinetics of circulating levels of estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T) in mature male and female kelp greenling (Hexagrammos decagrammus) in pre-spawning and spawning condition were investigated. Plasma E2 and T concentrations were reduced significantly in both male and female greenling exposed to water containing bitumen or the bitumen/dispersant mixture, however, there were no significant effects due to the dispersant alone. As well as examining the effects of bitumen exposure on the early stages of spawning, the final stages were also examined through the administration of the GnRH analogue des-Gly10[D-Ala6]LH-RH-ethylamide (which artificially promotes oocyte development). GnRH induced spawning steroid profiles as increased plasma E2 concentrations in control females, but not in bitumen-exposed fish. Detailed measurements of the time course of injected E2 and excretion into the bile followed by pharmacokinetic modeling techniques were used to aid in identifying the potential mechanism of ED caused by bitumen exposure. The mechanism underlying reductions in sex steroids in pre-spawning and spawning salmonids appears to be unrelated to the induction of P450 (significantly induced in bitumen-exposed fish) and related biotransformation enzymes by bitumen. Induced biotransformation enzyme activities did not result in altered [3H]estradiol pharmacokinetics (e.g. terminal half-life) or total elimination of steroid in bile, suggesting that components of bitumen alter plasma E2 and T concentrations by other endocrine disrupting mechanisms in an anti-estrogenic manner. This research highlights the potential reproductive effects that components of D-bit may have on marine teleosts at low ug/L concentrations that would occur following a spill into the marine environment.

Author / Presenter: Chris Kennedy
Affiliation: Simon Fraser University
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Existing and proposed pipelines are to carry diluted bitumen (D-bit) from the Alberta oil sands for transfer to ships destined for overseas markets, highlighting the potential risk of a spill of D-bit into the marine environment. Few studies exist on the toxicity of D-bit alone or in combination with dispersants to any marine organisms. When kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) fronds were exposed to several concentrations of the dissolved fraction of D-bit, no effects on fertilization or the germination of kelp zygotes were seen, however, D-bit exposure reduced growth significantly in a concentration-dependent manner. Adult spot prawns (Pandalus platyceros) that were not exposed to D-bit or dispersed D-bit were acclimated in a shuttle box apparatus in a choice/avoidance assay. Prawns were actively attracted to the dissolved fraction of D-bit at low concentrations but as concentrations increased, attraction declined. At all dilutions, prawns actively avoided dispersed D-bit. Pink salmon swim up fry in freshwater and 3 g fry in seawater that were not exposed to D-bit were acclimated in a shuttle box apparatus, in a choice/avoidance assay. Pink salmon swim up fry in freshwater did not actively avoid D-bit at any concentration. Larger fish avoided D-bit in seawater at concentrations as low as 40 µg/L. Pink swimup fry and larger fry in seawater all actively avoided dispersed D-bit at most dilutions. Pink salmon fry were exposed to the dissolved fraction of D-bit and dispersed D-bit under various levels of hypoxia. The dissolved fraction of D-bit alone was not acutely toxic to pink salmon in seawater, however, dispersed D-bit resulted in mortality at higher concentrations. Hypoxia in conjunction with either D-bit alone, or dispersed D-bit increased the toxicity of both of these mixtures in pink salmon. This research highlights the potential reproductive effects that components of D-bit may have on marine teleosts at low ug/L concentrations that would occur following a spill into the marine environment.

