Plant Health and Contaminants, Oil Sands Region
Plant health assessments and vegetation surveys are undertaken at both terrestrial and wetland sites in the oil sands region and in reference areas. Plant monitoring is being conducted for biodiversity and contaminants, and because plants are important both as wildlife habitat and as traditional-use species. Plant and soil samples are collected at monitoring sites near and at varying distances from oil sands operations. Plant tissues are being examined for levels of naphthenic acids (NAs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals. Plant indicator species include Vaccinium spp. (blueberry), Ledum groenlandicum (Labrador tea), Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi (common bearberry), and Cornus canadensis (bunchberry). Soil samples from riparian banks and boreal forest locations are also collected for greenhouse studies. These experiments evaluate the uptake, distribution, and toxicity of the contaminants in plant tissue.
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