Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ontario’s "cottage country" lakes see increase in taste and odour-causing algae

09.03.2004


Ninety per cent of the lakes surveyed in a new study of Ontario’s “cottage country” north of Toronto have seen a significant rise in taste and odour-causing algae – most dramatically in the past 20 years, the researchers report.


Photo credit: Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE).



One of the most frequent complaints voiced by cottagers to local officials is that water in their lakes periodically tastes or smells bad.

A common cause of such problems is blooms of small algae (microscopic plants) that thrive in some of these lakes. Although the frequency of taste and odour complaints seems to be growing steadily, it is unclear whether the problems themselves are increasing or if local users are more sensitized to these issues.


A study published in the current edition of the scientific journal Freshwater Biology examines sediment from 50 lake bottoms in the Muskoka-Haliburton region of Ontario. The results show taste and odour-causing algae have increased in 90 per cent of these lakes since the early 1800s, with a marked rise over the past two decades.

This phenomenon can’t be blamed solely on “local human impact,” says team member John Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and co-head of Queen’s University’s Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL). “It’s a complex of patterns, which we think involves some combination of acidic deposition and climate change,” explains Dr. Smol.

“The timing indicates that these patterns are the result of one or more human-caused stresses operating at a broad, regional scale,” says lead investigator Andrew Paterson, a former doctoral student at Queen’s. “We present new evidence suggesting that disturbances such as acid rain and climatic warming may produce significant, unprecedented changes to the algae of inland lakes, with important implications for water quality.”

Lake water that smells and tastes foul can be traced to a variety of sources, including chemical pollution and dead fish, but the most common cause is a group of algae called chrysophytes. These microscopic organisms produce scales and spines made of glass that are well preserved in lake sediment.

Through an analysis of sediment cores, the researchers were able to reconstruct the history of these lakes, and compare the distribution of chrysophyte algae over different time periods. Their study shows that substantial increase began in the 1930s-1950s, with the sharpest rise over the past two decades.

“This is a classic example where environmental issues have been debated, and decisions made, based on very short-term data sets – typically two to three years,” says Dr. Smol. “Yet most of the answers lie much further back in time. These sediment records are extremely valuable, because no one was measuring algae 80 or 100 years ago.”

Also on the research team are biologists Brian Cumming from Queen’s and Roland Hall from the University of Waterloo. Funding for the study was provided by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship program, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Nancy Dorrance | Queen´s University
Further information:
http://qnc.queensu.ca/story_loader.php?id=404cb24866958

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>