Laurentian SETAC (L-SETAC) held our 21st Annual General Meeting and Conference at the University of Waterloo on June 23-24, 2016. The theme of the meeting, Watershed Science Under Multiple Stressors proved to be a great success!

Our short course instructors (from left to right): Drs. Glen Van Der Kraak, Keith Solomon and Mark Hanson

Our short course instructors (from left to right): Drs. Glen Van Der Kraak, Keith Solomon and Mark Hanson

Continuing with tradition, we kicked-off the meeting with a pre-AGM short course. The course – Data Quality & Weight of Evidence: Making Your Toxicology Matter – was derived from the outcomes and recommendations of the SETAC Pellston Workshop conducted in Fall 2015 on “Improving the Usability of Ecotoxicology Data in Risk Assessment”. Instructors Drs. Mark Hanson (University of Manitoba), Keith Solomon, and Glen Van Der Kraak (University of Guelph) put together an informative and engaging course that received rave reviews from participants.

2016-agm-plenaryOur three plenary speakers, Dr. Deb MacLatchy (Wilfrid Laurier University), Dr. Neil Hutchinson (Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd.) and Dr. Patricia Chambers (Environment and Climate Change Canada), inspired an audience of more than 100 attendees with their interesting and insightful talks.

For the General Meeting portion of the day, L-SETAC President, Ryan Prosser and Treasurer, Ève Gilroy, provided an update of SETAC’s activities over the past year. A number of special presentations and exciting announcements were also made at the meeting. Highlights included:

• Introduction of the new Maria Colavecchia-Pfuetzner Memorial Travel Awards and a one-time donation to the education fund for her daughter, Natalie Pfuetzner, in memory of L-SETAC member and friend Maria Colavecchia-Pfuetzner.

• Announcement and launch of the L-SETAC Women in Science Committee.

From left to right: Drs. Ève Gilroy (Treasurer), Ryan Prosser (past-president) and Richard Frank (president)

• We acknowledged three retiring Board members – Joel Nichols, Alison Fraser, and Ève Gilroy – and thanked them for their commitment to L-SETAC.

• A new L-SETAC award was announced and presented to four members in recognition of their long-standing and significant contributions to the chapter. Congratulations to Natalie Feisthauer, Alison Fraser, Ryan Prosser, and Ève Gilroy on receiving the Laurentian Chapter of SETAC Outstanding Service Award!

• Ryan Prosser officially handed the reins over to Rick Frank who will be taking over as L-SETAC president for 2016-2017.

In addition to the plenary presentations, we had 20 platform and 21 poster presentations spanning a wide range of topics related to environmental toxicology and chemistry, reflecting the diversity of our tripartite (academia, government and industry) membership.

Presenters included students from seven universities across Ontario (University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, McMaster University, University of Guelph, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and University of Ottawa). Prizes were awarded for the best student platform and poster presentations as follows:

Ryan Prosser and Ève Gilroy with our best platform presentation winners, Lauren Gallant (middle left) and Kimberly Zupfer (middle right)

Best Platform Presentations and Colavecchia-Pfuetzner Memorial Travel Award

MSc – Kimberly Zupfer (University of Guelph): “Evaluating the ability of Alyssum murale to extract aged nickel from nickel-contaminated organic soils”

PhD – Lauren Gallant (University of Ottawa): “The consumption of aquatic insects by bats may alter the dating and stable isotope profiles in a 4,000-year-old bat guano core from Jamaica”

Runner-Up, Best Platform Presentation

MSc – Kathleen Stevack (University of Guelph): “Finding love in the mud: Assessing sediment contamination using reproductive endpoints”

PhD – Megan Fuzzen (University of Waterloo): “An assessment of the spatial and temporal variability of biological endpoint responses of rainbow darter (Etheostoma caeruleum) collected along an urban gradient”

Ryan Prosser (left) and Ève Gilroy (right) with our M.Sc. winner for runner-up for best platform presentation, Kathleen Stevack (middle)

Ryan Prosser and Ève Gilroy with our Ph.D. runner-up for best platform presentation, Megan Fuzzen, and Ruth Hull (sponsor)

Best Poster Presentation (4-way tie)

Ève Gilroy (left) and Natalie Feisthauer (right) with our best poster presentation winners (from left to right): Clara Thaysen, Mathew Laird, Rachel de Jong and Kristine Hammill

Rachel de Jong (University of Waterloo): “The influence of life history on tissue mercury concentration in fish from coastal rivers of the Hudson Bay Lowlands”

Kristine Hammill (McMaster University): “Variation in the timing of sexual differentiation in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)”

Matthew Laird (University of Waterloo): “Characterizing dietary methylmercury (MeHg) exposure in subarctic First Nations communities in the Dehcho region of the Northwest Territories, Canada”

Clara Thaysen (University of Toronto): “Is plastic debris a source of flame retardants in Ring-billed Gulls?”

Student Travel Award

Marianne Racine (University of Ottawa)


2016-agm-socialFollowing the conference, the Post-AGM Social provided a great opportunity for more science, fun, and socializing.

Many thanks to our generous sponsors! Your ongoing support for L-SETAC is greatly appreciated. We would also like to thank our presenters, student judges, mentors and attendees, as well as the AGM organizing committee, without whom this conference would not be possible.

For more highlights from the conference check out the #AGM21 hashtag on twitter.

Planning is already underway for our 22nd Annual General Meeting and Conference. – stay tuned for more details!


– Submitted by Shari Dahmer and Gerald Tetreault