PNC SETAC Meeting Overview

3rd Annual Prairie Northern Chapter of SETAC Meeting - Overview

We would like to thank everyone who was able to attend the 3rd Annual Prairie Northern Chapter of SETAC conference which was held on June 15th 2012 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. There were 89 attendees with representation from across Canada, from Prince Rupert, BC in the west to Halifax, Nova Scotia in the east, a range of 6200 km! Hosted by Drs. David Janz and Markus Hecker of the University of Saskatchewan, the meeting theme was “Risk Assessment in Northern Ecosystems: Opportunities and Challenges”. The day explored a wide variety of topics with 13 platforms and 21 posters presented by undergraduate and graduate students, including the effects of PCBs on avian migratory behaviour, response of fish communities to selenium exposure, and characterization of the fate of pharmaceuticals in constructed wetlands. Outstanding keynote presentations were given by three plenary speakers, Dr. Susan Cormier (USEPA), Mark Wittrup (Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment), and Dr. Jon Martin (University of Alberta). A further open discussion was led by Dr. Larry Kapustka (SLR Consulting) regarding the SETAC Advisory Group’s ideas on sustainability.

Student presentations were especially strong this year, with platform presentation awards going to:

  • Jon Doering (University of Saskatchewan)
  • Kathryn Kuchapski (University of Lethbridge)
  • Tracy MacDonald (University of Saskatchewan)

Poster presentation awards went to:

  • Amber Tompsett, Jovana Tomic, and Philip Garvey (all from the University of Saskatchewan). However, as always, everyone did a very good job!

Additionally, three fun Gopher Awards were given in the form of a Gainer the Gopher – Saskatchewan’s football team mascot.

The meeting wrapped up at a local pub, Sports on Tap, with an evening full of food and entertainment. The weather held out long enough for some fun times on the volleyball courts, where people were seen playing in their conference attire (– real prairie dedication)!

For the first time, a 2-day workshop titled “Environmental Causation” was hosted by NSERC CREATE HERA prior to the PNC conference from June 13th to June 14th, instructed by Dr. Susan Cormier (USEPA), with 30 attendees. This workshop discussed modern techniques in determining causation of environmental problems under a variety of circumstances, and showcased a number of interesting case studies and useful resources for students and established professionals alike.

Overall, it was a very successful meeting for a new and quickly growing regional chapter!

The 4th annual chapter meeting will be held June of 2013 in Lethbridge, Alberta. We look forward to seeing you there!

Sarah Crawford and Jon Doering

PNC 3rd Annual Meeting Student Committee