Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Some of Canada's Lakes Are Turning Into Jelly Thanks to Acid Rain

Illustration for article titled Some of Canadas Lakes Are Turning Into Jelly Thanks to Acid Rain

It's a real bummer to hear that 150 years of industrialization wrecked the Earth so bad that it'll take thousands to recover. It's a much bigger bummer to see the situation in real life. That's exactly what's happening in a large number of Canada's lakes, which are turning into jelly thanks to acid rain.

Advertisement

A new study from Cambridge University scientists shows how acid rain is leading to exploding populations of a particular type of gelatinous plankton that threatens to clog up the country's drinking water filtration systems. Basically, the acid rain zapped the calcium deposits in the soil around a large number of Canada's lakes. Falling calcium levels, in turn, led to the swift decline of certain calcium-rich plankton like Daphnia water fleas, and that meant that their gelatinous, less calcium-dependent competitors in the Holopedium genus (see below) can thrived. Now, many of Canada's lakes look like bowls full of jelly (see above).

Illustration for article titled Some of Canadas Lakes Are Turning Into Jelly Thanks to Acid Rain
Advertisement

What's the problem with exploding populations of Canadian, jelly-clad plankton? Well, this just isn't what nature intended.

"It may take thousands of years to return to historic lake water calcium concentrations solely from natural weathering of surrounding watersheds," said Dr. Andrew Tanentzap from the University of Cambridge's Department of Plant Sciences who co-authored the study. "In the meanwhile, while we've stopped acid rain and improved the pH of many of these lakes, we cannot claim complete recovery from acidification. Instead, we many have pushed these lakes into an entirely new ecological state."

This "new ecological state" situation is especially problematic when you consider the fact that some 20-percent of Canada's drinking water comes from these lakes. So even though you don't hear about acid rain on the news as much as you used to, the effects are everlasting. And the United States isn't doing much better, either. [Cambridge via CityLab]

Images via Ron Ingram, Ontario Ministry of the Environment / Michael Arts, Canada Centre for Inland Waters

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

What's the problem with exploding populations of Canadian, jelly-clad plankton? Well, this just isn't what nature intended.

I have a problem with this sentence. That's not to say I disagree with it because I don't. But when statements like this are made it's becomes a window for religious nuts to jump through.

How do you know what nature intended? Maybe this is how it's supposed to be? These words put doubt in a simpleton's brain. Then they finish with, God made the world perfect so this is how it's supposed to be. Man can't harm God's creation!

See where I'm going with this? Does this line of questioning make any sense? No. But this is how they steal the show every god damn time.