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Environments 2018, 5(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5020030

Freshwater Diatoms as Indicators of Combined Long-Term Mining and Urban Stressors in Junction Creek (Ontario, Canada)

1
Centre Eau Terre Environnement, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, 490 rue de la Couronne, Québec, QC G1K 9A9, Canada
2
Irstea, UR EABX, 50 avenue de Verdun, 33612 Cestas cedex, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 21 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Toxicology of Trace Metals)
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Abstract

Sudbury (Ontario, Canada) has a long mining history that has left the region with a distinctive legacy of environmental impacts. Several actions have been undertaken since the 1970s to rehabilitate this deteriorated environment, in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Despite a marked increase in environmental health, we show that the Junction Creek system remains under multiple stressors from present and past mining operations, and from urban-related pressures such as municipal wastewater treatment plants, golf courses and stormwater runoff. Water samples have elevated metal concentrations, with values reaching up to 1 mg·L−1 Ni, 40 μg·L−1 Zn, and 0.5 μg·L−1 Cd. The responses of diatoms to stressors were observed at the assemblage level (metal tolerant species, nutrient-loving species), and at the individual level through the presence of teratologies (abnormal diatom frustules). The cumulative criterion unit (CCU) approach was used as a proxy for metal toxicity to aquatic life and suggested elevated potential for toxicity at certain sites. Diatom teratologies were significantly less frequent at sites with CCU values <1, suggesting “background” metal concentrations as compared to sites with higher CCU values. The highest percentages of teratologies were observed at sites presenting multiple types of environmental pressures. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomonitoring; cumulative criterion units; diatoms; metals; mines; multi-stress; streams; nutrients; teratologies; urban stressors biomonitoring; cumulative criterion units; diatoms; metals; mines; multi-stress; streams; nutrients; teratologies; urban stressors
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lavoie, I.; Morin, S.; Laderriere, V.; Fortin, C. Freshwater Diatoms as Indicators of Combined Long-Term Mining and Urban Stressors in Junction Creek (Ontario, Canada). Environments 2018, 5, 30.

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