PW15 Environmental Toxicology, Environmental Assessment
Exhibit Hall
8:00 AM - Wednesday

(PW245) Ecological risk assessment of metal contamination: ecological significance of exposure parameters and effects measurements.

Parent, L.1, Martel, L.2, Olsen, C.3, Masson, S.4, Campbell, P.G.C.4, Hare, L.4, Pinel-alloul, B.5, Méthot, G.5, Hontela, A.6, Couillard, Y.6, 1 Télé-université, Université du Québec, Montréal, Québec, Canada2 Centre d'expertise en analyse environnementale du Québec, Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada3 COREM, Québec, Québec, Canada4 INRS-ETE, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada5 Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada6 UQAM, Montréal, Québec, Canada

ABSTRACT- In this project we have developed and tested various tools for the ecotoxicological evaluation of metal contamination in running waters. A suite of measurements was carried out on two rivers in north-western Quebec that receive inputs from mining operations. These measurements included: total dissolved and free metal ion concentrations (in situ dialysis; equilibrium ion-exchange), sediment metal concentrations, metal bio-accumulation and metallothionein induction in indigenous biomonitor organisms at different trophic levels, larval population dynamics of the mayfly Hexagenia limbata, descriptors of the benthic invertebrate communities, as well as toxicity tests in the laboratory. In this presentation we compare these various exposure and effects measurements and consider their usefulness in the context of ecological risk assessment for metals. Variables are considered singly, and in various categories (limnological or water quality variables; geochemical or contamination variables; biological variables). A theoretical evaluation of their ecological significance is carried out on a weight-of-evidence basis (quality and reliability of data; extent and strength of causal relationships between the exposure data and effects; site-specificity, stressor-specificity, sensitivity). The goal is to examine the type of information that can be generated by the use of these various tools and to evaluate how they enable us to answer various questions of an ecotoxicological nature.

Key words: Metals contamination, Ecological risk assessment, Ecological significance, Mining operations

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