Current Research | Mar 4, 2021

Discovering the Impacts of Antidepressants on our Lakes

Antidepressants are a lifeline for millions of people across North America and the world. And as COVID-19 measures have taken their toll, it seems like prescriptions are growing.

Over the last two decades, an increasing number of studies have confirmed the widespread presence of pharmaceutical compounds, including those found in antidepressants, in aquatic environments.

While laboratory studies have revealed some of the possible impacts of these compounds (such as behavioural changes in fish who have demonstrated slower response times), our understanding of the fate, behaviour, and effects of these compounds in aquatic ecosystems is still limited.

That is why, in 2021, after preparatory small-scale experiments, we are exploring what happens when venlafaxine, a commonly prescribed anti-depressant, is introduced into freshwater environments.

Our research aims to discover everything from how the compounds bioaccumulate at different levels of the food web to the overall impacts on fish populations.

You can learn more about this research into antidepressants in this short blog post.

This research is being carried out in collaboration with the University of Manitoba and the University of Saskatchewan with funding from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.