Glimmer of hope for freshwater research site

This story was originally posted on the Nature News Blog. 

The government of Ontario, Canada, has stepped in to keep open the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA). The freshwater research facility, located in northern Ontario, was closed in March by the government of Canada, despite protests from scientists.

Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that the government of Ontario will provide support to keep the ELA running this year and in … Read the rest

Test lakes face closure

Lake 239 looks inviting. Pines and spruce fringe the shoreline and waves lap against outcrops of weathered granite. But on this hot August afternoon in northwestern Ontario (see ‘Water works’), one feature stands out. At the far end of the 800-metre-long lake, a series of plastic-walled columns descend from a floating dock to the muddy bottom about 2 metres down. They are the sign that the lake’s placid setting … Read the rest

Scientists call for no-fishing zone in Arctic


Thousands of scientists from 67 countries have called for an international agreement to close the Arctic high seas to commercial fishing until research reveals more about the freshly exposed waters.

Recent Arctic sea-ice retreat during the summer months has opened up some of the waters that fall outside of the exclusive economic zones of the nations that circle the polar ocean. In all, more than 2.8 million square kilometres … Read the rest

Regime Change: Q&A with John Smol


A freshwater ecologist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Smol studies lake sediments to understand climatic and environmental change. Nature Outlook asks him to share his experience.

What can we learn from lake sediments?
One of the biggest challenges in environmental science is the lack of long-term data, so we have to use indirect proxies. All over the planet, lakes act as passive samplers of the environment, recording … Read the rest

Mixed Reviews for Quebec’s Plan Nord

The government of Quebec (Canada) has launched its multibillion-dollar Plan Nord, which will open the vast northern reaches of the province to mining and energy development–and protect 50% of the territory from economic development.

The 1.2-million-square-kilometre region—twice the size of France—is known for its wild rivers, biodiversity, diverse ecosystems and a large swath (about 20%) of Canada’s boreal forest. Boreal forest covers more than 25% of Quebec. More than … Read the rest