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Laurentian SETAC goes to CEW 2018

The annual Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop (CEW) has always been known for great food, fun and intimate networking opportunities, and a truly excellent student program. This year’s 45th CEW, which took place at the Sheraton Wall Center in Vancouver, was no exception – the food was delicious, the banquet dancefloor was packed, and the student program was easily the best one yet. Tri-chairs Curtis Eickhoff (Nautilus Environmental), Vicki Marlatt (Simon Fraser University), and Bonnie Lo (Nautilus Environmental) did a fantastic job making the 2018 CEW inclusive, memorable, educational, and enjoyable.

Three top-notch plenary speakers Bob McDonald, Tyson Atleo, and Peter Ross were fascinating and inspiring, and they perfectly complimented the meeting’s theme “Science. Application. Action.” We learned about real world environmental science and human relationships in the Anthropocene – how indigenous communities, the North American 20th century lifestyle, and public opinion can have an influence on important environmental issues, and the application of science and action of policy.

I participated in this year’s student program as both a mentor and a judge, and in the scientific program as a presenter and a session chair. I was very impressed with the quality of science delivered at this years’ CEW; research that offered me insights to science I had not previously understood. For instance, I learned new concepts about citizen science programs in the Athabasca oil sands, behavioral changes in fish due to altered olfaction, and how public pressure has resulted in reactionary pesticide bans and may be neglecting instances of responsible agricultural practices which are critical to food production.

CEW Student Networking Mixer on Sunday evening before the opening reception was a huge success – there were actually more mentors than students – which gave all students the opportunity to interact with career scientists in industry, academia, and government. The question and answer panel led to intense discussions about different career paths and what it takes to be a happy and successful ecotoxicologist. If you are a student and haven’t been to one of these events before, I encourage you to get involved and participate in next year’s CEW student program because these opportunities are rare and highly valuable. Contact CEW’s graduate student advisor Hossein Mehdi ( for more information about being involved with CEW as a graduate or undergraduate student.

Next year’s CEW will take place in Quebec City from October 6 to 9 (2019) at the Québec City Convention Centre, and promises to be another unforgettable workshop. Don’t forget to check the CEW website ( in February to find out more about next year’s program!

Submitted by Dr. Denina Simmons (

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