Dr. Alice C. Ortmann

Image Alice Ortmann
Research Scientist

Working with the team at the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Reserch (COOGER), I carry out research to understand the fate, behaviour and effects of oil following a spill in the aquatic environment. My research specifically focuses on the interactions between oil and microorganisms, including those that can alter the fate and behaviour of oil. This includes organisms that can degrade the oil, transform the oil or alter the density of oil. To understand these interactions we use a range of analytical techniques, including genomics, applied to field and lab-based experiments.

Current research and/or projects

Fate, behaviour and effects of refine petroleum products in marine systems

Fate, behaviour and effects of diluted bitumen products in fresh, brackish and marine systems

Use of phytoplankton to develop an oil detection sensor (collaboration with NRC Halifax)

Measuring baseline concentrations of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon degrading microbes in coastal marine environments

Key publications

A. C. Ortmann, S. E. Cobanli, G. Wohlgeschaffen, J. MacDonald, A. Davis, B. Robinson, J. Mason and T. L. King. Diluent in diluted bitumen drives water column hydrocarbon concentrations and composition in marine waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, submitted.


J. Cederwall, T. Black, J. M. Blais, M. L. Hanson, B. P. Hollebone, V. P. Palace, J. L. Rodriguez-Gil, C. W. Greer, C. Maynard, A. C. Ortmann, R. C. Rooney, and D. M. Orihel. Life under an oil slick: Response of a freshwater food web to simulated spills of diluted bitumen in field mesocosms. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, accepted.


A. C. Ortmann, S. E. Cobanli, G. Wohlgeschaffen, P. Thamer, Claire McIntyre, J. Mason and T. L. King (2019) Inorganic nutrients have a significant, but minimal, impact on a coastal microbial community’s response to fresh


S. Ryan, G. Wohlgeschaffen, N. Jahan, H. Niu, A. C. Ortmann, T. R. Brown, T. L. King and J. Clyburne (2019) State of Knowledge on Fate and Behanvour of Ship-Source Petroleum Product Spills: Volumes 1-5. Canadian Manuscript Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3176. Fisheries and Oceans Canada.