PhD Student, Civil and Mineral Engineering
University of Toronto
Jennifer Gordon is a third year PhD student in the Civil and Mineral Engineering Department at the University of Toronto. She studies the biogeochemical cycling of sulphur in mine wastewater, with an aim of facilitating better management practices through increased understanding of the system. She brings a broad perspective to her work, drawing on knowledge and experience from her years as an urban forester, her undergraduate research thesis on the microbial biogeochemistry of anoxic lake sediments, and her fascination with the design and optimization of complex systems.
Factors which influence microbial sulfur cycling in mine wastewater J. GORDON1, T. C. NELSON1, K. W. MARTIN1, L. TWIBLE1 , S. KUMAR1, A. BOZZO1, S. APTE2, L.A. WARREN1 1 Department of Civil and Mineral Eng, UofT, 2 CSIRO Land and Water, NSW Australia
Microbial communities cycle sulphur through various metabolisms in mining impacted wastewaters that can generate acid rock drainage (ARD) and other potential environmental impacts. Although recognized as important, these microbial processes are not well understood, and only a few species have been identified. My research demonstrates that microbes such as Halothiobacillus spp. and Thiomonas spp. process thiosulphate to sulphate in a two-step process which generates acidity, and that their abundance in 500 L mesocosms correlates to the amount of acidity generated. In addition, the abundance of these species positively correlates to thiosulphate and OrgC additions, and negatively to nitrate. In contrast, other sulphur metabolising genera, such as Brevundimonas spp. and Thiobacillus spp., demonstrate increased abundance in the presence of thiosulphate and nitrate. However, under these conditions, thiosulphate processing does not correspond to acidity generation. Identifying these organisms and their roles informs the development of critical sulfur baselines for mine wastewater management.