Nikel, Kirsten – Fish behaviour and physiology across two wastewater effluent gradients in Cootes Paradise and Hamilton Harbour (Dr. Sigal Balshine)

When we flush our sewage away down the drain

It goes to a treatment plant, sometimes with rain.

Here it is filtered, treated, and screened,

But some pharmaceuticals cannot be cleaned.


Hamilton Harbour was our site of interest

To see which fish were most harrowed and listless,

At Dundas and Woodward wastewater facilities,

Downstream we measured pH and salinities.


In our study, we collected three species of fish,

And measured their behaviour in a water-filled dish.

Back in the lab we weighed and dissected,

Measured red blood cells and organs collected.


We also measured acute tolerance of heat

And found that green sunfish were hardest to beat.

Fish close to wastewater were large with big livers,

And had more red blood cells than those caught down river.


Behaviour between sites was not much changed,

Perhaps more testing should thus be arranged.

This work provides insights to policy and conservation,

As Hamilton Harbour undergoes revitalization.