Lakehead University’s Dr. Michael Rennie, assistant professor of Biology and Canada Research Chair in Freshwater Ecology and Fisheries, recently received an Early Researcher Award of $100,000 through the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science.
With an additional $50,000 from Lakehead University, the five-year grant supports Dr. Rennie’s research to restore the ecology of lakes negatively impacted by industry.
“This award gives our research group a lot of exciting opportunities for student-led investigations into ecosystem restoration projects both at the International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area and on Lake Superior,” said Dr. Rennie, adding, “It’s such an honour to receive the award and we’re very excited about the science it will generate.”
Thousands of Ontario lakes and many more around the world have been negatively impacted by industry. The restoration of lakes impacted by the release of nutrients and mining/smelting activities has been happening for decades, but according to Dr. Rennie, biological recovery in many of these ecosystems has been slow and difficult to gauge due to a lack of pre-impact information.
At the Experimental Lakes Area, Dr. Rennie and his team of two PhD students, two Masters of Science students and three undergraduate summer students will develop methods to determine the presence of keystone species in ecosystems with help from Lakehead’s Paleo-DNA lab. They will use that information to develop methods for enhancing lake ecosystem recovery through an experimental reintroduction of native biological species.
Insights gained from studying fish behaviour on the Great Lakes will help improve the restoration of over-fished populations.
“Congratulations to Dr. Rennie and his team for receiving this provincial grant,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation, “I look forward to seeing the results of this important research, which will provide excellent hands-on experience for Lakehead students.”
Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2018 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, as well as first in Total Research Dollars, second for Citations, and third for Scholarships and Bursaries. In 2017, Research Infosource named Lakehead “Research University of the Year” in its category for the third consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.
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