Unravelling Water Quality Controls
Canada isteeming with lakes, streams and wetlands. Clean, healthy freshwaters supportbiodiversity and provide extensive health, economic and cultural benefits toCanadian communities. But the rates of climate change in northern borealregions are among the highest anywhere on Earth. Rising temperatures, changes inprecipitation, and declining snow cover will fundamentally alter how water andchemicals move through the environment, potentially threatening valuableaquatic resources.
How willenvironmental pressures, including climate change, affect water quality? Thisis the question that drives the work of Dr. Nora Casson, Canada Research Chairin Environmental Impacts on Water Quality. She and her research team are tryingto unravel the relationships between water and nutrient cycling to understandhow patterns and processes vary across the landscape and how human activities influencethe surface waters that drain forested ecosystems.
A robustunderstanding of the environmental controls on nutrient cycling in the borealregion is critical for informed decision-making that safeguards water quality. Casson’sresearch will expand our understanding of how human activities affect borealecosystems by diving into the mechanisms that underpin observed changes and lookingbroadly at controls on regional-scale patterns.
Throughinterdisciplinary collaboration with practitioners, decision-makers and other researchers,Casson’s research will inform management decisions to protect ecosystems andwater quality.