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The Threat of Algal Blooms in Muskoka with Research Scientist Norman Yan

August 10, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


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Once again algal blooms! Why is it happening? What should we do? What role can Muskoka play? Join us for a talk and discussion by Norman Yan

Join us for a talk and discussion by Norman Yan PhD FRSC, director, Friends of the Muskoka Watershed

Algal blooms are once again on the rise in Ontario, this time in seemingly pristine, nutrient-poor lakes. In his presentation, Yan will illustrate how one invader, the spiny water flea, coupled with rising road salt use and falling calcium levels in our lakes may all be contributing causes, and that climate change multiplies the threat. Yan will reflect on how appropriate knowledge about environmental problems can inspire the public will to act. Science can drive solutions if our democracy is functioning well. Yan will conclude with a dream, suggesting that Muskoka is a logical location for a world-class environmental research centre that could generate the knowledge needed to protect our unique and treasured Muskoka lakescape.

Norman Yan PhD FRSCSenior Research Scholar, York University Director, Friends of the Muskoka Watershed

Brief Biography

First with the Ontario government, then at York University, and finally with the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed, Norman Yan has devoted half a century of work to understanding human impacts on Ontario’s lakes, how the damage can be fixed, and its re-occurrence prevented. Norman did his MSc on the effects of acid rain on the microscopic plants in lakes, the phytoplankton, and his PhD on effects of metals on animal plankton, the “little living lawnmowers in our lakes”. He and his wife Sandy moved to Muskoka 4 decades ago, and working from the Dorset Environmental Science Centre, he continued his work on the effects of shoreline development, acid rain and metal pollution on lakes. In 2000 he established a research partnership between York University, his new employer, and the Ministry of the Environment, and broadened his research to include impacts of introduced predators, ozone depletion, climate change, road salt and calcium decline on our lakes. He also launched international collaborations in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Retiring in 2014, Norman assumed a senior research scholar position at York University, and chairmanship of the newly formed Friends of the Muskoka Watershed – a charitable corporation that fosters the understanding, choices, actions, and wise management needed to protect Muskoka’s lakes and watersheds into the future. Norman has co-authored over 200 scientific articles, a body of work that has garnered over 11,000 scholarly citations, provincial and national awards for research excellence, academic fellowships in Europe and Australia, and, in 2012, an induction into the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada.


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