Dynamic Environment & Ecosystem Health Research

Media releases & updates

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Research & Opportunities
Historical gold mine tailings
Invasive & vulnerable species
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Media & updates

Research from the Dynamic Environment & Ecosystem Health Research group is routinely featured in regional, national and international media. In addition, Dr. Campbell and her research group members are frequently invited to comment on topics related to mercury and environmental contamination, lake health, fish and food webs. Feel free to contact us if you would like expert insights on key environmental stories.


How do you clean up a contaminated 150-year-old gold mine?: Frances Willick for CBC News (Oct 12, 2019): ' "It is good gathering of information and identifying the gaps that are required before you're even able to start thinking about remediating the area," said Linda Campbell, the director of the school of environment at the university. "I really applaud the people who are involved in this report." '. [Link] [PDF copy]
CBC infographic showing a pile of black material with "Arsenic content discovered at two former mines", and two lines indicating Goldenville having up to 200,000 mg/kg As and Montague having up to 41,000 mg/kg As.

Feasibility of using local plants as part of remediation of gold mine tailing sites: 95.7 interview by Katie Hartai  with Dr. Emily Chapman about developing an approach for remediation with local plants. [Link] [Transcript PDF Link] [Link to publication].

HRM warns of arsenic contamination in Dartmouth stream: Frances Willick for CBC News (August 30, 2019): ""I'm very happy that different levels of government are finally starting to explore this issue," she said. "That's good news for all of us. We need better quantification of the risks. What's out there? It's a big gap in the information." [Link] [PDF copy]
Halifax warning sign for Barry's Run not to swim in the river or to eat fish from river. 

Researchers hope to make predicting algae blooms simple: Emily Baron Cadloff for CTV Atlantic (August 9, 2019): "With the threat of blue-green algae present in lakes in the Maritimes, researchers believe monitoring water before algae blooms is important."  [Link]
Screen Capture of CTV interview segment with Linda Campbell

Modern and historical gold rushes in Nova Scotia: Andrew Bethune for The Coast (August 8, 2019):"Linda Campbell’s rubber boot sinks into gray muck. She is stepping through a historic tailings site leftover from the Montague mines, just outside Dartmouth."  [Link] [PDF copy]

A pair of rubber boots in a muddy puddle -- The Coast photo

After the gold rush:
Joan Baxter for Halifax Examiner (Jue 25, 2019):"Campbell sees historic tailings in the province’s wetlands as a “big problem,” the full extent of which no one knows yet. Tailings have not been fully mapped, let alone assessed and analyzed to gauge the health risks they pose."  [Link]
Halifax Examiner headine "Gold Rush" superimposed on arsenic health warning signs at Montague.

Related story: Michael Gorman (July 25, 2019). Nova Scotia to spend $48M cleaning up 2 former gold mines.[Link].

Nova Scotia Law amendments committee, Bill 116 Biodiversity Act:
Jean Laroche for CBC Nova Scotia (March 25, 2019): Sarah Kingsbury presents on the importance of paying attention to invasive species. "Without the proper funding, moderating programs, public education programs and governmental regulation oversight, Nova Scotia will continue to be a hotspot for invasives," said Kingsbury. "Currently our situation is poor." [Link to CBC article][PDF copy]
Sarah Kingsbury in front of a seated crowd holding up a large snail shell.

SMU Research Expo:
Suzanne Belliveau, CTV Maritimes 5 pm News (March 1, 2019): Sarah Kingsbury mentions DEEHR's historically contaminated gold mine research. [Link to TV segment][PDF Link to rough transcript][Link to DEEHR 2019 Research Expo poster]
Screen Capture of Sarah Kingsbury beside the DEEHR poster at the SMU Research Expo 2019 with the CTV Atlantic logo


Environmental contaminants in Nova Scotia bald eagles:
Shaina Luck, CBC NS News (Dec 31): '"To keep [eagles] healthy, we need to understand how they're accumulating contaminants. We use that data to protect the eagle population in the future," Campbell said.'  [Link to CBC NS news article][Link to CBC Radio podcast & PDF transcript of podcast][PDF copy]

An injured bald eagle with white head is being held by a person wearing thick leather gloves as another set of hands attempt to put a towel around its claws.

CBC Nova Scotia coverage of vulnerable & endangered aquatic species in Nova Scotia (as part of the "Sharing Our Planet" series):
Samatha Schwientech, CBC NS News (Nov 20): "Campbell said freshwater mussels are really important to lakes because they help filter the water, change nutrients in the lake and are also a source of food for many fish species."  [Link to CBC NS news article][PDF copy][Link to CBC Radio podcast & PDF transcript of podcast]

Three silvery whitefish swim in green-yellow water with algae-covered rocks at bottom

CBC Nova Scotia coverage of the NS Lands Inc RFP for Montague and Goldenville
Frances Willick, CBC NS News (Oct 13): "What she's standing on is the tailings from the old Montague gold mine. They're responsible for the high mercury and arsenic levels that have been showing up in the creatures Campbell has been studying, including dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies, larvae, beetles, spiders, water striders and scuds — small invertebrates that look like shrimp." [Link] [PDF copy]
Landscape photo of a wet muddy ground with orange-red-white streaks and puddles surrouded by green conifer trees