Author / Presenter: Sara Klapstein
Affiliation: Memorial University of Newfoundland
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Methylmercury (MeHg) toxicity is of particular interest in remote Canadian environments, far from point sources of contamination, where high levels of MeHg are accumulating in top predators. The ecosystem variables that control this sensitivity of food webs are not well known. MeHg concentration in water and uptake into the base of the food web is one key factor controlling mercury entry into food webs. Few studies have directly considered photodemethylation reactions in combination with physical attributes of aquatic ecosystems to predict where and when dissolved MeHg may be available. To address this research gap we have used numerous controlled and semi-controlled experiments that focused primarily on the quantification of the relationships between solar radiation exposures, dissolved organic matter (DOM), and MeHg within six freshwater lake systems in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site in southwestern Nova Scotia. To better quantify the photodemethylation potential within these lakes we must determine a) the behaviour of photoreactive compounds and b) the availability of solar radiation with depth in water columns. Experimental treatments were 1-week long in summer and fall and were exposed to natural solar radiation over that time period. Photodemethylation rates were strongly controlled by DOM concentration (R2=0.76) and were inversely related to rates of DOM phototransformation, which include photomineralization (r=-0.66) and photobleaching (r=-0.83). Using these experimental outcomes coupled with field measurements of solar radiation availability within lake water columns, we have developed a model for predicting photodemethylation potential and efficiency within the top 1 m3 in oligotrophic dystrophic temperate lakes. These predictive results were then scaled up and used to calculate the overall photodemethylation potential in each of our six study lakes for comparison with MeHg concentrations in the corresponding food webs. This model may be appropriate for other aquatic ecosystems by simple standardization techniques depending on water quality characteristics such as DOM photoreactivity (structure), pH, and dissolved ionic species. Overall, this body of work yielded a method for predicting mercury availability to food webs depending on environmental and physicochemical factors. Climate change in temperate and boreal regions of Atlantic Canada is projected to increase rainfall amounts and occurrences and thus lead to browning of freshwaters and further inhibition to the photodemethylation pathway of MeHg reduction.

Author / Presenter: Taylor Lane
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Selenium (Se) is a developmental toxicant of increasing concern because it can be released into the aquatic environment in significant amounts from natural and industrial processes. Inorganic Se released into surface water is biotransformed and bioaccumulated by microorganisms and algae as selenomethionine (SeM). SeM is then transferred via dietary means to higher trophic levels and bioconcentrates in aquatic invertebrates and fish. Early life-stages of fish are highly sensitive to SeM exposure and are primarily exposed via maternal transfer. Developmental deformities (e.g. spinal curvature, craniofacial, edema) might occur as a result of embryo exposure to maternally transferred SeM. However, maternal transfer is difficult to study in native species of concern in Canadian ecosystems, especially for those species that are long-lived or endangered. This study will be the first step in developing an embryo injection model to help interpret maternal transfer of SeM. The fathead minnow was selected as a model organism based on its vast distribution throughout North America and extensive use in previous regulatory testing and research. Fathead minnow embryos will be injected with graded concentrations of SeM (5 15, or 45 ?g Se/g d.m – embryo) and developmental endpoints will be compared with those from a parallel maternal transfer study. Establishing an embryo injection model for predicting toxicity of SeM through maternal transfer will make testing a broader range of species more feasible. Future research using this model will aim to determine Se sensitivity in early life stages for native species of concern (e.g. white sturgeon and rainbow trout).

Author / Presenter: Analisa Lazaro-Côté
Affiliation: University of Calgary
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Analisa Lazaro-Côté, Leland J. Jackson, Mathilakath M. Vijayan Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada Municipal wastewater effluent (MWWE) discharged to aquatic ecosystems contains nutrients, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) that are not completely eliminated during wastewater treatment processes. As the human population grows and ages, the occurrence of PPCPs in MWWE-impacted waterways is expected to increase. This is concerning because these compounds are biologically active at low concentrations, can generate synergistic effects when present in mixtures, and their effect(s) on non-target organisms remain poorly understood. Studies in natural systems provide a means to validate the use of biomarkers of contaminant exposure and effects, which are a useful tool to identify sub-lethal exposure consequences of current and emerging contaminants. Previous studies with fish have demonstrated that chronic exposure to MWWE compromises their adaptive response to a secondary acute stressor by disrupting the functioning of the hypothalamus-pituitary-interrenal axis. In this study, longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae), which are native to the Bow River, were collected upstream and downstream of two wastewater treatment plants. These small-bodied fish are excellent sentinels because they are abundant, have small home ranges, and therefore reflect the state of their local environment. The results highlight the use of molecular and phenotypic endpoints related to the cortisol stress response to investigate possible stress-related impacts of MWWE on fish in the Bow River. Acquiring baseline knowledge of the impact of MWWE on native fish species will help identify current challenges with safe wastewater discharge, validate new biomarkers of contaminant exposure, and help maintain healthy ecosystems and biodiversity of our waterways. This study was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Strategic Grant to Mathilakath M. Vijayan, and by the Alberta Conservation Association through the ACA Grant in Biodiversity to Analisa Lazaro-Côté.

