Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology

Study description

The Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology (ECEL) research group conducts scientific investigations contributory to the departmental strategic objectives on environmental responsibility as well as safety, security and governance.  Our work, focuses on enhancing our collective understanding of disturbance impacts on Canadian forest ecosystems with a view to identifying and mitigating those that pose a significant threat to their ecological integrity.  Spanning disciplines of analytical and environmental chemistry, environmental biology and ecotoxicology, we collaborate with a wide variety of academic, government and industry partners both nationally and internationally.  Research outputs take the form of peer-reviewed journal publications, and book chapters, as well as various conference and workshop presentations.  We also provide data and information directly to other federal and provincial government departments and agencies.  Through dedicated research, knowledge synthesis and information transfer we seek to ensure sustainable use of the Canadian forest resource, as well as protection and conservation of the fundamental ecological integrity of forest ecosystems upon which it is based.  Currently our research program is focused on:

  • Studies of stressor and multiple stressor interaction on forest wetlands and their associated biota, with a particular emphasis on amphibians
  • Development of integrated monitoring techniques, with a particular emphasis on bioacoustic and remote sensing applications for tracking physical and biological changes in response to disturbances at multiple scales of space and time
  • Research and development of  environmentally acceptable systemic insecticides for control of invasive insect pests
  • Validation and use of expert decision support systems for control and monitoring of aerial herbicide applications with a view to enhancing regeneration success and mitigating potential environmental impacts
  • Development and validation of quantitative analytical techniques as required for determining the fate and persistence of pesticide and other organic toxicant residues in forest ecosystem compartments

Study team members

Currently the ECEL team is involved in a number of research initiatives including:

Analytical chemistry

  • Development and validation of HPLC and LCMS techniques for quantitative determination of synthetic and biorational pesticides in environmental matrices

Environmental chemistry

  • Uptake and translocation of systemically injected insecticides for control of exotic wood boring beetles (asian longhorn beetle, brown spruce longhorn beetle)
  • Uptake, translocation and persistence of pesticides (imidacloprid and triadimefon) following application of slow-release tablets for enhanced regeneration of white pine
  • Advanced Technologies for Aerial Application of Forest Herbicides
  • Deposition of glyphosate (VISION) in wetlands within or adjacent to forest regeneration sites
  • Aquatic fate of azadirachtin (Neem) following application to in-situ enclosures in forest wetlands

Environmental biology

  • Comparative assessment of techniques for monitoring salamanders in mixed-wood boreal forests of Northern Ontario


  • Interactive and multiple stress effects of forest herbicides in forest wetlands and native amphibians
  • Impacts of azadirachtin (Neem) following applications to in-situ enclosures in forest wetlands

In relation to this work the ECEL team collaborates with numerous researchers within the CFS as well as a variety industrial, academic and government research organizations both nationally and internationally, including TEMBEC, BOWATER, DOMTAR, University of Guelph, Trent University, Dartmouth College, Lake Superior State University, Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology, the Upper Lakes Environmental Research Network, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resourcs and the USDA Forest Service.


Project status

  • On-going

Team members