Building a geospatial database for assessing effects of multiple stressors on inland lakes
Phosphorous is the key nutrient limiting fish productivity and algal growth in Ontario lakes: more phosphorous can mean more fish, but it can also mean more algal growth, and potentially even toxic blue-green algal blooms. Multiple stressors like climate change, human land-use practices, and shoreline development, all affect lake phosphorous levels beyond natural geo-climatic factors. Thus, lake water quality is carefully monitored by government and volunteer-based water-quality monitoring programs such as the Lake Partner Program (LPP). Data collected through the LPP are currently provided to partner organizations (e.g., FOCA) in tabular form or via maps of point-based lake samples, but FOCA and MOECC do not currently have a way to visualize these data in context (e.g., by providing monthly maps of expected lake phosphorous levels across Southern Ontario to their members); nor do they have a method to characterize monitored lake catchments for land-based attributes and multiple stressors. The intern will undertake research to visualize phosphorous, calcium and water clarity data with continuous maps. S/he will also characterize local and upstream lake catchment characteristics using publicly available geo-spatial data (land-use, geology, climate, human impacts, etc.).