Le GRIL : 25 ans en écologie aquatique

Beatrix Beisner1, Bernadette Pinel-Alloul2 et Claudette Blanchard2
1GRIL, Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal
2GRIL, Département de sciences biologiques, Université de Montréal

[an english version of this post appears in Issue 8 of our newsletter, The Current]

L’année 2015 marque le 25e anniversaire du GRIL – le Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en limnologie et en environnement aquatique – vous le connaissez peut-être comme le groupe de limnologie au Québec. Le GRIL est financé depuis 1993 par le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) à titre de réseau stratégique de recherche.

Cependant, la véritable naissance du GRIL a été en 1989 quand il a été formé par des limnologistes enthousiastes de quatre universités : l'Université de Montréal (UdeM), l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), l'Université McGill et de l'Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). Depuis les années 1970, Montréal hébergait un noyau de chercheurs en limnologie composé de deux principaux groupes concurrents : celui associé au professeur Étienne Magnin à l'UdeM et celui associé au professeur Frank Rigler à l'Université McGill et auquel se sont joints les professeurs Jacob Kalff et Rob Peters peu de temps après. C’est au cours d’une année sabbatique à l'Université McGill en 1984, et à travailler plus étroitement avec Jacob Kalff, que la professeure Bernadette Pinel-Alloul de l'UdeM a été inspiré pour créer un nouveau réseau de recherche en limnologie. Elle a obtenu 50 000 $ en fonds de démarrage de l’UdeM et a trouvé un allié solide en la personne de Rob Peters pour créer le GRIL. Jacob Kalff, Pierre Legendre et Dolors Planas se sont rapidement impliqués, de même que plusieurs jeunes chercheurs dynamiques : John Downing, Antonella Cattaneo, David Bird, Yves Prairie et Pierre Magnan. Le financement initial du GRIL provenait des quatre universités fondatrices. Le groupe a élaboré sa première demande de subvention à partir de plusieurs discussions bilingues, grandement synthétisées par le talentueux Rob Peters. La première subvention de 150 000 $ a été attribuée par le FCAR (maintenant FRQNT) en 1993, positionnant ainsi le GRIL sur la scène de la recherche canadienne.

Depuis sa fondation, le GRIL a grandi et s’est épanoui grâce aux conseils de trois directeurs : Bernadette Pinel-Alloul de l'UdeM (1989-1999), Yves Prairie de l'UQAM (2000-2008) et Pierre Magnan de l'UQTR (2008-2015). Nous espérons une bonne continuité sous la direction de notre quatrième directrice, Beatrix Beisner de l'UQAM. Depuis les tout débuts, Claudette Blanchard a assuré l’administration du groupe; aujourd’hui, le GRIL est aussi grandement aidé par deux agents de liaison scientifique : Marie-Andrée Fallu (depuis 2006) et Pierre-Olivier Benoit (depuis 2014). Le GRIL a un Comité d'étudiants actif et plusieurs laboratoires analytiques pour les échantillons aquatiques gérés par du personnel de recherche hautement qualifié. Quatre nouveaux établissements membres (INRS-ETE, Université de Sherbrooke, Université Concordia, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi) se sont ajoutés aux quatre établissements fondateurs.

Depuis quelques années, le GRIL s’est engagé dans des projets de collaboration de recherche écologique à long terme (sur des lacs sentinelles instrumentés et le lac Saint-Pierre), activités qui sont étroitement alignées avec le GLEON (y compris la co-organisation du congrès GLEON16). Pour faciliter la formation, le GRIL offre des subventions de recherche conjointes pour les étudiants codirigés par ses membres. Le GRIL gère aussi ÉcoLac, un programme CRSNG-FONCER (avec le Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit à l'Université Laurentienne et le Canadian Rivers Institute à l'UNB), qui favorise la formation de limnologistes. Nos membres et notre personnel agissent à titre de consultants auprès de ministères du gouvernement du Québec (Environnement et Ressources naturelles), ainsi qu’auprès de réseaux dédiés à la gestion de l’eau au Québec (p. ex. ROBVQ, ABQ). En plus de faciliter la recherche et la formation à travers notre réseau, la sensibilisation publique représente une grande partie des activités du GRIL. Nous participons à des activités grand public telles que le 24 heures de sciences (partout au Québec), le Festival Eureka! et le Forum national sur les lacs, entre autres. Nous avons également un symposium annuel au cours duquel nos chercheurs et nos étudiants ainsi que deux limnologistes de renommée internationale présentent et discutent de leurs recherches dans un environnement entièrement bilingue et très animé. Une tradition annuelle depuis mars 1991! Vive le GRIL!

