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Tenure-Track Candidate for Biological Sciences Public Lecture-SJ

Author: myUNB News

Posted on Apr 18, 2018

Category: News and Notices

The Department of Biological Sciences will hold a public lecture with Dr. Michel Lavoie, candidate for a tenure-track position in Biological Sciences, titled "Marine ecotoxicology of metals in planktonic organisms: Investigating the toxicity of copper-based antifouling agents​" on Monday, April 30 at 11:30 a.m. in Hazen Hall, 232.

Abstract: Anthropogenic activities including mining activities, maritime transport and coastal industries are leading to metal contamination of coastal marine environments. Although for several metals and locations in industrialized countries, contamination is decreasing due to new environmental legislations, increased recycling and changes in the public’s actions, problems of metal contamination in coastal environments continue to occur and contamination by emerging nanoparticle contaminants is on the rise. For instance, antifouling agents composed of Cu nanoparticles (CuNP) are now routinely applied to aquaculture systems and boats, and can contribute to Cu contamination of the coastal environment either by dissolution to yield dissolved Cu or by CuNP leaching. Dissolved Cu is particularly toxic for phytoplankton, which are at the base of aquatic food webs and indirectly affect a range of organisms up the food chain. However, few studies on the fate and effects of CuNP on phytoplankton have been performed to date. More knowledge on the fate and toxicity effects of CuNP in marine ecosystems is urgently needed for risk assessment and adequate water quality management. In my talk, I will start by discussing my current research, emphasizing an integrative bioenergetic analysis of metal detoxification in phytoplankton that has provided new insights into the causes leading to the occurrence of metal toxicity effects in various species of marine and freshwater phytoplankton and for a range of metals and metalloids. I will then detail my main proposed research program aiming to better assess Cu uptake and toxicity in phytoplankton. The influence of key chemical (presence of dissolved organic matter) and environmental variables (temperature and salinity) on Cu and CuNP uptake in model phytoplankton species grown in well-defined seawater culture media will be studied. Then, Cu toxicity and detoxification mechanisms as well as trophic transfer from Cu-loaded phytoplankton to copepod grazers will be followed.

Biography: Michel Lavoie received a BSc degree in marine biology from University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR) as well as MSc and PhD degrees in biogeochemistry/ecotoxicology at Institut national de la recherche scientifique – Centre Eau Terre Environnement (INRS-ETE). Since 2013, Michel Lavoie is a postdoctoral fellow working at the Takuvik-CNRS mixed research unit at Laval University. As a biogeochemist, he studies primarily the cycling of trace elements, sulfur and carbon in both marine and freshwater aquatic systems with an emphasis on the study of trace metal bioavailability and toxicity in phytoplanktonic organisms. During his postdoctoral research, he has studied the influence of environmental factors and water quality on the physiology, biochemistry and bioenergetics of marine phytoplankton using both experimental and modelling approaches, in collaboration with researchers distributed around the world. He has contributed to the publication of 36 peer-reviewed scientific papers and received several awards acknowledging the quality of his research.



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