Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)



Program Name/Specialization

Integrative Biology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. James McGeer

Advisor Role



The effect of global warming on northern environments is becoming increasingly evident. Melting of underlying permafrost is associated with widespread impacts in these environments. The loss of permafrost results in a destabilizing of underlying sedimentary layers resulting in thermokarst slumping. When this occurs on a large scale (mega-slumping) soil material becomes mobilized and is carried into local streams and rivers. The purpose of this study is to examine the sub-lethal physiological effects that suspended material has on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the context of the Peel River Plateau. Juvenile rainbow trout were exposed (following Environment Canada exposure guidelines) for 96h to suspended clay and field collected material of differing grain sizes: small (<90µm), medium (90-150µm) and large (150-300µm), and combine (0-300µm) at concentrations of 250, 500, 1000, and 2000mg/L. The effects of exposure were assessed by measuring plasma cortisol, plasma ion concentration (Na, Cl and Ca) as well as resting metabolic rate and swim performance. It was determined that no significant changes to the measured physiological endpoints are occurring to the model organism rainbow trout at concentrations and durations equal to or greater than those present in the natural conditions.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season