Author / Presenter: Justin Lo
Affiliation: Simon Fraser University
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

A chemical’s potential to biaccumulate in the biota is an important factor to consider when assessing its ability to cause harm in organisms. As a result, bioaccumulation is a fundamental criteria in chemical classification schemes under international and national environmental programs (UNEP, CEPA 1999, US TSCA, EU REACH). Under these regulatory programs, the OECD 305 bioconcentration factor (BCF) fish test is the preferred assay to evaluate for the bioaccumulative potential of chemicals in the environment. However, these assays are costly (over $125,000 per chemical), require the use of many animals, are difficult to complete, and therefore very few BCF data exists. Conversely, the less-costly octanol-water partitioning (KOW) test can provide a modest understanding for the bioaccumulative behavior of chemicals without the use of animals, but does not account for an organism’s ability to eliminate a chemical through biotransformation. With no information on biotransformation, this presents a large data gap in bioaccumulation assessments based on octanol-water partitioning and a tendency towards type II errors, i.e. where chemicals are determined as bioaccumulative when they are not. Consequently, there are global objectives to develop new test methods for improving bioaccumulation assessments that are cost-effective, time efficient, while also using less animals in testing. In vitro biotransformation tests, in combination with in vitro-in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE), KOW and bioaccumulation modelling is one initiative to meet these large-scale objectives. This presentation details a method to extrapolate in vitro biotransformation data to in vivo. A total of 4 metabolizable test chemicals – pyrene, 9-methyl anthracene, chrysene, and benzo[a]pyrene – were evaluated both in vitro (Lo et al. 2015a), and in vivo (Lo et al. 2015b, Lo et al. 2016) to determine somatic biotransformation rate constants. The comparison of predicted an observed in vivo biotransformation rate constants allows us to assess the performance of the IVIVE method summarized in this study. The overall goal of the study is to improve on the bioaccumulation assessments of commercial chemicals.

Author / Presenter: Cecilia Lougheed Presenters Cecilia Lougheed and Cory Dubetz
Affiliation: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

As a science-based federal government department, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) requires scientific evidence to facilitate the sound management of Canada’s fisheries, and to advance sustainable aquatic ecosystems while fostering economic prosperity across maritime sectors and fisheries. The National Contaminants Advisory Group (NCAG) provides scientific information and advice to DFO on priority issues related to the biological effects of contaminants on aquatic ecosystems. The main functions of the group are to facilitate research projects through external researchers, to synthesize results and to develop science advice in support of DFO decision-making. Current priority research themes are: (1) oil and gas, (2) pesticides, (3) aquaculture therapeutants, and (4) contaminants and issues of emerging concern. The NCAG has funded a variety of multiyear research projects at Canadian universities and non-for profit research institutions. A summary of the ongoing research projects and their highlights is presented.