25 ans du GRIL en chiffres :

Publications avec évaluation par les pairs : 1663
Livres publiés : 14

Étudiants M.Sc. : 549
Étudiants Ph.D. : 244
Stagiaires postdoctoraux : 128

Inland waters vs. Oceans cage-match: upcoming special issue

From Maggie Xenopoulos, Professor, Trent University and SCL member

We are currently getting organized for a special issue of Limnology and Oceanography to be printed in 2017 on emphasizing the changes and contrasts in biogeochemistry, biodiversity, ecology and/or evolution from limnology to oceanography. We are looking for a broad range of topic areas and approaches across aquatic ecosystems.
Related to this special issues is a Special Session (SS26): “Headwaters to oceans: ecological and biogeochemical contrasts across the aquatic continuum” to be held at the ASLO 2016 summer meeting in Santa Fe. This session will be chaired by a handful of L&O Associate Editors (myself, John Downing, Maren Voss, Susanne Menden-Deuer, Dileep Kumar) and Editor-in-Chief (Robert Howarth).

We encourage you to submit your abstracts to this session before the upcoming deadline (2 February, 2016).
The abstract session is pasted below.
Please visit the meeting website: https://www.sgmeet.com/aslo/santafe2016/default.asp
Please also forward to your students and colleagues.
We hope to see you in Santa Fe in June.

SS26: “Headwaters to oceans: ecological and biogeochemical contrasts across the aquatic continuum”
This session emphasizes transformations and changes in ecology and biogeochemistry of waters across the continuum of ASLO’s fields: from limnology to oceanography. The session will be the seed for a 2017 special issue of Limnology and Oceanography and is organized by six of the journal’s editors. Abstracts emphasizing intellectual and scientific exchanges across limnology and oceanography; large-scale, emerging ideas; and transformations across inland-water to oceanic gradient will be especially welcome. Some potential topic areas might include nutrient and carbon dynamics, including release, transportation, transformation, and spiraling; food web continua, including functional changes, biodiversity gradients, and P/R; comparisons of the same principles and functions among ecosystems at different points in the continuum; comparison of the same phenomenon or finding among diverse aquatic ecosystems (e.g., acidification, foodweb strength, responses to pollution); and transformation across freshwater to wetland/coastal systems. Reviews, secondary analyses, and meta-analyses taking a comparative approach across systems will also be welcome.

Meeting round-up; #CCFFR 2016

Jerome Marty, SCL President
Twitter: @JmartyMarty

About 240 scientists attended the 69th SCL-CCFFR January 7-9, held in St John's NF this year. The 2 day conference started with 3 great plenary lectures. Julia Baum from U. of Victoria gave the Stevenson lectures on the current state of marine conservation in Canada compared to other countries; in it, she indicated how we clearly have some work to do to better protect our oceans. This message was well-received by Nick Whalen, newly-elected MP from St John's East who registered for and attended the entire conference. The Rigler Award, our society's highest honour, was presented to Bill Taylor from U. Waterloo, who then presented a the Rigler lecture. The lecture gave an overview of methods and limitations of phosphorous measurements in lakes. His lecture helped to remind us that in many lakes, over 70% of phosphorus is contained in fish!

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Left to Right- Matt Bogard (Rob Peters Award winner, 2016); SCL President Jerome Marty; Bill Taylor (Frank Rigler Award winner, 2016)

For the first time, we were able to include a lecture from the student receiving the Peters award in our plenary session (a tradition we very much hope to continue). We have a great generation of up-and-coming aquatic scientists, and this gives them an excellent opportunity to help highlight the research that was selected as the focus of their award. Congratulation Matt Bogart for a great talk on methane production in lakes (even under oxic conditions!). This is now giving pause to all of us deciphering carbon sources to consumers using carbon isotopes...

The usual business meeting of the society was the opportunity to communicate positive and encouraging numbers for the SCL. Our membership is growing, providing a financial stability to allow us to think about new projects and opportunities. Among these discussed was a vote in favor of a student travel award to support participation to the next SIL conference, this summer in Torino, Italy (members can expect an e-mail about this shortly). We are moving forward with the incorporation of the society to more actively allow us to seek funding from a broader range of sources, and also to finally, officially "exist" as a society. Thank you to Alain Patoine (our VP) for collecting information on how to incorporate and to Norm Yan for helping prepare the new wording required for our by Laws as this initiative moves forward.

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The view into St. John's Harbour during CCFFR 2016 this January.

An excellent Science Communication session was also held, and in keeping with the theme, Michelle Lavery (student at UNB Fredericton) created a storify page around the tweets from that session: https://storify.com/jmlavery/ccffr-scicomm-session. You can follow Michelle on twitter at @JMichelleLavery.

Next year the conference will be a big one, led by limnologists : we are heading back to Montreal. Look forward to seeing you there!

