Publication on Wood Frog Resilience to Bitumen

Congratulations to QE3 student alumni Sam Patterson on his paper “Resilience of larval wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) to hydrocarbons and other compounds released from naturally weathered diluted bitumen in a boreal lake” which has been accepted for publication in Aquatic Toxicology. This paper is from the BOREAL study at IISD-Experimental Lakes Area and represents the 2nd data chapter of Sam’s MES thesis, combined with an Honours thesis from Dan Denton (from the Hasler lab at U. Winnipeg).

Heather Vanderlip works in the laboratory at Queen's University.

Heather Vanderlip Defends Thesis

Congratulations to Heather Vanderlip, who recently defended her thesis titled, “Trends of halogenated flame retardants in herring gull eggs across Canada from 2008–2019.” Using data from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Heather investigated trends of three halogenated flame retardants in herring gull eggs between 2008 and 2019. Despite international regulation on these chemicals, there was little evidence for changes in their concentrations in herring gull eggs during this period. This is likely due to the persistent nature of these chemicals and warrants future research to determine when changes in concentrations may be seen following international regulations.

Recruitment for Laboratory Assistant

The Queen’s Experimental Ecology and Ecotoxicology (QE3) research group is looking for two eager and detail-oriented undergraduate students to assist with quantifying microplastics in amphibians.

Project Description: Plastic pollution has become a global issue as more plastic waste has been found in oceans, on land, and in every continent of the world. Plastics are often classified by size as mega-(>1 m), macro-(2.5-100 cm), meso-(0.05-2.5 cm), and micro-(<0.05 cm) plastics. Studies looking at ingestion have found microplastics are present not only in natural ecosystems, but also in the digestive tracts of many species. However, the majority of studies have focused on the exposure and dispersal of microplastics, especially in marine environments. Few studies have examined the toxicity of microplastics to freshwater species, and fewer have looked at the toxicity to amphibians. Amphibians are highly sensitive and globally declining.There are susceptible to climate change, habitat destruction, and many types of pollution, yet we do not fully understand how they may interact with and be affected by widespread plastic pollution. The QE3 lab is interested in addressing the question of risk of microplastics to amphibians. We conducted two outdoor experiments that examined the route of microplastic uptake and developmental effects to tadpoles. Our next steps include laboratory and photo analysis to examine microplastic content in tissues, growth, and developmental rate. We are looking for two students who would be interested in helping with these exciting next steps.

Roles and Responsibilities: Successful applicants will help process samples in the QE3 clean lab to answer questions concerning the fate and effects of microplastics in tadpoles. Students will be trained to characterize microplastics using a microscope and ImageJ, and may participate in tissue digestions and density separations as required. Students will need to complete WHIMIS safety training. Students will work a total of 135hours (9 hr/week, on average) between November 15th and February 28st at a rate of $16.00 per hour.

• Must be a Queen’s undergraduate student
• Detail-oriented and organized
• Immediate availability
• Prior laboratory experience is an asset
• Interested in biology, toxicology, environmental sciences, and/or related fields
• Eager to learn and willing to ask questions.

To Apply
Interested students should email their cover letter, resume, and contact information for 3 references to Sam Gene ( We recognize the diverse backgrounds and circumstances of the Queen’s student body. If you require accommodations please let us know. The QE3 Lab is committed to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Those who wish to include anEDI/values statement are encouraged to do so. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.