ATW 2014 Session Topics
We have had an incredible response from the ATW community, and now boast a Scientific Program as long as winter on the East Coast. Be sure to note sessions that challenge the “A” out of its alphabetical dominance, and check out wildlife, amphibian, soil and sediment sessions. Put the “W” back in ATW by participating in or attending one of the interactive sessions planned for this year. Or discover who is pushing the research and regulatory frontiers with sessions on adverse outcome pathways, Omics, nanotox and critical effect sizes.
The following session topics reflect the ATW 2014 Theme: Evolving Science In Changing Times.
Click on a session title below to see the session description or click here to download all the session decriptions.
Platform / Poster Session Topics:
- Assessing Wildlife Ecotoxicology
Assessing Wildlife Ecotoxicology
Co-chairs: Vince Palace (Stantec), Judit Smits (University of Calgary)
As a discipline, toxicology relies on a range of studies from controlled and descriptive tests that quantify toxicity from single contaminants to sweeping epidemiological studies. The latter tests explore relationships between exposure and biological effects under complex exposure regimes. Toxicological investigations in wildlife provide an important bridge within this range, serving as models for contaminant stress and integrative sentinels of ecosystem health and resilience. The session is intended to provide broad coverage of wildlife vertebrate models, as well as a range of contaminant classes, focusing on mechanistic links between contaminant exposure and fitness in wildlife. A second priority will to showcase developments in non-lethal methods of studying toxicological responses in wildlife that reduce the need for lethal sampling.
- Sediment and Soil Toxicity Method Development and their Application
Sediment and Soil Toxicity Method Development and their Application
Co-chairs: Gladys Stephenson (Stantec), Rick Scroggins (Environment Canada)
This session is soliciting oral and poster presentations on the development, validation and/or standardization of new biological testing methods for the measurement of toxicity or bioavailability of contaminants in sediment or soil. In addition to testing with whole organisms, presentations will cover new or improved methodologies that measure subtle effects at the cellular level using genomic techniques, physiological and biochemical effects measured through the use of biomarker techniques or whole-organism effects in single-species exposures. Presentations are also being sought that will demonstrate how these new methodologies can be applied in measuring the effects of individual substances or contaminant mixtures in sediment and surface soils. Presentations will be solicited from practitioners who manage research studies or monitoring/remediation programs that demonstrate how these methodologies can be applied in measuring and remediating the effects and fate of contaminants in environmental media.
- Amphibian Models for Ecotoxicological Research and Regulatory Applications
Amphibian Models for Ecotoxicological Research and Regulatory Applications
Co-chairs: Valerie Langlois (Royal Military College), Vance Trudeau (University of Ottawa)
There is currently an increase in the use of amphibians in ecotoxicology research and potential regulatory applications. The unique lifecycle of amphibians, enable toxicologists to address different questions pertaining to the effects of environmental stressors (salinity, chemicals, UV) on mortality, developmental and metamorphosis delays, malformations, etc. Furthermore, recent technological advances have led to the development of tools whereby fundamental molecular responses at the transcriptional, proteomic and metabolomic levels can be linked to phenotypic changes induced by environmental contaminants. Platform and poster contributions in amphibian biology, teratogenicity, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, bioaccumulation, adverse outcome pathways, and regulatory toxicology are welcome.
- Northern Development: Simple Systems, Complex Challenges
Northern Development: Simple Systems, Complex Challenges
Co-chairs: Anne Wilson (Environment Canada), Hilary Machtans (Golder)
Northern Canada has been the focus of exploration and mineral development for diamonds, precious metals, and base metals over the past two decades, as well as limited linear and hydro developments. Further projects are being permitted in the NWT and Nunavut, in remote settings which are pristine and typically oligotrophic. The food webs, water quality, nutrient cycling in northern lakes – these are simple on the surface. But the challenges are numerous – intermittent effluent due to northern winters, effluent composed of both toxicants and nutrients, baseline data gaps across a large landscape scale, and influences associated with extremes of climate. This session invites papers on issues associated with Northern data collection and research, with a focus on what we have learned from two decades of monitoring, and ongoing research on current aquatic toxicity and monitoring issues.
