Microbial eukaryotic biodiversity in Oil Sands reclamation
The Oil Sands of Northern Alberta are a significant contributor to the Canadian economy but their management is also an important environmental issue for Canadians. Improved reclamation of tailings waste is an integral part of Oil Sands sustainability as an industry and understanding the role of microbes in the reclamation process has been a major area of study. Microbial eukaryotes (organisms sharing the cellular organization with humans and plants) have only recently been recognized as also playing a role in tailings pond communities. This project will investigate the extent, diversity and community patterns of microbial eukaryotes in tailings ponds at different stages of reclamation. This more complete understanding of microbial communities in tailings ponds will allow the partner organization and indeed the industry to develop better overall models of tailings ponds microbiology and eventually a better overall process of reclamation.