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TitleRelationships between lake water chemistry and benthic macroinvertebrates in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsParsons, B. G., Watmough S. A., Dillon P. J., & Somers K. M.
Pagination7 pages
PublisherJournal of Limnology
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsacidity, alkalinity, chemistry, invertebrates, lake, pH, sulphur and SO2

Sulphur and nitrogen emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) are a threat to regional lentic ecosystems. Benthic macroinvertebrates have been used successfully elsewhere to monitor the impacts of acid emissions on water bodies and the opportunity exists to implement a regional lentic biomonitoring program in the AOSR. Metrics are often used to assess the impacts of anthropogenic stressors because they describe biological conditions through a variety of measures. The selection of appropriate metrics is an integral component of any biomonitoring program and it depends on the in situ relationships between water chemistry and benthic macroinvertebrates. In order to establish these relationships we compared lake water chemistry parameters with benthic macroinvertebrate communities and metric scores from 32 lakes in the AOSR through Redundancy Analyses. Lake acidity correlates positively with Hyallelidae and negatively with Chironomidae and Oligochaeta while dissolved organic carbon is also an important determinant of benthic macroinvertebrate community composition. A number of metrics were strongly correlated with lake acidity and the following compositional metrics proved to be the most suitable for monitoring acidification in the AOSR: % Diptera, % Oligochaeta, % EPT, Total Ephemeroptera and Total Trichoptera.

Locational Keywords

Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR)

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