A view from Washington D.C.

WSRG member Alex Langlais-Bourassa spent the Fall of 2016 at the US EPA in Washington.  Here he shares a few words about his experience…

This fall, I had the privilege (and pleasure!) to go to Washington D.C. as a visiting scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). This internship was part of the Ecolac NSERC CREATE training program scholarship I received for my Master’s project. I was under the supervision of Dr. Amina Pollard, Research Ecologist for the monitoring branch in the office of wetlands, oceans, and watersheds with USEPA. Myself and Dr. Pollard worked with data from the National Lake Assessment. This dataset encompass 1200 continental U.S lakes and was designed to assess their state. Sampled data included water quality, lake morphometry, as well as plankton community abundance. Using a subset of these lakes, we decided to explore changes in functional and taxonomic diversity of zooplankton and phytoplankton communities, to identify variables responsible for these changes and to extract ecoregional patterns in this dataset. The goal was to be able to predict a certain plankton community based on environmental variables and functional or taxonomic diversity.
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Why Watersheds?

The watershed provides a logical boundary system and conceptual unit for ecosystem management because it is based on the geographic characteristics of the ecosystem’s hydrology. It thus recognizes the dominant role that water plays in the biological relationships. In addition, a watershed is easily perceived and recognized. People understand it. From a legal perspective, watershed boundaries are more easily defined than many other boundaries in the natural environment.”

National Research Council (1999)