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Assessment of the toxic effects on the blue mussel of conventional and unconventional crude oil after a spill under ice cover

Description

The blue mussel is an important species in Canada, valued for its role in the aquaculture industry, its significance in the traditional diet of coastal populations, the part it plays in the marine ecosystem and its wide geographic range.

An oil spill under ice cover in a coastal area could mean chronic pollution for mussels living on natural beds or in suspended culture sites, as long as the ice cover remains intact and limits the dispersion and degradation of the oil slick. During the cold season, mussels experience a period of slowed metabolic activity in preparation for spring spawning; the sub-lethal effects of the oil during the winter could result in decreased reproductive success and/or larval production of lesser quality. Such a situation would affect the mussel farming industry and traditional harvesting practises.

The goal of this research project is to assess the lethal and sub-lethal effects on the blue mussel of exposure to oil products, including the effects on spawning, larval survival and the development of juveniles. Bioaccumulation of toxic oil compounds will be measured to validate a toxicity model.

Since very little information exists in scientific literature on the biological effects of an oil spill in winter conditions, this project aims to better document the toxic effects of conventional and unconventional crude oil on the blue mussel in situations of acute and chronic exposure.

Program Name

National Contaminants Advisory Group (NCAG)

Year(s)

2014 - 2017

Ecoregion(s)

National

Principal Investigator(s)

Richard Saint-Louis
Professor, Department of Biology, Chemistry and Geography
Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski (Quebec)

Team Member(s)

Émilien Pelletier, Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski – Université du Québec à Rimouski (ISMER-UQAR), Rimouski (Quebec)

Réjean Tremblay, Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski – Université du Québec à Rimouski (ISMER-UQAR), Rimouski (Quebec)

Jean-Pierre Gagné, Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski – Université du Québec à Rimouski (ISMER-UQAR), Rimouski (Quebec)

Céline Audet, Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski – Université du Québec à Rimouski (ISMER-UQAR), Rimouski (Quebec)

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