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Oil Sands Environmental Management Bibliography

The Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA)partnered with the Oil Sands Research and Information Network (OSRIN) to create the new Oil Sands Environmental Management Bibliography, which includes documents relevant to the environmental management of oil sands development in Alberta. The majority of the documents focus on the mineable oil sands in the Athabasca deposit, though some documents relate to in-situ developments. This bibliography was last updated in November 2014.

Zoobenthic succession in constructed wetlands of the Fort McMurray oil sands region: Developing a measure of zoobenthic recovery

Year of Publication: 2003

Abstract:
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.

Zoobenthic succession of constructed wetlands in the Fort McMurray, Alberta oil sands region

Year of Publication: 2001

Abstract:
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 muS/cm) or high conductivity (700--2,500 muS/cm) reference wetlands or OSPM-affected wetlands (700--4,000 muS/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. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)Dept. of Biological Sciences. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2003 .L46. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 42-02, page: 0520. Adviser: J. H. Ciborowski. Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2003.

Zooplankton communities and genetic divergence of rotifers in saline and subsaline lakes

Authors Derry, A. M.
Year of Publication: 2001

Abstract:
Although salinity and aquatic biodiversity are inversely related in lake water, the relationship between types of salts and zooplankton communities is poorly understood. Further, there is no information on whether variation in salt concentration contributes to the genetic divergence of zooplankton populations. In my study, lake water dominated by chloride anions had distinct zooplankton communities from those dominated by sulphate/carbonate anions. This distinction likely resulted from the combined effects of contrasting water chemistries and predation regimes. Greater haplotype diversity and genetic divergence was observed among populations of halophilic Brachionus plicatilis than among populations of predominantly freshwater Keratella quadrata rotifers. The most divergent B. plicatilis population was a strain that was most abundant at lower salinities. I provide preliminary evidence for an additional sibling species in the B. plicatilis species complex. This study documents some of the first molecular phylogenetic work conducted on rotifers.

Zooplankton communities are good indicators of potential impacts of Athabasca oil sands operations on downwind boreal lakes

Year of Publication: 2014

Abstract:
We used zooplankton communities as indicators to evaluate the potential influence of acidifying–eutrophying emissions from the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) on 244 downwind lakes in northwest Saskatchewan. The impacts of regional environmental change on zooplankton communities are determined by responses of resident species to altered local environmental conditions as well as changes in composition due to dispersal processes. To test and quantify the relative importance of these individual processes, we conducted ordination analyses, spatial modeling, and variation partitioning. Local environmental factors were the dominant determinants of community structure, including two major environmental gradients susceptible to atmospheric emissions (i.e., acid–base status and productivity). Spatial structuring of these factors induced similar spatial structures in zooplankton distribution across the region. However, disentangling any impacts of the AOSR on these environment–spatial–species relationships from the underlying natural variability was precluded by unavailability of baseline data. Nevertheless, as our findings indicate that dispersal of zooplankton was not strongly limiting across this broad geographic region, zooplankton indicators can be crucial to detect future environmental changes in lakes across northwest Saskatchewan.

δ98MO as a potential tracer to evaluate sources and processes controlling Mo concentrations in natural and process affected water in the Athabasca oil sands region

Year of Publication: 2013

Abstract:
There is concern that the extraction and processing of bitumen from the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) may result in increases in metal loading to aquatic ecosystems through atmospheric deposition, leaking tailings ponds, or mining activities. Tracers capable of identifying sources and or processes controlling the fate and transport of metals are of particular interest. Previous preliminary studies have identified molybdenum concentrations and isotopic ratios as potential tracers of anthropogenic sources of atmospheric sources of Mo. To further investigate the potential use of Mo concentrations and isotopic compositions to identify various sources of Mo in the AOSR we analyzed oil sands tailings process affected waters (OSPW) (e.g. tailings ponds and coarse tailings), Athabasca River water and Quaternary, Cretaceous and Devonian waters in the region for δ98Mo values to identify the range of isotopic labelling present in natural and anthropogenic waters in the area. Mo concentrations are higher in OSPW than in any of the other waters sampled. Differences between the Mo concentration and isotopic labelling in coarse tailings and tailings pond waters suggest that biogeochemical processes (e.g. adsorption, co-precipitation, microbial utilization) are occurring. The δ98Mo values for the three tailings pond waters analyzed were very similar and were 1.5 ‰ lower than the coarse tailings samples, consistent with removal of Mo during formation of iron or manganese oxides or biological processes that favour assimilation of the lighter isotopes of Mo. The Mo concentrations in the Athabasca River at Fort McMurray are lower than those measured downstream of mining operations.

δMo fingerprinting of Athabasca oil sands process affected waters

Year of Publication: 2014

Abstract:
The release of oil sands tailings process affected waters (OSPW) to the natural environment is a concern for both aquatic ecosystems and the health of human receptors in downstream communities. Tracers capable of identifying the transport of OSPW through processes such as atmospheric deposition and release from tailings ponds are critical to quantifying the risk to humans and the environment. In a recent study, it was determined that molybdenum (Mo) concentrations in OSPW were one to two orders of magnitude higher than concentrations in natural waters in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR). The elevated concentrations of Mo in OSPW provide an opportunity for δ98Mo isotopic fingerprinting, which has until recently been a challenge due to the relatively heavy mass of Mo isotopes and low concentrations of Mo in natural waters. In this study, Mo isotope ratios from anthropogenic waters (coarse tailings, tailings ponds and SAGD steam condensate) and natural waters (Athabasca River, Quaternary aquifers, McMurray and Devonian Formations) from the AOSR were analyzed to determine the range of isotopic signatures in the region and assess the suitability of δ98Mo as a tracer. δ98Mo values in coarse tailings and steam condensate were found to be isotopically distinct from natural waters suggesting δ98Mo could serve as a useful tracer for OSPW. However, δ98Mo within tailings pond waters demonstrated a signature similar to natural groundwater from the Quaternary aquifers and McMurray Formation. The difference in δ98Mo values in the coarse tailings at the point of discharge into the pond and the values measured within the pond are consistent with fractionation due to the formation of iron or manganese oxides, or biological processes favouring the assimilation of lighter Mo isotopes.