Author / Presenter: Maire Luoma
Affiliation: Stantec Consulting Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Some Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) studies have included algae sampling as part of assessing nutrient enrichment effects of pulp mill effluents. River systems, such as the Saskatchewan River, with a low gradient profile, deep water and soft (silt and mud) substrates can be a challenge to sample for epipsammic algae (attached to grains of sand). These algae can be a major food source for deposit benthic invertebrate feeders such as snails, clams and aquatic worms used to assess pulp mill effects. This study developed an alternative method of collecting algae samples in this type of habitat compared to available sampling methods in the literature. Epipsammic algae were sampled at reference and exposure (near-field and far-field) area sites with respect to the pulp mill effluent. Initial sampling was attempted with a sediment corer generally used for sampling epipsammic algae, which proved to be unsuccessful due to the consistency of the sediment. In collecting Ekman grabs for sediment samples, it was discovered that with care a sample of sediment could be obtained and brought to the surface with the sediment surface layer intact. An area of the sediment surface was delineated by a template which was pressed down into the sediment to a depth of 2 – 3 mm. The sediment within the template area was then removed by sliding a plastic square along the surface to remove the sediment sitting above the template and placed into sample containers. The algae results obtained using this method of collection were successfully analyzed for trends in algal growth between reference and exposure area sites for chlorophyll a, density, biomass and community composition of major groups.

Author / Presenter: Sonya Pollock
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Many studies have investigated contaminant levels in roadside soils and vegetation for their potential effects on wildlife populations, but few similar investigations have occurred for railways. This is surprising because railway environments are known to contain pollutants and are also known to attract wildlife. This attraction stems from spillage of agricultural products, which leak from hopper cars, as well as from palatable vegetation, such as dandelions and other photophilic plant species that thrive in disturbed areas. Both sources of food can provide important supplements to wildlife populations in the vicinity of railways, however, these rail-associated foods potentially contain high levels of pollutants. Rail-associated pollutants are relevant to wildlife conservation, especially when they occur in protected areas and involve threatened populations. Both contexts apply to grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Banff National Park, which are known to forage extensively along the rail and to consume both spilled grain and rail side vegetation. Although studies have addressed the attraction to rail-based foods as a potential contributor to bear-train collisions, the consequences of consuming the forage itself has been largely overlooked. We examined three kinds of pollutants that potentially occur in rail side plants and / or train-spilled grain; heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and mycotoxins. We collected grain and dandelion samples at four locations along the Canadian Pacific Railway in Banff National Park and grizzly bear hair from 10 individuals that were captured for another study. Our preliminary results reveal large effect sizes for grain and dandelion contaminant samples when compared to controls, and that train-spilled grain harbours comparatively elevated levels of contaminants. For example, the average sum of 16 PAHs in train-spilled grain was over 800 times the average sum for dandelions. Conversely, mycotoxin samples were largely below detection limit. Analyses of bear hair demonstrated large variation in metal concentrations between individuals, with males having overall higher levels of exposure than female bears. Our results suggest that rail-based food resources may pose a health risk for bears and other wildlife that forage along railways.

Author / Presenter: Bethany Reinhart
Affiliation: University of New Brunswick Saint John
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Although methylmercury (MeHg) can be higher in freshwater than estuarine or marine sediments, it is not known whether MeHg in biota also follows this trend. The objective of this research was to determine if MeHg concentrations in fish and invertebrates decrease along increasing salinity gradients in estuaries, and whether salinity can be used as a predictor of MeHg in these animals. Ten fourspine stickleback (Apeltes quadracus) as well as snails and amphipods were collected from each of ten sites along the Saint John River estuary from August to October, 2015. Total mercury (THg; used as a proxy for MeHg) was measured in whole stickleback and MeHg was measured in pooled invertebrates. Their stable sulfur (?34S), carbon (? 13C) (measures of food sources) and nitrogen isotope values (? 15N) (measure of trophic position) were also determined as these help predict variability in MeHg and THg in animals. Generalized linear models were used to determine which factors (salinity, DO and mean length and stable isotope values) predict THg in stickleback and which factors (salinity, DO and stable isotope values) predict MeHg in snails and amphipods. Salinity and DO of the sites ranged from 0.1 ppt to 11.1 ppt and from 737 to 1221 mg/L, respectively. Concentrations of THg in stickleback were 0.02 to 0.92 µg/g wet weight (ww) across sites, and males had significantly lower THg than females (p<0.001). MeHg ranged from 0.03 to 0.11 µg/g ww in amphipods and from 0.03 to 0.09 µg/g ww in snails across sites. For stickleback, mean THg was best predicted by mean length, ? 15N, DO and ?13C. MeHg in both amphipods and snails were significantly predicted by ?15N. Although several factors affect the accumulation of MeHg in the tissues of fish and macroinvertebrates, these preliminary results do not suggest salinity was a main influence. Additional field work at these sites is planned for 2016.

