Media Releases

Canada’s aquatic ecosystems research gets boost from NSERC

February 14, 2013

TORONTO, ON — Thanks to a fund­ing boost of $4.4 mil­lion, the NSERC Cana­di­an Net­work for Aquat­ic Ecosys­tems (CNAES) will play a key role in ensur­ing well-informed deci­sions are made when it comes to this country’s wet­lands, lakes and rivers.

The fund­ing, from the Nat­ur­al Sci­ences and Engi­neer­ing Research Coun­cil, in con­junc­tion with $4.3 mil­lion dol­lars of sup­port from part­ner orga­ni­za­tions, was recent­ly announced as part of the government’s Strate­gic Net­work Grants pro­gram which encour­ages large-scale, mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary, col­lab­o­ra­tive research projects that could improve Canada’s econ­o­my, soci­ety and envi­ron­ment with­in the next decade. The CNAES is a con­sor­tium of 27 researchers from 11 uni­ver­si­ties, Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment sci­en­tists, indus­tri­al part­ners and envi­ron­men­tal and tech­nol­o­gy asso­ci­a­tions that con­ducts research and train­ing in aquat­ic ecosys­tems.

“Our net­work address­es research con­cerns relat­ed to large north­ern wet­lands, con­nec­tions between healthy forests and healthy rivers, and lake ecosys­tems in Cana­da,” says Don Jack­son, direc­tor of CNAES, an aquat­ic ecol­o­gist in the Depart­ment of Ecol­o­gy and Evo­lu­tion­ary Biol­o­gy and inter­im direc­tor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s School of the Envi­ron­ment. “Cana­da is sub­ject to sig­nif­i­cant glob­al envi­ron­men­tal stres­sors, as well as pres­sures to devel­op its nat­ur­al resources. The CNAES pro­vides a means to devel­op the tools and knowl­edge essen­tial to inform gov­ern­ment, indus­try and oth­er stake­hold­ers in mak­ing informed deci­sions regard­ing devel­op­ment and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.”

“In our case, we con­sid­er the ‘goods and ser­vices’ that are pro­vid­ed by nature, such as nutri­ent pro­cess­ing, water reten­tion by wet­lands and the pro­duc­tion and qual­i­ty of fish in lakes and rivers,” says Jack­son. “The eco­nom­ic val­ue of such goods and ser­vices is esti­mat­ed at $60 bil­lion a year for south­ern Ontario alone.”

“We have an excel­lent group of researchers encom­pass­ing the aca­d­e­m­ic, gov­ern­men­tal and indus­tri­al sec­tors from across Cana­da. We draw on a breadth of exper­tise that includes remote sens­ing, bio­geo­chem­istry, fish ecol­o­gy, mod­el­ing and hydrol­o­gy,” says Jack­son. “We look for­ward to address­ing the chal­lenges fac­ing Cana­da and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty in gen­er­at­ing the sci­ence to inform pol­i­cy devel­op­ment, and to train­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers in this field.” Par­tic­i­pants in the CNAES include: Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia, Uni­ver­si­ty of Guelph, Lau­rent­ian Uni­ver­si­ty, McGill Uni­ver­si­ty, Uni­ver­si­ty of New Brunswick, Nipiss­ing Uni­ver­si­ty, Uni­ver­sité du Québec à Mon­tréal, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Trent Uni­ver­si­ty, Uni­ver­si­ty of Water­loo and West­ern Uni­ver­si­ty.

Research part­ner orga­ni­za­tions include: Alber­ta Inno­vates Tech­nol­o­gy Futures, DeBeers Cana­da, Fish­eries and Oceans Cana­da, Kongs­berg Mar­itime, Le Min­istère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec, Ontario Min­istry of Nat­ur­al Resources, Ontario Min­istry of the Envi­ron­ment, NRCan – Cana­di­an For­est Ser­vices and Parks Cana­da.

Media Con­tact:

Don Jack­son
CNAES, U of T’s Depart­ment of Ecol­o­gy and Evo­lu­tion­ary Biol­o­gy and School of the Envi­ron­ment
Phone: 416 978‑6526

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Jes­si­ca Lewis
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, U of T
Phone: 416–978-8887