(Note: a version of this blog post will appear in our upcoming issue of our newsletter, The Current. Watch for it soon!)

2016 Water resources and wetlands meeting

The Romanian Limnogeographical Association (RLA) in collaboration with the German Limnological Society (GLS), Polish Limnological Society (PLS), Danube Delta National Institute Tulcea (DDNI) and the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority (DDBRA) would like to invite you to take part in the 3rd International Conference “Water resources and wetlands” set to take place between 8-10 September, 2016 in the “Delta” Hotel in Tulcea, Romania.

Deadline for Registration and Abstract Submission - 30 January 2016.

Conference website: http://www.limnology.ro/wrw2016/abstract.html

Issue 8 of The Current is out!

Current issue 8covOur latest issue of our society newsletter is now out and hot off the press.

Great articles in this month's issue include:

  • President's message
  • A tribute to Keith Somers, director of the Dorset Environmental Research Centre, upon his retirement
  • Research Highlight on the MAES project in New Brunswick
  • Limnology on Stage
  • 25 Years of the GRIL
  • Announcing our 2016 Award Winners
  • Student Spotlight
  • A "Premier" Limnology Field Course
  • Upcoming meeting information for the SCL/CCFFR 2016 conference in St. John's, Jan 7-9
  • Member recognition, and Recent Citings, highlighting some of the great work coming from our members!

All that and more! Give it a read today!

Announcing our 2016 Award winners!

The Frank Rigler Award is SCL's highest honour, recognizing major achievements in limnology. At the 2016 SCL/CCFFR meeting in St John’s, Dr. Bill Taylor from the University of Waterloo will be recognized for his leadership and influential contributions to Canadian limnology.

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Bill Taylor, 2016 Recipient of the Frank Rigler Award, recognizing significant achievement in the field of Limnology

Bill’s focus on microbial ecology, and on nutrient dynamics, a passion of Rigler, makes this award particularly fitting. Bill’s work has informed our understanding of nutrient dynamics, and associated eutrophication concerns on 4 continents. More broadly, his work has included both the fundamental and applied, on topics ranging from microbes to zooplankton, plants, fish, invasive species and watersheds. Bill has published more than 100 papers, and is noted for his extensive contribution to university service, and student training. He has also served as a member of the International Joint Commission, addressing issues of eutrophication, invasive species, and ecosystem health.
Some of Bill’s most influential work demonstrated that our most commonly used spectrophotometric methods for measuring phosphate concentrations yield vast overestimates of phosphate concentration, and that planktonic phosphorus regeneration is a key to planktonic supplies. We look forward to Bill’s plenary lecture in St John’s.

Matt Bogard, recipient of the Rob Peters Award recognizing the best student paper in Limnology published in the past year.

Matt Bogard, recipient of the Rob Peters Award recognizing the best student paper in Limnology published in the past year.

We are also pleased to recognize Matt Bogard as this year’s Peters Award winner. A PhD candidate at Université du Québec à Montréal will be awarded the Robert Peters Award for best student paper.   Matt’s 2014 paper “Oxic water column methanogenesis as a major component of aquatic CH4 fluxes”, published in Nature Communications (5: 5350 DOI 10.1038/ncomms6350) demonstrates that oxic lake waters can produce methane at high rates, and indeed, oxic production can be a large proportion of lake emissions.  This runs contrary to the classical understanding of methanogenesis as an anaerobic process.  Matt’s work shows that methane production is related to algal productivity, and as such, methane emissions are increased as a result of eutrophication.  His paper integrated large scale mesocosm experiments, whole lake budgets, stable isotopes, and a metaanalysis. Matt will also present his work based on this paper at the meeting in St. John's.

Congratulations to both our award winners!

Wetzel Memorial Fund: SIL Congress Travel Award for students and early-career professionals

The Wetzel Memorial Fund was created in 2004 through a request from Robert G. Wetzel. Following one of Robert Wetzel’s highest priorities, this fund will be used to pay SIL-related expenses of young limnologists throughout the world that might otherwise be unable to participate in SIL activities. In particular, the Wetzel Memorial Fund will be used for travel support of those SIL members who are presenting a paper (orally or by poster) at SIL congress meetings.

Awards from the Wetzel Memorial Fund will range USD 100 - 1000 per individual, depending on the number of successful applicants and the distance to be travelled to the meeting.

The Application form is available at the SIL website at

http://www.limnology.org/committees/wetzel.shtml

Candidates must be SIL members that will make a presentation at the congress. Previous award recipients are not eligible to apply again.

Applications are to be no more than 2 - 4 pages, to include a summary of the applicant’s career, with a list of publications and an abstract of the proposed presentation. It should explain how the awardee will raise the rest of the sum needed, and a short justification for asking for an award. Two letters of recommendation should accompany the application.

