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TitleMicrofossil Biomonitors of Reclamation Success
AuthorMcCarthy, F M G; Gamer, C; Neville, L A
SourceProceedings of AGU-CGU-GAC-MAC, Joint Assembly, 2015; 2015 p. 200
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20150268
MeetingAGU-GAC-MAC-CGU Joint Assembly; Montreal; CA; May 3-7, 2015
File formatpdf
Subjectsfossil fuels; Nature and Environment; microfossils; reclamation; recovery methods; phosphorus; algae; Suncor Experimental Wetlands; reclamation studies; protozoans; reclamation strategy
ProgramTools for environmental impacts and adaptation for metal mining, Environmental Geoscience
AbstractMicrofossils record various types of anthropogenic impact, from siltation and eutrophication associated with indigenous people to the increase in toxic chemicals associated with urbanization and industrialization. In addition to documenting anthropogenic impact, microfossils can be used to assess the success of mitigation and reclamation studies. The fossil remains of organic-walled algae (e.g., dinoflagellate cysts and desmids) record much more hospitable conditions in a Sustainable Lake South (Pond 15 in the Suncor Experimental Wetlands) than in the adjacent Sustainable Lake North (Pond 14). Similarly, the testate amoeba (thecamoebian) fauna in Pond 15 is more diverse, whereas Pond 14 contains almost exclusively hardy centropyxid taxa. This is attributed to the amendment of Pond 15 by nutrients, notably phosphorus, which appears to have speeded up the reclamation process. Microfossils are thus useful biomonitors of reclamation success, and based on the more diverse algal and protozoan communities in the pond that received phosphorous over a several year period, this appears to be a useful reclamation strategy.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Lower food chain organisms (testate amoeba) living in tailings ponds in the Suncor Experimental Wetlands were used to monitor changes in ecologic health in an attempt to monitor reclamation success. It was found that testate amoeba were sensitive to chemical changes in the tailings ponds', therefore making them good monitors of reclamation success.