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Assessment of Diatom Assemblages in Close Proximity to Mining Activities in Nunavik, Northern Quebec (Canada)

1
Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Centre Eau Terre Environnement; 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.
Environments 2019, 6(6), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060074
Received: 14 May 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Microbial Ecotoxicology)
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Abstract

Nunavik (Northern Quebec, Canada) is experiencing a mining boom. While several studies have been conducted in the region in relation to climate change, the effects of mining have received much less attention. In this study, we explored the use of biofilms in natural streams as an indicator of potential stress on living organisms caused by metal contamination from nickel mining activities. More specifically, we assessed diatom assemblages and the presence of teratologies (morphologic abnormalities) as a response to metals in streams located in close proximity to mining sites. Metal concentrations (as well as other cations), anions and pH values varied markedly among stations. Different diatom assemblage structures (four biotypes, i.e., groups of samples with similar diatom species composition) were observed depending on the level and the type of contamination. The frequency of diatom teratologies was higher in metal contaminated sites. The present study lays the foundation for bioassessment of metal contamination in low Arctic streams using diatom-based approaches, and will serve as a point in time reference for future evaluation of ecosystems degradation or recovery in Nunavik. View Full-Text
Keywords: biofilms; bioassessment; diatom assemblages; metal contamination; mining activities; teratologies biofilms; bioassessment; diatom assemblages; metal contamination; mining activities; teratologies
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Lavoie, I.; Morin, S.; Laderriere, V.; Paris, L.-E.; Fortin, C. Assessment of Diatom Assemblages in Close Proximity to Mining Activities in Nunavik, Northern Quebec (Canada). Environments 2019, 6, 74.

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