Now more than ever, industries are determined to reduce their environmental footprint. To ensure the safety of the environment, responsible operators are becoming more proactive in monitoring the potential effects of their activities.
Caring for our Environment
At Oceans Ltd. we take pride in caring for the environment and offer services in the assessment of the effects of environmental stressors, including contaminants, on the physiological status of aquatic organisms. We integrate biochemistry, toxicology, physiology, and aquatic biology to monitor aquatic environments before, during, and after industrial operations. A special focus is placed on the use of early warning biomarkers, which provide a means for assessing the extent and severity of potential health problems. This is crucial prior to any impact on populations and to monitor the effectiveness of any remediation processes.
A biomarker is a measurable response of an organism to its environment. Our choice of biomarkers is guided by practices and recommendations of agencies such as the International Commission for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Oslo-Paris Commission, the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US Department of the Interior. The primary biomarkers used by Oceans Ltd. are in line with those extensively used in other monitoring programs and include:
- Visible lesions and abnormalities on skin, gills, and internal organs
- Detailed organ histopathology
- Hydrocarbon metabolites in body fluids (bile, haemolymph, urine)
- Mixed-function oxygenase (MFO) enzymes
- Antioxidant enzymes (SOD, catalase, etc.)
- DNA oxidative damage
- Other assays
Age, condition indices, organ condition indices and state of gonad maturation are assessed along with the biomarkers.
With an in-house biomonitoring laboratory our highly experienced personnel provide the following services:
- Study design
- Field and laboratory sampling
- Tissue preparation
- Biochemical, histological, and chemical analyses
- Data analysis and interpretation
- Report preparation
Oceans Ltd. has accumulated a wealth of knowledge on the physiological status of several species in the Atlantic Ocean and has become a point of access for clients who have inquiries within the region.
In addition to providing biomonitoring services, Oceans Ltd. performs research studies on the effects of environmental stressors on aquatic organisms. Acute and/or chronic exposure studies are performed in flow-through tanks as well as in static conditions in aquaria. Oceans Ltd. has conducted research on several different species of marine organisms including Atlantic cod, sand lance, snow crab, Northern shrimp, sea scallops and green sea urchin. All studies follow strict animal care guidelines.
Clients of Oceans Ltd.’s Environmental Biomonitoring laboratory include: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, ExxonMobil, Husky Energy, Suncor Energy, Newfoundland Transshipment Ltd., Stantec, and other consulting companies.
Brief List of Past Projects
- Health Effect Indicators (Condition Indices, Gross Pathology, Histopathology, Haematology, and Enzymology) in Cunners from the Newfoundland Transshipment Terminal.
- Research Project on baseline levels of several biomarkers on various marine organisms funded by Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Health Assessment (Condition Indices, Gross Pathology, Histopathology, Haematology, and Enzymology) of American Plaice at the Terra Nova Site.
- Health Assessment (Condition Indices, Gross Pathology, Histopathology, Haematology, and Enzymology) of American Plaice at the White Rose Site.
- Health Assessment (Condition Indices, Gross Pathology, Histopathology, Haematology, and Enzymology) of American Plaice at the Hibernia Site.
- Health Assessment (Condition Indices, Gross Pathology, Histopathology, Haematology, and Enzymology) of Winter Flounder for the St. John’s Harbour EEM Program.
- Histopathological studies on the gills of fish exposed to produced water. Prepared for Science Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).