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

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

An increasing number of studies have shown, with certainty, that current wastewater treatment processes and technologies fail to remove many chemical compounds we use in our everyday lives. Numerous studies have also shown that some of these compounds affect, among others, endocrine function and can cause dramatic changes in the biological communities of receiving ecosystems. Development of advanced wastewater treatment technologies has closely followed this realization and new technologies are more effective at removing these compounds. Increasing pressure on water resources, with water re-use becoming a real need in many places around the world makes progress in this field ever more important. Evaluation of the biological effects of these compounds on receiving ecosystems, however, remains limited by difficulties associated with field studies, such as lack of true replication and difficulty selecting reference conditions (even in up-stream downstream designs), which limits our understanding of the true biological/ecological effects of these compounds in aquatic communities. These limitations become even greater when attempting to assess and compare differential effects, typically in single systems, from effluents of new wastewater treatment technologies. Now, the 12, 320 m artificial streams of the Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA) facility (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) provide a unique platform to answer these questions. Here we present results of biofilm growth in streams that were divided into 4 treatment groups (n=3) representing a negative reference treatment (14 L s-1 of adjacent Bow River water) or one of 3 exposure treatments where Bow River water received a 5 % (v/v) influx of either final effluent (positive reference) from the Pine Creek Wastewater treatment plant (where ACWA is embedded), or the same volume of this effluent after treatment via in-line advanced oxidation or reverse osmosis. Structural (biomass, chlorophyll-a and algal community composition) and functional (community respiration, gross primary production, transformation of organic phosphorus and photosynthetic efficiency) endpoints were assessed in the biofilm communities of the streams to evaluate the effect of the positive reference treatment (Pine Creek final effluent) and whether dosing with effluent from advanced treatment technologies led to any observable changes.

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

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Shotgun proteomics can be used to assess the health of animals, to determine protein biomarkers that are specific to environmental exposures, and also to characterize unique mechanisms of action of contaminants. As part of a larger wild fish health assessment for the Athabasca River under the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Program, we successfully developed and applied shotgun proteomics to generate protein profiles from plasma of mature male white sucker taken from three sites along the main stem of the Athabasca River in 2011. The study sites were located within the oil sand deposit including a site downstream of Fort McMurray but above the oil sands operations, and two sites downstream of the oil sands extraction facilities. On average, 376 ± 96 proteins were identified in plasma from each location. Gene names corresponding to those identified proteins were analyzed using interactive pathway software (Ingenuity Systems, Inc.) to determine their core functions and to compare the datasets by location, year, and sex. There were 478 proteins identified in plasma from fish across all sampling locations that were related to immunological functions. The following parasites were enumerated in the same fish samples: Diplostomum spp. (eye fluke), Ichthyocotylurus sp. (fluke), Phyllodistomum sp. (bladder fluke), Dactylogyrus sp. (gill flukes), and Polyopisthocotylea gen. sp. (flatworm). Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) was performed on the parasite counts for each species and the count of proteins related to various immunological functions. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed on the relative expression (total intensity counts) of each protein related to immune functioning for all individuals. Both of the multivariate approaches revealed strong differences (based upon protein expression, function, and parasite counts) among the three sampling locations.