- Metal Mining
Co-chairs: Rick Meyers (Mining Association of Canada), Paul LePage (Minnow Environmental)
In recent decades the mining industry has worked towards enhancing its environmental performance in response to increased public awareness. Developing science and technology applications, modern corporate codes of practice, and advancing regulatory requirements, have motivated operations to consider innovative approaches to reduce or mitigate the effects and assess the toxicological responses of biota to mine-related contaminants in receiving waters and surrounding ecosystems. This session is intended to provide a cross-sectional overview of novel scientific and field applications that have been used to develop a better understanding of the complex biological impacts resulting from exposure to mine effluent, learned through case studies from operating mines, environmental effects monitoring and investigations of cause. The session will also consider proposed changes to federal mining effluent regulations and their implications for future environmental management.
- Fate and Effects of Pulp and Paper Mill Effluents
Fate and Effects of Pulp and Paper Mill Effluents
Co-chairs: Pierre Martel (FP Innovations), Andrew Waye (University of Ottawa)
This session invites presentations that will contribute to advancements in the understanding of the chemical and ecotoxicological characterization of pulp and paper mill effluents through field and laboratory studies. The scope of studies can range from chemical characterizations and fate of specific constituents to the assessment of sublethal effects on growth, reproduction and biochemical parameters of aquatic organisms exposed in the water column and sediments. The results of environmental effects monitoring (EEM) studies that have reached conclusions as to causes and solutions for effects on benthos or fish are also invited to be presented in this session.
- Chemical and Biological Effects of Data Poor Metals and Metal Mixtures
Chemical and Biological Effects of Data Poor Metals and Metal Mixtures
Chair: Jim McGeer (Wilfrid Laurier University)
While we have a reasonable level of knowledge on many of the metals and metalloids of ecological concern, there is a poor understanding on the fate and impact of numerous other metals in the periodic table. Earth and platinum group are examples of data poor metals of increasing concern. Furthermore, most of the information that is available for metals is based on single element exposure while in the real world, metal contamination exists as mixtures of multiple contaminants (e.g. in mine effluents). This session provides a much needed platform to share current work directed at addressing important data gaps in the assessment of metals, namely metal mixtures and the so-called data poor metals. Information on geochemistry, speciation, bioavailability, uptake, accumulation and impact will contribute towards reducing the uncertainty in assessing the hazards and risks associated with exposure. The session will also provide a venue for discussion of future needs in these developing fields of research.
- Municipal Wastewater Effluent Impacts and Remediation
Municipal Wastewater Effluent Impacts and Remediation
Co-chairs: Mark Servos (University of Waterloo), Gerald Tetreault (Environment Canada)
Municipal wastewater represents one of the largest sources of effluents and contaminants entering the Canadian environment. Many facilities are upgrading their infrastructure to meet the requirements of new regulations and to enhance the protection of the receiving environments. This session will address the current status of research on assessing and monitoring effluents and their potential impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Themes to be addressed include emerging technologies and approaches for assessing the exposure and impacts of municipal wastewater effluents on biological systems across multiple levels of biological organization (molecular, tissue, individual, populations and assemblages), and examination of the level/type of treatment required to mitigate biological responses in the receiving environment.
- Industrial Effluents
Co-chairs: Dave Poirier (Ontario Ministry of the Environment), Kim Mahon (Ontario Ministry of the Environment)
Pulp and paper, metal mining, oil sands: all the “usual suspects” are at ATW, but Canada’s industrial base is ever changing. How are other industries regulated within Canada, how is their impact measured and described, and what pollution abatement strategies are being investigated and utilized?
This session explores the history of environmental regulations across Canada (federal, provincial/territorial), outlining the role of aquatic toxicology in environmental protection. We are seeking a balanced perspective from industry and regulatory partners to show just how much we can (and have) accomplish when working towards a “greater good”. How far have we come, and where are we going?
