Presentation Abstract

Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world, most of which exists in the form of bitumen in the oil sands of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Plans are underway to increase the export of petroleum products such as diluted bitumen (dilbit) and crude oil to overseas markets, highlighting the potential risk of a spill into the Canadian marine environment. Information on the toxicity of dilbit to key marine species is needed to understand and evaluate risk, and to develop chemical management plans. Little information exists regarding the toxic effects of most petroleum products to intertidal vascular plants. This project seeks to determine the lethal and sublethal toxicity of environmentally relevant concentrations of dilbit to eelgrass (Zostera marina), an intertidal vascular plant species and a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest. Eelgrass was collected from the intertidal zone of an uncontaminated site in the Strait of Georgia, near Boundary Bay, British Columbia. A short-term, 9-d exposure and a long-term 28-d exposure of shoots to multiple concentrations of a water-accommodated fraction (WAF) of dilbit and seawater were performed. Endpoints assessed in shoots from the short-term exposure included: electrolyte leakage, reactive oxygen species (ROS), activity of catalase and superoxide dismutase, and protein oxidation. Shoots from the long-term exposure were assessed for endpoints including: plant growth, chlorophyll-a content, effective quantum yield of Photosystem II. Plant tissue was also assessed for discoloration and infection. Data from both short-term and long-term exposures is currently being analyzed.

Session Title

Seagrass Cross-Border Connections: Stressors and Disturbance

Keywords

Zoestera marina, Dilbit, Eelgrass, PAH

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-329

Start Date

5-4-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 2:15 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 2:00 PM Apr 5th, 2:15 PM

The environmental effects of diluted bitumen on eelgrass (Zostera marina)

Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world, most of which exists in the form of bitumen in the oil sands of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Plans are underway to increase the export of petroleum products such as diluted bitumen (dilbit) and crude oil to overseas markets, highlighting the potential risk of a spill into the Canadian marine environment. Information on the toxicity of dilbit to key marine species is needed to understand and evaluate risk, and to develop chemical management plans. Little information exists regarding the toxic effects of most petroleum products to intertidal vascular plants. This project seeks to determine the lethal and sublethal toxicity of environmentally relevant concentrations of dilbit to eelgrass (Zostera marina), an intertidal vascular plant species and a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest. Eelgrass was collected from the intertidal zone of an uncontaminated site in the Strait of Georgia, near Boundary Bay, British Columbia. A short-term, 9-d exposure and a long-term 28-d exposure of shoots to multiple concentrations of a water-accommodated fraction (WAF) of dilbit and seawater were performed. Endpoints assessed in shoots from the short-term exposure included: electrolyte leakage, reactive oxygen species (ROS), activity of catalase and superoxide dismutase, and protein oxidation. Shoots from the long-term exposure were assessed for endpoints including: plant growth, chlorophyll-a content, effective quantum yield of Photosystem II. Plant tissue was also assessed for discoloration and infection. Data from both short-term and long-term exposures is currently being analyzed.