SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
11 August 2016
Volume 17 Issue 8

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Regional Spotlight: Prairie Northern Chapter’s 7th Annual Meeting – Wastewaters! Many Pipes, Many Solutions

Derek Green, Student Representative, Prairie Northern Chapter Board, and Kevin White, SETAC NASAC Representative, Prairie Northern Chapter Board

Jonathan Challis

The 7th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the SETAC North America Prairie Northern Chapter (PNC) was hosted from 16–17 June by the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. The conference was themed “Wastewaters! Many Pipes, Many Solutions.” Proceedings began on 16 June with a short course, “Experimental Design: How to Not Waste Your Time,” presented by Francis Zvomuya. More than 50 attendees obtained valuable statistics-oriented insights into experimental design, with a focus on ensuring the most appropriate experimental structure for their intended statistics and approaches to describe their data.

After a brief evening break, the conference continued with the second annual Tox on Tap (ToT) at PNC. This year, ToT was pleased to present Karen Kidd, who spoke to a packed house about scientific communication and overcoming the difficulties inherent in relating scientific findings to end users and the general public. Kidd’s talk was followed by a lively questions and answers session that drew on her expertise as well as the expertise of attendees. The evening ultimately transitioned from the structured ToT into a casual opportunity for people to network, socialize and discuss the future of our field in Canada.

The conference oficially kicked off the next morning, 17 June, with more than 100 attendees being inspired by our plenary speakers, Michael Rennie of Lakehead University, Karen Kidd of the University of New Brunswick, and Lee Jackson from the University of Calgary. They provided insight, respectively, into:

  • Microplastic Pollution in Inland Waters
  • Male Fishes and Estrogens in Municipal Wastewaters: What Do We Know and Where Should We Go?
  • Creating Local Wastewater Solutions That are Applicable to Global Problems

In addition to the plenary speakers, platform presentations from Universities of Lethbridge, Manitoba, Regina, Saskatchewan and Trent covered a wide range of environmental toxicology issues concerning amphibians, fish, phytoplankton and zooplankton. Following the platform presentations, a wine-and-cheese poster social was held to highlight the current research of an additional 24 students from across the region. During the social, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in the annual silent auction.

The conference closed with a banquet hosted by Clay Oven at Winnipeg’s Shaw Park. The evening featured perfect summer weather while conference-goers were treated to an exceptional East Indian/Hakkan buffet, which they enjoyed while taking in a ball game on the balcony overlooking the park. The buffet was followed by the announcement of prizes for the top student platform and poster presentations, which were awarded as follows:


  • First: Jonathan Challis, University of Manitoba – Development, Calibration, and Modeling of an Organic-DGT Passive Sampler for a Diverse Suite of Polar Organic Contaminants in Aquatic Systems
  • Second: Alistair Brown, University of Manitoba – Quantification of Human Pharmaceutical Conjugates in Municipal Wastewaters
  • Third: Lawrence D’Silva, University of Saskatchewan – Identifying Physicochemical Mechanisms Affecting Internal Phosphorous Loading in Buffalo Pound Lake, SK, Using Sediment Fractionation Extractions and in situ Water Chemistry
  • Third: Sara Hanson, University of Saskatchewan – Reproductive Health Assessment of Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) Populations Inhabiting an Effluent-dominated Stream, Wascana Creek, SK
  • Third: Jody Heerema, University of Lethbridge – Effects of Thyroid Hormones and Thyroid Hormone Disruptors on Olfaction in North American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) Tadpoles


  • First: Esteban Gillio-Meina, University of Saskatchewan – Exploring the Mechanistic Influence of Water Chemistry on Vanadium Toxicity to Daphnia spp.
  • Second: Zachary Currie, University of Saskatchewan – Investigating the Phototoxicity of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and a Petroleum-based Lubricating Oil in Larval Amphibians
  • Third: Chanel Yeung, University of Saskatchewan – Methods Used to Analyze the Cardiorespiratory and Metabolic Effects of Acute Naphthalene and Pyrene Exposure in Adult Zebrafish
  • Third: Connor Pettem, University of Saskatchewan – Metabolic and Cardiovascular Effects of Dietary Selenomethionine Exposure in Adult Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
  • Third: Chelsea Lobson, University of Manitoba – Aquatic Insects as a Mechanism of Dispersal for Antibiotic Resistance Genes in the Environment

The conference was made possible through the support of numerous sponsors, including the University of Manitoba Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources; Stantec; Syngenta; the University of Winnipeg, Department of Chemistry; and many others.

The organizing committee, led by PNC President Mark Hanson, included graduate students from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources, with administrative assistance from the University of Saskatchewan’s Toxicology Centre.

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who attended and made this conference a success, as well as all of our presentation judges and volunteers, without whom this meeting would not have been possible.

Planning is already underway for our 8th annual meeting, which will be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. We hope to see you there in June 2017!

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