Lake of the Woods Paleolimnology
   :Lake of the Woods (LoW) Paleolimnological Project

Welcome to the LoW paleo website!


The Lake of the Woods (LoW) Paleolimnology group is part of a research team consisting of scientists and students from the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (P.E.A.R.L.) in the Biology Department, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada and from the Dorset Research Centre, Ontario Ministry of the Environment. This study is funded in part by a Best in Science Research Program grant established by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Our research focuses on studying historical (last ~300± years) and longer-term (~10,000± years) water quality and environmental changes on this large, complex, and beautiful lake.

paleolimnological indicators: diatoms, cladocerans, chironomids We mainly study microscopic organisms that live in the lake including siliceous algae (e.g. diatoms and chrysophytes) and invertebrates such as the water flea (Cladocera) and the non-biting midges (chironomids).

When these organisms die, their remains sink through the water column and are incorporated into the sediment that accumulates at the bottom of the lake. The composition of these aquatic organisms enables them to preserve well in the sediments allowing us to examine changes in assemblage composition in a sedimentary sequence. By examining the taxonomy and ecology of these aquatic organisms that inhabit all parts of the lake, we can better understand how changes in the physical and chemical properties of the lake affects changes in community structure.  These organisms are sensitive to changes in their environment, remain stable within a sedimentary sequence, and are able to respond quickly to a given change. These characteristics make these aquatic organisms ideal and reliable paleolimnological indicators that allow us to infer changes resulting from climatic and anthropogenic causes.

To learn more about the Lake of the Woods and Paleolimnology, be sure to visit our slideshows by pressing the images at the right of the screen.