ATW’s home to industrial oddballs, this session will be a place where birds of a different feather can talk together.
- Nanotoxicology: Molecular Mechanisms to Ecosystem Impacts
Nanotoxicology: Molecular Mechanisms to Ecosystem Impacts
Co-chairs: Greg Goss (University of Alberta), Tyson MacCormack (Mount Allison University)
Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) straddle the boundary between the atomic and molecular scale and because of this, they exhibit unique physical, chemical, and electronic properties. Unfortunately, these same characteristics also make it difficult to predict the toxicity of novel ENMs based on available information for conventional materials. ENMs are now found in thousands of consumer products and there is a growing need to characterize their potential risks to the aquatic environment. This symposium provides a multidisciplinary platform for researchers to present and discuss their work on the impact of ENMs on aquatic organisms and mechanisms of ENM toxicity.
- Unconventional Oil and Gas
Unconventional Oil and Gas
Chair: Karsten Liber (University of Saskatchewan)
Unconventional oil and gas are resources produced or extracted from the earth using techniques other than the conventional oil and gas well methods. Primarily they include oil sands, oil shales, other heavy oil, gas to liquid (GTL), tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane. While conventional oil and gas is easier to extract and cheaper to produce, unconventional oil and gas extraction has been rapidly increasing in prominence in recent years, both in Canada and globally, as conventional supplies have become more scarce. Unconventional oil and gas are thus been seen as a key component of the world’s future energy supply, but there have been increasing concerns with the environmental impact of such industries. This session will explore assessment, impact and reclamation issues, both challenges and successes, related to the unconventional oil and gas sector, as well as current, proposed or needed environmental regulations pertaining to such industries.
- Risk Assessment and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Risk Assessment and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Co-chairs: Charlene Burnett-Seidel (Cameco), Barb Dowsley (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission), Malcolm McKee (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission)
This session encourages participation from regulators, industry, consultants and academia who are involved in various aspects of assessing, managing and monitoring the environment near nuclear facilities and uranium mines and mills. Presentations may include topics such as the framework for regulating environmental and human health protection, derivation of site-specific environmental guidelines, assessment of radiological dose to non-human biota, results of environmental monitoring programs and assessment of proposed, operating and legacy nuclear facilities, waste management facilities and uranium mines and mills.
- Adverse Outcome Pathways: Linking Toxicity-Related Molecular and Cellular Responses with Physiology and Ecology
Adverse Outcome Pathways: Linking Toxicity-Related Molecular and Cellular Responses with Physiology and Ecology
Co-chairs: Chris Kennedy (Simon Fraser University), David Janz (University of Saskatchewan)
Aquatic environments offer and sustain diverse habitats for a variety of organisms, but also attract an ever-increasing level of anthropogenic activity, often resulting in contaminant exposure and toxic effects. These effects can be examined at all levels of biological organization, from the molecular to the ecosystem level. Understanding mechanisms of action are vital for determining cause-effect relationships, understanding basic biological function, and in more applied purposes such as biomarker development and risk assessment.
This proposed symposium will provide a popular, yet recently under-represented, multidisciplinary platform for researchers to present and discuss their work on the mechanisms underlying toxicological impairment and links to individual organism fitness and populations of aquatic organisms.
Rationale: In the last decade, there has been an apparent lack of symposia and presentations which highlight basic aquatic toxicology with mechanistic or physiological underpinnings at the ATW. Those researchers whose work is perhaps not directly applicable to such areas as risk assessment or specific industry-related topics have found it difficult to find symposia to communicate their work. Research into the mechanism fundamentals are central to environmental toxicology and should be represented at ATW.
