The toxicological effects of the Mount Polley tailings impoundment breach on freshwater amphipods

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Plomp, Raegan D.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : Universtiy of Lethbridge, Department of Biological Sciences
The bioavailability and toxicity of metals to amphipods is influenced by exposure route and co-toxic mechanisms. Metal bioavailability was studied in amphipods at sites affected by the 2014 Mount Polley Mining Corporation tailings impoundment breach. The area around the lake was also subjected to wildfire in 2017. Bioavailability was more correlated with sediment than waterborne metal concentrations with Cu correlating well with distance from the breach. Copper-sediment bioavailability to amphipods in combination with wildfire runoff was studied resulting in non-additive toxicity. Hyalella azteca exposed to Cu-enriched sediment with fire extract (FE) experienced a more-than-additive effect on survival and amphipod whole-body Cu concentration but no significant reduction in growth or acetylcholinesterase activity compared to the Cu-contaminated sediment or FE alone, respectively. The present study highlighted the importance of using biological vectors to assess toxicity, sediment-focused toxicity study following contamination events, and revealed the co-toxic effect of FE and Cu-enriched sediment.
bioaccumulation , freshwater invertebrates , metals , survival , wildfire , Dissertations, Academic