March for Science Halifax Rally (April 22, 2017)
Screen Capture of Global TV segment on March for Science, with Dr. Linda Campbell
Global News at Halifax 6 pm news. "Scientists have a responsibility to inform the public. The public has responsibility to listen. Everyone shares the responsibility to work together on solutions." [Link to Global TV segment, no subtitles.
ASL at 1:29-1:46 mark ] (April 22, 2017)

Atlantic Provinces Sign Language Place Name Project (Link to project site.)
Screen capture of the Atlantic Provinces Place Name Sign Language map
Knowing how to name Atlantic Canadian locations using the two forms of sign language most common in those provinces has become much easier, thanks to a new online tool created by a Halifax environmental science professor."  [Link to CBC article] January 30, 2017. (Also mentioned on the CBC Atlantic Canada evening TV news for January 30th)

"That’s Maritime Sign Language for Yarmouth, one of 120 place names shown in an innovative new project connecting the dots between language and geography around the Atlantic Provinces." [Chronicle Herald Jan 31, 2017]

"If you’re wondering how Saint John, New Brunswick differs from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador in sign language, you can find that out quickly through the new Atlantic Provinces Sign Language Place Names map that’s been released by Saint Mary’s University."  [Link to ESRI Canada article] (Feb 14, 2017)

"And for the community there's been a lot of interest in this project and we're hoping that, you know, talking with people like yourself now will get the word out and really sharing this important resource that is now available."  News 95.7. The Sheldon Macleod Show. [Link to PDF transcript of radio interview] (
January 30, 2017)


The Science Files: Microfibres & Accessibility in Science

"And it's quite ironic because they make their products from plastic bottles and ironic that they're trying to save plastic by recycling these bottles and then it becomes an issue at the end."

"We really do need to support and welcome diversity into science. We have to be more diverse and have clever people working together and that's really wonderful because everyone will then bring their own perspectives and different ways of solving problems. And then when we bring these people together that then will really improve how we manage things within the world."

 [Link to text transcript PDF] Dec 3, 2016.

Science Files SMU Logo

The Science Files: Environmental Science

"And it's how mercury becomes methylmercury that is the problem and that is environmentally dependent."

 [Link to text transcript PDF] August 14, 2016.

Mercury emissions risk fish, health: Mercury contamination is prevalent around the province's gold mines

"Nova Scotia’s eastern positioning puts the province at risk for mercury emissions – and it has nothing to do with how much we produce."

Reported in The Signal (University of King's College Journalism program newspaper). [Link] March 7, 2016


Fur mercury concentrations in little brown bat colonies across Nova Scotia is related to water chemistry

Little brown bats consume high number of insects, including those with aquatic life cycles. Our research using archived bat fur and long-term monitoring data have shown significant relationships for elevated mercury concentrations in little brown bat colonies which are near waterbodies with more acidic pH and more bioavailable mercury. This shows that mercury not only affects living organisms within lakes, it can also affect terrestrial organisms living around those lakes.

Reported in the Environmental Monitor [Link] February 12, 2015.


Mercury can be low in fish, even from global hotspots

The mercury biomagnification rate in a global mercury hotspot is low, says a new study conducted in China by an international group of researchers. China is a currently a mercury deposition hotspot because it uses more coal, the largest source of mercury pollution to the atmosphere, than any other nation. “Most of what we know about mercury biomagnification is from temperate ecosystems... [Read more...] Dec 16, 2013.

Saint Mary’s Professor Puts Mercury on the Map

With its wild cry and its prominent image on the dollar coin, the common loon is iconic to Canada. Yet, mercury contamination may be stressing our loon populations in the east. A new study co-authored by the Saint Mary’s professor indicates significant risk from mercury toxicity---not only to Canada’s iconic waterbird, but also to some varieties of sportfish. [Read more...] Oct 31, 2013

Common Loon thumbnail

Mercury may biomagnify more effectively in colder latitudes
Global review reveals additional vulnerability of Arctic ecosystems

A new international review of mercury in freshwater and marine food webs helps explain why many top  predators in the Arctic have high mercury concentrations. The review found that the increase in mercury from prey to predators, biomagnification, is greatest at high latitudes, such as the Arctic. [Read more...] Oct 31, 2013.

Biomagnification infographic

New National Database Provides Insights on Mercury Levels in Fish Across Canada

The Canadian Fish Mercury Database, assembled to conduct a national assessment of mercury risks to predatory fish and wildlife, was constructed from data collected from measurements of mercury in over 330,000 freshwater fish from more than 5,000 locations across Canada. It provides the most comprehensive summary of fish mercury measurements in Canada. [Read the Environment Canada page...]  
Sept 8 2013

Thumbnail of Yellow Perch Estimated Mercury


International Study Maps Great Lakes Stress

A comprehensive map three years in the making is telling the story of humans’ impact on the Great Lakes, identifying how "environmental stressors" stretching from Minnesota to Ontario are shaping the future of an ecosystem that contains 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. [Read more...] Dec 17 2012

GLEAM Great Lakes Stressors map
Link to the GLEAM website: http://greatlakesmapping.org/

Saint Mary's University logo


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All images and content copyright (c) Linda Campbell and other members of Dynamic Environment & Ecosystem Health Research Group