- Predictive Ecotoxicology: Development and Validation of New Tools to Characterize and Prioritize Chemical Hazards Across Fish and Wildlife
Predictive Ecotoxicology: Development and Validation of New Tools to Characterize and Prioritize Chemical Hazards Across Fish and Wildlife
Co-chairs: Nil Basu (McGill University), Adeline Arini (McGill University), Theresa Johnston (McGill University)
Thousands of chemical hazards may be found in aquatic ecosystems and tools to assess their risks are sorely lacking. The conventional risk assessment paradigm relies heavily upon animal testing, which is largely descriptive, time consuming, and costly. The U.S. National Research Council (NRC) in their document entitled “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy” has recognized these limitations and recommended a bold new move towards the development and implementation of high-throughput and/or in vitro assays to assess how chemical compounds disrupt cellular functions and ultimately organismal health. The move is expected to deliver tools that enable quicker, cheaper, and more nimble assessments of chemical risk, and ultimately lead to improve risk assessments and decision-making. Here, the aim of the session is to bring together scholars working in this area to share their ideas and experiences in the development and utility of predictive ecotoxicological tools. Topics may include, for example, computational models, engineered biosentinels, and in vitro assays. Presenters should indicate how their tool could be used to characterize and prioritize chemical hazards, minimize the use of animals, be predictive, extrapolate across species, and function across diverse aquatic ecosystems. In addition, the pros and cons of the tool should be discussed, as well as its potential usefulness in risk assessment and decision-making.
- Omics Science in Support of Effects Based Monitoring
Omics Science in Support of Effects Based Monitoring
Co-chairs: Nina Simmons (University of Waterloo and Environment Canada), Jim Sherry (Environment Canada)
Omics informally refers to the study of genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. Omics science attempts to integrate global responses within an organism from genotype to phenotype, which is also known as the field of integrative biology. The idea is that if a chemical affects a gene, it’s transcription, or the protein product; there will also be changes to the proteome, metabolome, or both. When applied to effects-based monitoring, Omics approaches could provide an integrated perspective which connects whole-organism or even population-level responses to specific physiological changes which may have occurred due to environmental exposure.
Modern approaches to Omics make use of highly innovative technologies and bioinformatic software. Specifically, next-generation sequencing, PCR, and microarrays can detect changes to an organism’s genome and transcriptome. Separation methods such as chromatography and electrophoresis paired with NMR and mass spectrometry can be used to detect changes to the metabolome and proteome. The advantage of modern Omics approaches is that one can assess hundreds to thousands of physiological changes within an organism at once, allowing for a holistic understanding of the organism’s physiological status. A disadvantage, however, is that there is an incredibly large amount of data that requires new statistical analyses and investigative approach. Bioinformatics software attempts to address these issues by integrating biological function and interactive networks within large datasets.
Session Premise and Format:
This session will begin with oral presentations from people who are using Omics approaches to evaluate and understand the effects of environmental exposures which occur in the aquatic environment. Presenters would be encouraged to share their results from method development, laboratory assays and field collections so that they highlight the potential use for Omics science in support of effects based monitoring. Following those presentations, there will be an open panel discussion lead by the session chair(s) which will focus on the various challenges Omics science must overcome to effectively be aligned with Effects Based Monitoring Programs.
- Developing Critical Effect Sizes as Triggers for Long Term Monitoring Programs
Developing Critical Effect Sizes as Triggers for Long Term Monitoring Programs
Co-chairs: Kelly Munkittrick (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance [COSIA]), Mark McMaster (Environment Canada)
The specification of a critical effect size (CES) has been argued to be one of the most crucial aspects of environmental monitoring programs, although in practice, CESs were historically rarely used to guide ecological experiments or environmental management decisions. Regional cumulative effects assessments are increasingly relying on standardized decisions beyond statistical significance to adapt and interpret the results from long term environmental monitoring programs. No clear guidelines exist on how to (or who should) determine how large an effect is unacceptable, and this determination can vary with the design, purpose, and regulatory basis for a monitoring program. This session will invite papers from across Canada to compare recent approaches to developing critical effects sizes and triggers to guide environmental management decisions.