Recipients will be chosen from acceptable entries by the SIL awards committee.

The award recipient must file a brief report within 1 month after the congress on experiences gained from participating in the congress. As those reports or parts of them may be posted on the SIL website and Facebook page, photographs included will be welcome.

Application for the 2016 SIL Congress
The application form for the 2016 SIL congress is available also on the Congress website at http://www.sil2016.it
Send applications by email attachment to siloffice1922@gmail.com by 1 November 2015.

Frank Rigler award nominations now open!

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Dave Schindler rocking the v-neck at the Experimental Lakes Area, circa 1979, our first Rigler award winner (1984). Photo credit D.F. Brakke via ASLO website.

Who's your favourite Canadian Limnologist? Someone that's made a lasting contribution to limnology in Canada and around the world. It's a well represented list so far, and we're looking to add another for 2016. You can find all the details on what's required for your nomination here, as well as information about our current recipient and Frank Rigler, whom the award honours.

Thanks to NRC research press for sponsoring this award and helping us honour our very best!

Diving into science in Ontario

Throughout Canada, if an academic institution is interested in scientific research diving, the Canadian Association for Underwater Science (CAUS) defines the training standards that need to be followed to carry out the work involved. However, in Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Labour requires by law (Occupational Health and Safety Act, Ontario Regulation 629/94 Diving Operations) that scientific divers be trained to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z275.4 Diving Competency. These CSA standards are designed for traditional commercial diving (e.g., underwater construction, dam or pipe inspection, welding, explosives, vessel recovery). This commercial dive training is a full, one-year program ($13 500 minimally), and constitutes a level of training that is well outside the time and financial constraints of Masters or Ph.D research programs. As a consequence, academic-based research diving in Ontario has either been driven underground or has stopped completely.

To overcome these above constraints, faculty from Carleton University, Guelph University and Queen’s University collaborated to design and run a 2 1⁄2 week practical Restricted Occupational Diving course recently approved by the Ontario Ministry of Labour (July 2013) and accredited by the Diving Certification Board of Canada (January 2014). This new course trains the academic research community (i.e., fourth-year undergraduate students, Master or Ph.D. students, and Lab Technicians and Faculty) to conduct scientific dives in compliance with Ontario regulations. Upon successful completion of the course, including all formative and summative activities, students will be able to design, develop, and illustrate a comprehensive research dive program in accordance to their stated research objectives, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act Ontario Regulation 629/94 Diving Operations.

Specific learning outcomes include:

●  Describe safe diving practices as a (a) diver, (b) safety diver, and (c) dive tender in accordance to the Occupational Health and Safety Act Ontario Regulation 629/94 Diving Operations.

●  Explain diving physics, physiology, equipment, diving hazards, communication and rigging as these relate to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z275.5.

●  Design safe non-decompression multi-day research dive-plans using Canadian DCIEM dive tables.

●  Compare the advantages and disadvantages of various sampling methodologies used by research divers (e.g., transects, quadrats, benthic sampling, habitat profiling, sediment coring, behavioural observations, photo stratification, video transects) to address different research goals.

●  Choose appropriate statistical models to analyze complex data sets typically obtained from scientific research diving activities.

Course Details:

  • Schedule: July 10th - July 26th, 2015. The daily routine comprises morning and afternoon dives (min. 25 required) with evening classes.
  • Location: Queens University Biological Research Station (QUBS) 280 Queen's University Rd., RR #1, Elgin,ON http://www.queensu.ca/qubs/index.html
  • Accommodations: Registration fee includes accommodation and daily meals at QUBS, and airfills for the duration of the course.
  • Registration fee: $2200/participant (estimated)
  • Equipment: Participants are required to provide personal dive gear including: a cold water wetsuit or drysuit, dive knife, weight belt & weights (sufficient for drysuit diving), mask, snorkel, fins, dive flashlight, bottom timer (e.g., dive watch or dive computer), dive compass, 2 tanks, and regulator and BCD (serviced within 6 months of course beginning). A sleeping bag and pillow is also recommended. A laptop is also required.

Prerequisites
To register for this course, participants must have:

  • Received medical clearance to dive through completion of an occupational diving medical.
  • Achieved at minimum, an open-water sport diving certification from a recognized sport diving organization.
  • Minimum of 20 dives and 10 hours bottom time logged.
  • Current First Aid and CPR.
  • Current Oxygen Provider certification.

For more information on the course and to register, contact Dr. Nigel Waltho, Carleton University, tel: 613-520-2600 x8764, email: nigel.waltho@carleton.ca, or Dr. Geof Hall, Queen’s University, tel 613-533-3412, email: gh26@queensu.ca.