Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Yates, Adam G.


Effective biomonitoring of aquatic environments is an integral component of ecosystem protection. The metabolome is an emerging indicator that may have the potential to serve as an ideal bioindicator due to its intrinsic capacity to detect physiological changes in organisms that could foreshadow ecosystem change. My thesis consisted of two complementary objectives. First, the metabolome was evaluated against several established criteria for an ideal bioindicator and found to have significant potential. Recommendations were also made regarding implementation of the metabolome into existing biomonitoring programs. Second, the metabolome of Hexagenia spp. was evaluated as a potential indicator for environmental effects of naphthenic acid exposure, a primary toxic component of oil sands process waters in the Athabasca oil sands region. Although further research is needed, the metabolome of Hexagenia spp. shows potential as an early warning indicator of naphthenic acid stress prior to the onset of ecologically significant change.