Guest seminar by Dr. Michael R. van den Heuvel January 12, 2016

All are welsome to the guest seminar on Tuesday, January 12 @ 10AM in the UNB Biology Common Room (B27). The title of his presentation is “Linking land-use, stressor loads, and biological integrity in Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence estuaries”. This seminar is part of the process for an appointment as Adjunct Professor within our department. Dr. Michael R. van den Heuvel's application is available for review in the Biology office.

Linking land-use, stressor loads, and biological integrity in Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence estuaries

Michael R. van den Heuvel
Director, Canadian Rivers Institute
University of Prince Edward Island, Department of Biology, and Biomedical Sciences, Atlantic Veterinary College

Estuaries in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence are under threat from nutrients, sediments and contaminants originating on land. As part of a watershed consortium, we sought to examine what the best monitoring endpoints were for estuary biological integrity. To establish cumulative impacts assessment frameworks that environmental managers can utilize requires monitoring of both the stressor, and the response variables and developing quantitative relationships between them. Nitrogen measurements and models revealed that the majority of nitrogen originates from potato farming on Prince Edward Island. Sediment, monitored using turbidity also shows a strong relationship to agriculture and fuzzy logic models show promise for evaluating sediment load across PEI. Biological response variables examined include oxygen, chlorophyll, eelgrass, and invertebrates. Continual oxygen monitoring using optical oxygen probes shows a clear relationship between anoxia and nutrient loading. Evaluation of eelgrass physiology and distribution suggests that in estuaries, measures of distribution using sonar may provide the best estimate of the plants response to stress. Invertebrate communities also clearly respond to the oxygen gradients in estuaries, but are able to quickly recolonize after anoxic events. At a minimum, it is recommended that oxygen, sediment, and eelgrass monitoring be implemented in a regional monitoring plan.