Jason M. E. Ahad

Image Jason Michael Elias Ahad
Research Scientist

Since joining the Geological Survey of Canada in January 2009, I have been responsible for the scientific development and management of environmental isotope organic geochemistry research at the Delta-Lab (GSC-Québec). My research activities involve carrying out my own laboratory work, supervising/co-supervising technicians, graduate and co-op students, and procuring new equipment and instrumentation necessary for the type of cutting-edge research carried out in the Delta-lab.

Current research and/or projects

My current research projects are focused on the use of novel and existing methods in applied isotope geochemistry to understand the environmental impact associated with the development of Canada’s unconventional energy resources. This research falls under the framework of Natural Resources Canada’s Environmental Geoscience Program, and addresses our Department’s mandate to promote the responsible use of Canada's natural resources.

Research and/or project statements

  1. Characterizing and quantifying Athabasca oil sands organic acids (i.e., ‘naphthenic acids’) in environmental samples.
  2. Evaluating microbial uptake of petroleum-derived compounds in groundwater and oil sands tailings ponds.
  3. Delineating sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Athabasca oil sands region.
  4. Evaluating the vulnerability of shallow groundwater resources to shale gas and shale oil exploration and exploitation.

Professional activities / interests

My areas of expertise include:

  • stable isotope geochemistry
  • organic geochemistry
  • contaminants
  • radiocarbon (14C)
  • hydrogeology

Education and awards

Ph.D., Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 2005

M.Sc., Geology, University of Toronto, 2000

B.Sc., Geology, University of Ottawa, 1997

International experience and/or work

Prior to arriving at NRCan, I carried out postdoctoral research at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), Queen’s University Belfast, and McMaster University.

Key publications

Ahad, J.M.E., Pakdel, H., Gammon, P.R., Siddique, T., Kuznetsova, A., Savard, M.M., 2018. Evaluating in situ biodegradation of 13C-labelled naphthenic acids in groundwater near oil sands tailings ponds. Science of The Total Environment 643, 392-399.

Ahad, J.M.E., Jautzy, J., Cumming, B.F., Das, B., Laird, K.R., Sanei, H., 2015. Sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to northwestern Saskatchewan lakes east of the Athabasca oil sands. Organic Geochemistry 80, 35-45.

Jautzy, J.J., Ahad, J.M.E., Gobeil, C., Smirnoff, A., Barst, B.D., Savard, M.M., 2015. Isotopic evidence for oil sands petroleum coke in the Peace-Athabasca Delta. Environmental Science & Technology 49, 12062−12070.

Ahad, J.M.E., Pakdel, H., 2013. Direct evaluation of in situ biodegradation in Athabasca oil sands tailings ponds using natural abundance radiocarbon. Environmental Science & Technology 47, 10214−10222.

Ahad, J.M.E., Pakdel, H., Savard, M.M., Calderhead, A.I., Gammon, P.R., Rivera, A., Headley, J.V., Peru, K.M., 2013. Characterization and quantification of mining-related “naphthenic acids” in groundwater near a major oil sands tailings pond. Environmental Science & Technology 47, 5023−5030.

Jautzy, J., Ahad, J.M.E., Gobeil, C., Savard, M.M., 2013. Century-long source apportionment of PAHs in Athabasca oil sands region lakes using diagnostic ratios and compound-specific carbon isotope signatures. Environmental Science & Technology 47, 6155-6163.