Scale and watershed features determine lake chemistry patterns across physiographic regions in the far north of Ontario, Canada

Submitted: 13 July 2016
Accepted: 12 October 2016
Published: 8 November 2016
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Changes in the far north of Ontario (>50°N latitude), like climate warming and increased industrial development, will have direct effects on watershed characteristics and lakes. To better understand the nature of remote northern lakes that span the Canadian Shield and Hudson Bay Lowlands, and to address the pressing need for limnological data for this vast, little-studied area of Ontario, lake chemistry surveys were conducted during 2011-2012. Lakes at the transition between these physiographic regions displayed highly variable water chemistry, reflecting the peatland landscape with a mix of bog and fen watersheds, and variations in the extent of permafrost. In the transition area, Shield and Lowlands lakes could not be clearly differentiated based on water chemistry; peat cover decouples, to varying degrees, the lakes from the influences of bedrock and surficial deposits. Regional chemistry differences were apparent across a much broader area of northern Ontario, due to large-scale spatial changes in geology and in the extent of peatlands and permafrost.  Shield lakes in the far northwest of Ontario had Ca, Mg, and TP concentrations markedly higher than those of many Lowlands lakes and previously studied Shield lakes south of 50°N, related to an abundance of lacustrine and glacial end-moraine deposits in the north.



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Supporting Agencies

Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Wildlife Conservation Society, Ontario Geological Survey
Josef MacLeod, Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit Laurentian University
Environmental Scientist
Wendel (Bill) Keller, Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit Laurentian University
Director, Climate Change and Multiple Stressor Research
Andrew M. Paterson, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Research Scientist
Richard D. Dyer, Ontario Geological Survey
John M. Gunn, Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit Laurentian University
Research Chair, Stressed Aquatic Systems

How to Cite

MacLeod, Josef, Wendel (Bill) Keller, Andrew M. Paterson, Richard D. Dyer, and John M. Gunn. 2016. “Scale and Watershed Features Determine Lake Chemistry Patterns across Physiographic Regions in the Far North of Ontario, Canada”. Journal of Limnology 76 (1).

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