Outdoor research centre saved, but research limited

October 18, 2013

The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) may have been saved when the Ontario government pledged funding to keep it open, but a University of Alberta aquatic ecologist writes in the Toronto Star that scientists’ research at the outdoor research conservatory will be limited. Diane Orihel explains that the ELA, a region of 58 lakes in northwestern Ontario, allowed researchers to perform whole-ecosystem experiments, which help scientists determine cause-and-effect relationships in a controlled, but real-world, natural setting. However, when the federal government cancelled its legal agreement with the Ontario government, researchers lost the ability to perform these whole-ecosystem studies. Orihel adds that the “legal mess” that is keeping scientists from performing their studies should be sorted out. Toronto Star