Scientific Neighbours - Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  â€“          

Scientific Neighbours

Five Lakes and one very dedicated team of scientists

(from the current IISD newsletter):

Winter has truly set in here at the world’s freshwater laboratory, but that doesn’t mean that the science stops.

Throughout the winter, when we aren’t monitoring the lakes we are spying on our lakes to check when they freeze over, tracking fish, collecting snow samples, and looking pretty cool riding our snowmobiles across the lakes.

The Story Is In The Mud

In every lake, including those at IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA), a constant rain of particles settles through the water to become the mud on the bottom. Mud in the quietest and deepest waters is made up of newly deposited particles at the point where the mud and water meet, with older and older material underneath.

By looking at changes in the nature of these particles with depth in the mud, we can reconstruct long-term changes in a lake. These changes may be associated with climate change, human activities, forest fires and other events. For example, the remains of microscopic plants and animals are preserved in lake sediments and changes in their composition can provide evidence of changes in water quality. Settling particles also reflect the chemistry of a lake at the time they were deposited. In combination with radiometric dating methods, we can accurately reconstruct changes in a lake over periods from a few years back to the time a lake was created.

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