© 2019 SETAC Prairie Northern Chapter

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Tyler Black - Ecotoxicology, University of Manitoba


Hey folks! I am currently a Master's student in the Department of Environment & Geography at the University of Manitoba. My research is focused on evaluating the impact of spills of diluted bitumen (dilbit) on freshwater invertebrate communities as a part of the BOREAL project. In collaboration with Environment & Climate Change Canada, the University of Ottawa, and Queen's University, we simulated several dilbit spills into lake-based limnocorrals at the IISD-Experimental Lakes Area during the Summer of 2018, characterising the fate, behaviour, and toxicological impacts of dilbit in freshwater. The goal of this research is to provide whole ecosystem-based knowledge that aims to assist in policy development to regulate future decisions on energy and oil transportation in Canada.


My component of the BOREAL project monitors the zooplankton, benthic invertebrate, and emerging insect communities and how dilbit may affect community composition, abundance, and biomass. These organisms are important links in freshwater food webs, so understanding changes in their community structure brought about by oil spills can help us better understand possible impacts at the whole-ecosystem level. I am also assessing toxicogenomic response of these invertebrates to dilbit exposure in collaboration with the U of S.


This project has made me interested in the issues of energy development and resource use in Canada. As such, I hope to apply my knowledge of toxicology to a career in energy policy, helping to shape Canada’s energy future into something more sustainable.


I am also PNC's representative to the North American Student Advisory Council (NASAC) and a student member on the PNC Board. If you have ideas on activities or events you would like to see or would like to get involved with PNC, don't hesitate to reach out! Looking forward to meeting you all in Lethbridge for PNC 2019!


Connect with me on Twitter: @_tylerandrew

Or LinkedIn: /in/tylerbllack/