- Moving Beyond Toxicity and Use Protection in Water Quality Management
Moving Beyond Toxicity and Use Protection in Water Quality Management
Chair: Neil Hutchinson (Hutchinson Environmental Sciences)
Aquatic toxicologists have spent the past 40 years developing and refining techniques for the assessment of the toxicity of pollutants to aquatic life. Water quality management policy has evolved in the same manner, as most jurisdictions set water quality objectives for the protection of specific water uses. The “Protection of Aquatic Life” use dominates the theme at ATW.
More recently, water management frameworks, especially those in Northern Canada (i.e. Mackenzie Valley) and land claims agreements (Tlicho, Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Article 20) have enshrined the right to waters that are `substantially unaltered` in quality and quantity, and can require compensation if waters are substantially altered. By contrast, “water quality” is always identified as a “valued component” in the environmental assessment process, but most practitioners do not attempt to attach significance to predictions of change – instead, alterations in water quality are used as input to a risk assessment on the implications of the changes to fish. Water quality is not, therefore, addressed in its own right. The need to address water quality in its own right, and the definition of substantial alteration both incorporate technical and philosophical challenges in the move beyond “use protection” in water quality management.
The workshop will begin with a summary of the history and challenges by Dr. Hutchinson and series of 3-5 minute approaches to the subject presented by invited participants. We will then challenge all participants to work together to define and describe means to address water quality as a stand alone value.
- Advances in Aquatic Toxicology
Advances in Aquatic Toxicology
Co-chairs: Janet Cermak (Environment Canada), Janice Boyd (Environment Canada)
Chemical threats continue to be a concern to aquatic environments. This session will explore both old and emerging contaminants and their impact on aquatic systems, as well as progress in the field of aquatic toxicology regarding new in vivo, in vitro, in situ and in silico methodologies and approaches being developed. Come join us with your new techniques, research findings, risk assessment results, biomonitoring results, or other exciting news in the field of aquatic toxicology.
Interactive Poster Session Topic:
- Behavioral Analysis in Toxicology Research and as Biological Early Warning Systems (BEWS) for Environmental Monitoring
Behavioral Analysis in Toxicology Research and as Biological Early Warning Systems (BEWS) for Environmental Monitoring
Chair: Steven D Melvin (CQUniversity Australia)
Behavioral endpoints have been used for decades as tools for assessing whole-organism responsiveness to environmental contaminants, but have been applied to a much lesser extent than established methods directly assessing animal survival, health and fitness. This is partly because traditional whole-animal toxicity tests provide results that are more clearly connected to organism health and fitness, but also relates to an absence of tools available for quantifying behavioral patterns in aquatic animals. However, a range of tools and methodologies now exist for this purpose, and the potential for behavioral endpoints to provide rapid, sensitive and ecologically relevant indications of whole-animal responsiveness to environmental contamination is clear.
This session will explore and highlight cases of toxicity-induced changes to animal behaviors, ranging from simple effects on activity levels and losses of tactile responsiveness to more complex examples such as disrupted social interactions, altered feeding and mating behaviors, and predatory avoidance. Descriptions of simple methodologies and observations are welcome, as well as case studies involving state-of-the-art behavioral analysis tools and their applicability as Biological Early Warning Systems (BEWS) for environmental monitoring.
Late Poster Submissions
We still have space available for poster presentations. Please indicate which session you are interested in, and contact Sherri Macleod (Sherri.Macleod@ec.gc.ca) with your request. Sooner is better than later, as space is limited.
Click here to view instructions on preparing a platform presentation.
Click here to view instructions on preparing a poster or an interactive poster presentation.
If you require further information regarding these sessions, please contact any one of our Scientific Program committee members:
- Leana Van der Vliet (Leana.Vandervliet@ec.gc.ca)
- Yamini Gopalapillai (email@example.com)
- Sherri MacLeod (Sherri.MacLeod@ec.gc.ca)
- Carrie Rickwood (Carrie.Rickwood@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca)
Travel justification letter for ATW 2014.