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(P254) Impacts of metal-contaminated forest soils from the Canadian Shield on terrestrial organisms.
Feisthauer, Natalie*,1, Princz, Juliska2, Stephenson, Gladys1, Scroggins, Richard3, 1 ESG International, Inc, Guelph, Ontario, Canada2 University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada3 Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
ABSTRACT- Metal-contaminated forest soils were collected from three sites along two transects located downwind of smelter emissions in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, and in Sudbury, Ontario. Soil samples from Rouyn-Noranda (RN) were collected in June 2001 while soil samples from Sudbury (SUD) were collected in June and October 2001. Site soil concentrations of Ni, Pb, Cu and AS formed a gradient in the three sites along each transect that corresponded to the distance from the emission source. Transect sites were characterized as having high, low and background levels of contamination. Tests with one plant, earthworm, and arthropod (collembola) species were conducted with undiluted site soils, and with highly contaminated soils diluted with the corresponding background site soil. Undiluted RN soils were not acutely toxic to earthworms or collembola, however, plant growth was significantly reduced in the background site soil and the site with high levels of contamination. Adverse effects to all three species were observed from chronic exposure to undiluted RN soils from the control and high contamination sites relative to those from the site with the low contamination. Since RN transect sites did not provide a toxicity gradient, and the interaction between pH, contamination and soil type was ambiguous, further testing was not conducted with these soils. The undiluted SUD soils were not generally acutely toxic to earthworms or collembola, however, background SUD soil collected in October 2001 was acutely toxic to collembola. Adverse effects to earthworm and collembola were observed in chronic tests with the Sudbury soils. Background and highly contaminated SUD site soils collected in October 2001 were chronically toxic to collembola. Plant toxicity was observed following both acute and definitive (longer-term) exposures to the Sudbury site soils. The toxic effects of the SUD soils corresponded to the metal contamination gradient. The applicability of Environment Canada's new terrestrial toxicity methods to forest soils was also assessed via this study. The methods were applied successfully with only minor modifications required to address textural difference unique to forest shield soils.
Key words: soils, metals, earthworms, plants
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