Article published on Slashing Plastic Waste

Diane Orihel and colleague Chelsea Rochman (University of Toronto) wrote an opinion piece on single-use plastics that was published in the Conversation and National Post last week.
Plastics continue to be found across the planet (even in remote locations). To ameliorate this, governments are introducing legislation to limit the use of single-use plastics. Notably, we can reduce our contributions by reusing mugs, bottles, and containers; bringing our own shopping bags; and not using disposable dishes and cutlery for meals. Read the full article at the Conversation.

Dilbit for Dinner

Johanna Mason, QE3 Graduate Student, presented the Environmental Studies Seminar on April 4. Johanna’s talk focussed on research she and collaborators conducted during the summer of 2018 at the IISD-Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario. Her presentation was titled, “Dilbit for dinner: Using stable isotope analysis to trace carbon from a diluted bitumen spill into the aquatic food web.”

Johanna Mason speaking on BOREAL research project
Johanna Mason presenting the April 4 Environmental Studies Seminar Series.

Johanna gave a brief overview of the goals of BOREAL (Boreal lake Oil Release Experiment by Additions to Limnocorrals) study, a multi-institutional project that placed nine 10m diameter mesocosms in a lake at the ELA. She then explained her contribution to the project in greater detail: she used stable isotope analysis to track the movement of diluted bitumen (dilbit) through the food web. Preliminary results indicate that some organisms uptake more carbon from dilbit than others and that generally, time integrated organisms show a stronger trend. This novel application of stable isotope analysis to a freshwater dilbit spill presents an additional fate of dilbit in the environment and shows the potential of stable isotope analysis in a biomonitoring capacity.

Teaching Assistant of the Year

QE3 Graduate Student, Sam Patterson, was recently awarded the 2019 “Teaching Assistant of the Year” by the Queen’s School of Environmental Studies.
Undergraduate students nominate graduate students in the school and vote for the the teaching assistant with outstanding contributions.
QE3 warmly congratulates Sam on his selection for this well-deserved award!

Sam Patterson wearing lifejacket in a boat.
Sam Patterson enjoys the breeze during field work at the Experimental Lakes Area in 2018. Photo by Lesley Evans Ogden.

Art of Research Photo Entry

Every year, the Queen’s University community is encouraged to submit photos for the Art of Research Photo Contest. This year, QE3 Graduate Student, Jeffrey Cederwall, submitted a photo taken while he was conducting research at the Experimental Lakes Area in 2018. His photo has been entered into the People’s Choice category. Anyone can vote in the contest until 4pm on April 9 and Jeff would appreciate your votes. Click this link to vote.

dragonfly caught in oil slick
A captive adult dragonfly trapped in the sticky surface slick of Canadian diluted bitumen from a controlled experimental oil spill in a boreal lake located in northwestern Ontario during the summer of 2018. As the diluted bitumen weathers in the natural environment, it becomes more viscous and reverts back into a tar-like substance. We do not yet understand how freshwater food webs will respond when spills occur. – JC

Kingston Climate March

On March 15, 2019, QE3 Honour’s student, Julia Weder, co-organized the Kingston Climate Strike, a rally to demand meaningful, large-scale climate action from our institutions. Up to 800 people attended the Kingston event, joined by 1.6 million strikers internationally.

climate rally in Kingston
Julia Weder (centre) speaks at the March 19 climate rally.

Throughout the planning stages, Julia used skills from Dr. Orihel’s science communication course (ENSC480) for writing press releases, keeping messages brief and powerful, and tailoring promotional materials to specific audiences. The event featured musicians, poets, politicians, chanting, and an interactive climate ribbon activity. Members of the environmental advocacy groups 350 Kingston and Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change volunteered on rally day and continue to generate climate action momentum within the community.
Read the full article at the Kingston Whig Standard.