Early warning indicators as tools for freshwater monitoring

A myriad of environmental stressors are threatening freshwater ecosystems. However, monitoring the impacts of these stressors on economically and culturally important native fish populations remains a challenge. Ontario is a large province with hundreds of thousands of lakes, yet knowledge of ecological structure across lakes is limited, particularly for remote lakes in the Far North. The proposed research seeks to develop new, cost-effective indicators of fish population and freshwater ecosystem change, which are based on food web theory. We will use existing data, from southern to Far North inland lakes in Ontario, to establish relationships between altered feeding patterns, movement, and behaviour of fish, and environmental change (e.g., land use changes, climate change). The resultant indicators, based on these relationships, will provide Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada with the ability to more rapidly identify potential changes to ecosystem health given accelerating environmental change due to climate and industrial land use.

Faculty Supervisor:

Kevin McCann


Monica Granados


University of Guelph




Environmental industry


University of Guelph



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