A new Queen's study shows warmer temperatures are affecting lakes in the oilsands region

A recent collaborative research project between scientists from academia and government agencies has identified climate warming as the dominant driver of an increase in algal growth in the Athabasca oilsands region of northern Alberta.

Researchers used dated lake sediment cores to reconstruct past algal production and industrial impact at 23 remote, helicopter-accessed lakes in the oilsands region. Snowpack samples were also used to determine the nutrient deposition across the landscape.

The paper was co-authored by Queen’s University researcher John Smol (Biology) and Jamie Summers, a doctoral candidate in the Queen’s Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory.

“One of the biggest challenges we have in environmental work is the lack of reliable long-term monitoring data. Fortunately with lakes, their sediments act like a ‘history book’, archiving past environmental changes” says Dr. Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change.

Read the full story in the Queen's Gazette.