To develop effective solutions for environmental concerns, we rely on research to guide our decisions. Here in the Land Between, we are fortunate to have ongoing and recent research on Lake Health that we can use to support stewardship initiatives. We have also gathered resources from local findings that can help us develop real-world solutions, such as the Blue Lakes project. We are grateful for the input from Dr. Andrea Kirkwood (Ontario Tech University), Trent University, Kawartha Lake Stewards, Muskoka Watershed Council, Lakehead University and other educational institutes. With their support, we are accessing recent and relevant science to support our stewardship efforts. Stay tuned for the latest research into fisheries, algae, invasive species and more.
We would also like to acknowledge some of the leading researchers studying lake health in The Land Between. We appreciate all of their efforts to highlight important issues related to our invaluable lakes, and have summarized some of their work below.
Dr. Andrea Kirkwood and the Kirkwood Lab
Dr. Andrea Kirkwood is an Associate Professor at Ontario Tech University, with research and teaching focused on aquatic ecosystems and environmental biology. She has led countless research projects focusing on lake health in regions such as The Land Between, and Lake Scugog. Her studies highlight the relationship between urbanization and aquatic health. More specifically, the Kirkwood lab has documented and characterized lakes with gradients in pH, alkalinity and nutrients, as well as shoreline development. Here at The Land Between, we use this valuable information to guide our community-based solutions such as the Blue Lakes project. Today, Dr. Andrea Kirkwood is actively involved in community-based stewardship initiatives.
The Kirkwood lab is currently supporting graduate student’s research that focuses on lake health in The Land Between. Emily Hassal completed her Master’s thesis which investigated water quality and plankton community patterns as a function of geological and spatial drivers across The Land Between. Emily visited 60 lakes across The Land Between in August of 2019 to sample water quality and plankton communities. She combined her data findings with land use information of each lake to investigate trends of land use and calcium gradient across the region. Overall, her research has provided insight into the important drivers of lake water quality and plankton communities in The Land Between.
Alana Tyner is a Master’s student at the Kirkwood Lab researching long-term water quality, land use, and water hardness in The Land Between. She is investigating calcium, chloride, conductivity, nitrate, phosphorus and temperature in lakes using data from 2002 - 2018. Alana is also using geographic mapping files from the Ontario Government to investigate the relationship between land use and water hardness categories. These parameters are used to determine if water “hardness” has unique water quality characteristics.
Via Kirkwood Lab
Dr. Norman Yan has worked as a research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for 25 years, and as a Professor at York University (now retired). Here, he completed research on stressors on Ontario’s lakes and conducted most of his research in Muskoka. His research goal was to understand the impacts of multiple environmental stressors on animal plankton within the millions of lakes in the Canadian Shield. Norman has co-authored over 200 publications on Canadian Lakes. Through his website, Dr. Norman Yan mentioned that he gains the most satisfaction not from awards, but from the knowledge that his research has contributed to and improved management of Ontario’s lakes. Currently, Norman is exploring the idea that wood ash from residential wood stoves can be used to restore soil and groundwater that has been stripped of calcium due to acid rain. This project, called ASHMuskoka, offers a chemically safe and biologically appropriate use to restore the calcium levels of lakes and soil in the Muskoka region, and potentially across Canada.
Dr. Paul C. Frost
Dr. Paul C. Frost is currently working as a Professor at Trent University where he researches and teaches about aquatic ecology. He facilitates research in the Frost Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology, focusing on the response of aquatic ecosystems to changes in nutrient levels. His studies have a particular focus on lakes in the Kawartha Lakes region, north of Peterborough. Recently, his research has examined animal responses to interactions among nutritional and environmental stressors.
U-links is a non-profit organization where university and college students are matched with community organizations in the Haliburton area to assist organizations with planning, research, or community service and development projects. Students earn course credits and gain practical experience in their field of study while helping to solve challenges in communities. Many projects focus on valuable environmental skills including aquatic monitoring. U-links has also created Woodlands and Waterways EcoWatch (WWEW) which isa community based environmental monitoring program. U-Links provides invaluable data for The Land Between region through their environmental monitoring projects.
Dr. Jennifer B. Korosi is a limnologist and professor researching the impact of human activities that create ecological change in aquatic ecosystems. She currently teaches at York University in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. The Korosi Lab studies trajectories of lake ecosystems change over hundreds to thousands of years through lake sediment cores with a geographical focus in southern Ontario and the Northwest Territories. The Korosi Lab has also studied cyanobacteria blooms in two Ontario lakes in Port Perry and Perry Sound that never previously reported problems with cyanobacteria.