Selenium dynamics in Canadian Rocky Mountain lakes

  • Author / Creator
    Fortin, Barbra Linda
  • I investigated, water, invertebrates and fishes from lakes in Banff National Park and Kananaskis Country, Alberta for selenium (Se), an element known to be toxic to vertebrates. At some depths, Se concentrations in sediment exceeded recognized thresholds for bird and fish reproductive impairment. Se concentrations in water were over USEPA guidelines after spring melt runoff. In aquatic invertebrates, Se concentrations exceeded values known to cause reproductive impairment in fish and bird predators. Se concentrations in all fish species exceeded known thresholds for reproductive impairment in avian consumers and the majority surpassed concentrations that would negatively affect wildlife and human consumers. Se concentrations in some fish species have significantly increased over the past 6-16 years. The strongest predictors of fish Se concentrations were growth rate, condition factor, age, weight, trophic position (within lakes) and vegetation type (among lakes). These results suggest that consumption advisories are desirable for several lakes in the Banff and Kananaskis area, and that Se concentrations in fish from other area lakes should be investigated.

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  • Degree
    Master of Science
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