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ESG News

July 2014:

ESG team studies effects of arsenic from mine tailings site on amphibians

Understanding the movement and biotransformation of arsenic in the natural environment is important for assessing risk to ecological systems, but little research has been done on the arsenic form, or species, in amphibians in the natural environment. Frogs are good indicators of overall environmental quality at freshwater sites because they live in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Frogs are particularly sensitive to dissolved contaminants because of their permeable skin and have been found to accumulate arsenic in both tadpole and adult stages at contaminated sites. While inorganic arsenic is known to be toxic to frogs, frogs appear to be able to develop and survive in waters contaminated with high levels of arsenic. In a study by Dr. Iris Koch and a team of researchers from ESG and the Canadian Light Source (CLS), arsenic speciation and levels in frogs and one toad from a contaminated natural environment, an area of mine tailings left from gold mining activity in Nova Scotia, and from a nearby background site were investigated. The results showed significantly higher concentrations in the animals from the contaminated site. The results, published by Koch and her colleagues in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, contribute to the understanding of arsenic transport and transformation in amphibians in natural environments.

October 2013:

Dr. Kela Weber gives keynote talk at WETPOL 2013, Nantes, France, October 2013

The 5th International Symposium on Wetland Pollutant Dynamics and Control, WETPOL 2013, addressing the latest advances in the field of pollution control and diffusion in natural and constructed wetlands, was held in Nantes, France, in October 2013. Dr. Kela Weber, ESG Director and Director of the Environmental and Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory (www.weberwetlandlab.ca) at the Royal Military College of Canada, gave a keynote address on “The role and characterization of microbial communities in wetlands for water pollution control.