Experimental Lakes

While there are not a large number of experimental lakes research facilities in the world, the Canadian and Ontario governments have established one such area in Northwestern Ontario. The experimental lakes area (ELA) includes 58 small lakes and their drainage basins, plus some additional stream segments. Studies on nutrient enrichment in two basins of a lake divided by a plastic curtain showed that in this lake limiting levels of phosphorus could control eutrophication. The picture shown in Figure 11 is of a lake that was divided into two sections by a plastic divider. The

Figure 11 One of the lakes from the Canadian Experimental Lakes Area partitioned with a plastic curtain. The upper part of the lake was dosed with carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, the lower part was dosed with carbon and nitrogen. Reproduced by permission of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

lower section of the lake received environmentally relevant concentrations of carbon and nitrogen, while the upper section received carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. The bright green scum of algae on the surface of the upper lake was the result of the phosphorus additions. This study along with other monitoring studies by Ontario's Ministry of the Environment led Canada to become the first country to ban phosphate detergents. Studies have also been carried out in the ELA on acid precipitation, heavy metals, and the effects of flooding of vegetation as a result of reservoir construction. More recently, studies have been undertaken to measure the effects of ethynylestradiol on fathead minnow and pearl dace populations (see the section on 'endocrine disruption').

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