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2015 Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop

The 42nd Annual Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop (CEW) was held at the Radisson Hotel in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, this past month. The CEW is Canada’s major annual meeting in the field of ecological toxicology and related disciplines, formerly known as the Aquatic Toxicology Workshop (ATW). The theme of the workshop was ‘Expanding Horizons’ and was reflected by the recent rebranding transformation of ATW to CEW, the ever expanding tools and approaches used in environmental toxicology, and of course the beautiful never ending horizons found in Saskatchewan. Participants at the workshop included students, academics, government scientists and regulators, environmental consultants, and industry representatives. The workshop kicked off with a day of insightful professional development courses on varying topics, including adverse outcome pathways (AOP), microbiome analysis, species sensitivity distribution (SSD) curves, and polar passive samplers. The theme of the workshop was contemplated during the Plenary Session held the following morning, where a panel of experts was asked to discuss the anticipated ecotoxicological challenges that Canada will face in the future and how they can be addressed. Challenges discussed by the panel and attendees considered various topics, including the ecotoxicity of commercial products, effective communication in science, cumulative effects, the influence of cryptic species (morphologically identical individuals that belong to different species), and the identification of useful data. In the days that followed, the workshop provided a valuable forum for sharing information on current and emerging topics of regional, national, and international importance related to contaminants in ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial. Workshop sessions covered a variety of topics, including contaminants & ecosystem health, selenium ecotoxicology, alternative non-vertebrate test methods, risk assessment & regulatory toxicology, behavioral ecotoxicology, epigenetics, municipal wastewater, sediment & soil ecotoxicity, water quality benchmarks, metal mixtures, wildlife ecotoxicology & disease, and bioremediation. Topics relevant to Saskatchewan and the Prairie Region of Canada were well represented at the workshop through sessions including uranium mining & milling, and non-conventional oil & gas. Several social events were offered during the CEW that allowed opportunity for participants to catch up with friends and colleagues, while taking in some poster sessions or live entertainment. Members of Laurentian SETAC who attended the workshop agreed that it was very informative and a great atmosphere, and all look forward to the 2016 CEW which is planned to be held in Edmonton. –Submitted by Joel Nichols

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