Michelle Claire Roy

I am a Master’s student in Biology, specializing in Chemical and Environmental Toxicology at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Dr. Jules Blais. I completed my undergraduate degree at the McGill University in Environmental Biology, specializing in Applied Ecology with an Honors in Ecotoxicology.

My project investigates the presence and composition of petrogenic hydrocarbons in the Peace-Athabasca Delta. My main hypothesis is that petrogenic hydrocarbons are enriched in regions draining the upstream bituminous sands areas in the Athabasca and Peace rivers, and reduced in areas not hydrologically connected to these bituminous sands areas. I hypothesize that the long term presence of petrogenic hydrocarbons in the Peace Athabasca Delta may have influenced the composition of microbial communities. I predict that hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria that utilize petrogenic hydrocarbons as a carbon and/or energy source are present in delta lakes with high PAHs and alkanes derived from the bituminous sands region. This research will evaluate whether specific microorganisms are involved in the cycling of these petrogenic hydrocarbons, and whether petrogenic hydrocarbons in the Peace-Athabasca Delta are involved in microbial respiration and metabolism.