Long-term Ecosystem Science

Long-term monitoring and research focuses on headwater lakes and streams. Sensitive to environmental change, monitoring of headwater systems aims to encompass multiple and interacting issues that affect inland waters. This includes work on climate change, long-term decline in calcium and phosphorus concentrations, causes of algal blooms, and impacts from road salt application.

Coordinated by Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks staff, monitoring provides the context for the work of many universities, government and non-governmental organizations. This community continues to grow, and we welcome participation by anyone that will benefit from using DESC long-term data.

Collectively, DESC monitoring initiatives are designed to capture the chemistry, physics and biology of wetlands, lakes and streams and include:

  1. Intensively-sampled group of lakes (the Dorset “A lakes”) with over 40 years of data. These lakes are sampled on a monthly to bi-weekly schedule during the ice-free season, with limited sampling in some years during the winter.
  2. Intensively-sampled group of lake inflows and lake outflows on the Dorset "A lakes" with over 40 years of data. Sampled bi-weekly to weekly year round.
  3. Real-time monitoring of  meteorology, lake inflows and lake outflows at Dorset "A lakes".  
  4. High-frequency monitoring of meteorology, lake physics and algal biomass from environmental monitoring buoys.
  5. An additional group of lakes (the Dorset “B lakes”) with over 30 years of data. These lakes are sampled in the spring, and visited for end-of-summer oxygen concentrations in late summer.
  6. Broader spatial surveys that contribute to larger regional datasets. 
monitoring of inland waters