Field work photos from the Attawapiskat
(Photo credit: Nicole Novodvorsky, Theme 1, Project 1.3.a, Laurentian University)
Aquatic Biomonitoring in the Ring of Fire
Vanessa Bourne, Vale Living with Lakes Centre, Laurentian University
The Ring of Fire in the Far North of Ontario is considered to be one of the most promising mineral development opportunities in Ontario in almost a century. Covering an area of about 5,000 km² in two Ecozones, recent estimates suggest that the Ring of Fire holds significant potential production of nickel, copper and platinum as well as potential for world-class multi-generational production of chromite.
To monitor the potential environmental impacts of future mining on this near pristine area we are collecting baseline stream data of aquatic organisms and water chemistry before the mine is developed. My project focuses on understanding how conditions of our sites naturally vary seasonally and between ecozones. Understand this will allow us to compare pre-mining conditions to post-mining conditions, which in the future will be pivotal to grasping how the Ring of Fire development is impacting the surrounding aquatic environment.
Wishin’ I was Dishin’
Matthew Heerschap, Vale Living with Lakes Centre, Laurentian University
Fish consumption guidelines have been developed to help resource users and their families avoid exposure to toxins that may be present in fish caught in Ontario waterbodies. Currently, these guides do not incorporate the nutritional benefits of eating wild fish. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are an essential part of a healthy diet and have been linked to many health benefits such as lower rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, consuming wild fish has been shown to act as a pathway for toxins such as mercury and other trace metals to enter your body. Therefore we will be testing for both mercury and other trace metal concentrations as well as for the essential fatty acid composition of food fishes caught in 11 coastal rivers in order to add further definition to the current fish consumption guidelines. As well, my project will generate a significant amount of baseline data for these largely unstudied coastal riverine systems ahead of any major development in Ontario’s far north.
Peatland Biology: Plant response to simulated wastewater nutrient amendments
Amanda Lavallee, Co-operative Freshwater Ecology Unit, Laurentian University
The Hudson Bay Lowlands is Canada’s largest wetland body and one of the densest accumulations of peat in the world. Sphagnum mosses are the key peat-generating plants allowing for important ecosystem services such as carbon storage and water polishing. The Hudson Bay Lowland is a location for current and proposed industrial mining development projects, and its peatlands may become increasingly used to treat tertiary wastewater from mining camps.
My research is focused on understanding shifts in Sphagnum productivity, decomposition rates, and nutrient ratios that are associated with the addition of simulated wastewater to a subarctic string fen. This experimental research aids in understanding to what degree plants mediate shifts in ecosystem dynamics within subarctic string fens.
“Reexamining the Forest”
Ira Sutherland, MSc candidate on CNAES Project III.6. This research is co-supervised by Dr. Sarah Gergel, University of British Columbia and Dr. Elena Bennett, McGill University. Guest appearance by Alex Yeung, PhD candidate on CNAES Project 2.2, UBC.
One-Minute Science Video
Nicole Novodvorsky, MSc candidate at Laurentian University, CNAES Project 1.3
Gretchen Lescord, PhD candidate at Laurentian University, CNAES Project 1.5
Maitane Erdozain, PhD candidate at University of New Brunswick, CNAES Project 2.2
Alex Yeung, PhD candidate at University of British Columbia, CNAES Project 2.2
Kristin Daoust, MSc candidate at University of Guelph, CNAES Project 2.1
Stephanie Tomscha, PhD candidate at University of British Columbia, Project 2.3
Karl Lamothe, PhD candidate at University of Toronto, Project 3.4
Ira Sutherland, MSc candidate at McGill University, Project 3.6