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Mercury in the Lower Athabasca River and its Watershed

  • Author / Creator
    Radmanovich, Roseanna
  • This study assessed the geographic distribution of mercury in water, and biota of the Athabasca River, and in snow and vegetation in its watershed. Mercury in the snowpack was significantly elevated within 46km of oil sands development relative to greater distances. Mercury was significantly higher in tributaries more disturbed by oil sands development relative to less disturbed watersheds. Mercury in vegetation was elevated near development, but was higher at moderate distances from development, likely due to differences in atmospheric speciation within upgrader plumes compared to speciation within the downwind atmosphere. Mercury concentrations were significantly higher in Walleye, Northern Pike, and Goldeye compared to Lake Whitefish. A large percentage (72-80%) of Northern Pike, Goldeye, and Walleye exceeded the Health Canada fish consumption guideline for frequent consumers. The spatial distribution of mercury within the Athabasca River and its watershed indicates oil sands development is a significant source of mercury within the region.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2013-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3WQ52
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Specialization
    • Ecology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Schindler, David
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • St. Louis, Vincent (Biological Sciences)
    • Spence, John (Renewable Resources)