Author / Presenter: Gerald Tetreault
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Substituted diphenylamine antioxidants (SDPAs) and benzotriazole UV stabilizers (BZT-UVs), previously under reported classes of organic contaminants, were determined in sediment, water, and freshwater biota in an urban creek in Canada. SDPAs and BZT-UVs were frequently detected in all matrices including upstream of the urban area in a rural agricultural/woodlot region, suggesting a ubiquitous presence and bioaccumulation of these emerging contaminants. Spatial comparisons were characterized by higher levels of SDPAs downstream compared with the upstream, implying a possible influence of the urban activities on the antioxidant contamination in the sampling area. In sediment, 4,4′-bis(á,á-dimethylbenzyl)-diphenylamine (diAMS), dioctyl-diphenylamine (C8C8), and dinonyl-diphenylamine (C9C9) were the most dominant congeners of SDPAs, with concentrations up to 191 ng/g (dry weight, d.w.). Benthic invertebrates (crayfish (Orcoescties spp.)) had larger body burdens of SDPAs and BZT-UVs compared to pelagic fish (hornyhead chub (Nocomis biguttatus) and common shiner (Luxilus cornutus)) in the creek and partitioning coefficients demonstrated that sediment was the major reservoir of these contaminants. This is the first report of bioaccumulation and partitioning behaviors of SDPAs and BZT-UVs in freshwater environments.

Author / Presenter: Chanel Yeung
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are aquatic contaminants often originating from anthropogenic sources. Naphthalene (NAP) and pyrene (PYR) are important petrogenic PAHs that are not as well studied as the prototypical PAH, benzo-a-pyrene (BaP). We hypothesized that acute exposure (48-hours) to NAP and PYR will cause sublethal cardiorespiratory and metabolic impairment similar to that observed in previous studies after acute BaP exposure in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio), but by different mechanisms. To investigate this hypothesis, adult zebrafish were aqueously exposed to PAHs (NAP, 0, 3.7, 370, and 3700 µg/L; PYR, 0.025, 2.5 and 25 µg/L) using static renewal (24h) and compared to dimethysulfoxide controls. No mortalities were observed in any treatment group. At 48h, fish (n=16 fish/group) were subjected to high frequency cardiac ultrasound. The ratio of the atrial contractile rate to ventricular rate (AV ratio) and stroke volume (SV) increased in both NAP- and PYR-exposed fish. This higher AV ratio is indicative of an atrioventricular conduction block similar to that observed with BaP in previous studies. However, while the atrial contraction rate for PYR was unchanged compared to control, NAP atrial rate was higher, likely representing an increased adrenergic tone on the heart. In addition, after NAP exposure, a large increase in end diastolic volume (EDV) was noted, but with a lower ejection fraction, indicating some impairment in ventricular contractility despite higher preload mediating great cardiac filling. The higher EDV observed with NAP, but not PYR, may be related to gill irritation and whole body edema observed with NAP. The acute effects of NAP and PYR on swimming endurance and metabolic rates will be examined and compared to tissue specific alterations in gene expression to help elucidate differences in adverse outcome pathways. In conclusion, acute aqueous PYR exposure resembles other AhR agonists, while NAP has additional cardiorespiratory toxic effects that make it a greater potential concern for acute sublethal toxicity in adult fish.

Author / Presenter: Yueyang Zhang Greg Goss
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: Yes

Session: Tuesday Poster
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Location: Salon 12

Abstract:

Most current nanotoxicological studies have been focusing on only a few key model species, such as zebrafish, goldfish and trout. However, the knowledge of the impact of NPs on other aquatic system is very limited. Cardinal tetras are a common aquarium freshwater fish found the Rio Negro in the Brazilian Amazon. The Rio Negro has extremely low ion concentrations (~10 ?M Ca2 ), low pH (~pH <4.5), high natural organic matter (>10 mg/L) and high intensity sunlight, (>2400 W/cm2 UVA daily) giving optimal conditions for CeO2 toxicity. CeO2 nanoparticles are a known additive for diesel fuel and diesel generation is the main source of power in these remote regions. The current study investigates the combined effects of natural organic matters (NOM), CeO2 NPs and sunlight on the responses of cardinal tetras. CeO2 NPs were tested at 0.5, 1, 2 and 5 mg/L with or without UV-light. Expression of genes related to phase I and II biotransformation enzymes and reactive oxygen species generation and biochemical assays of ion transport and oxidative stress were measured to investigate if sunlight-mediated exacerbation of effects occurs.