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TitleZoobenthic succession in constructed wetlands of the Fort McMurray oil sands region: Developing a measure of zoobenthic recovery
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsLeonhardt, C. L.
Pagination258 pages
PublisherUniversity of Windsor Department of Biological Sciences
Place PublishedWindsor, ON
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsbenthic community, ecology, wetlands

This study investigated the effect of oil sands process material (OSPM) on the zoobenthic community of constructed wetlands in the Fort McMurray oil sands region. The unique characteristics of OSPM-affected wetlands may modify the successional trajectory of invertebrate communities compared to that of high or low-conductivity reference wetlands.

The zoobenthic community of 31 wetlands, aged 0 to 30 years, was simultaneously sampled, allowing inference into the chronological sequence of change that results with wetland succession. Wetlands were categorised a priori into one of three classes: low conductivity (<700 μS/cm) or high conductivity (700-2,500 μS/cm) reference wetlands or OSPM-affected wetlands (700-4,000 μS/cm) containing tailings and/or water from bitumen extraction. Invertebrate communities in each wetland were assessed using core, artificial substrate, and sweep net sampling methods.

Principal components analysis and discriminant function analysis were used to classify each OSPM-affected wetland as being "equivalent to young" or "equivalent to mature" reference wetlands.

Restoration of mined areas to pre-mining conditions of diversity and abundance of habitat types, using wetlands as a component of a reclamation strategy, is a viable option.

Locational Keywords

Fort McMurray

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