Guillaume Simoneau


Guillaume Simoneau 

Experimental Lake 


Experimental Lake focusses, at once, on the outside; on the idea of common good and necessary evil. The resulting work is presented not as a series about the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) but as a compendium of images produced on location at the ELA and therefore infused by its spirit and beauty. The ELA is a unique, world-renowned freshwater research facility located in a pristine area of northwestern Ontario. The ELA began in 1968 and is now operated today by the International Institute for Sustainable development after being closed in 2013 by former Prime Minister Harper’s conservative government.


The ELA is possible because an agreement with the Province of Ontario allows ecosystem-scale experiments to be performed on a group of 58 lakes and their terrestrial drainage basins, a strategy not possible anywhere else in the world. Each study lasts from years to decades. The pristine setting is important because it allows researchers to understand the impacts of one specific environmental problem without the confusion of other human activities. Lakes that are manipulated are compared to ELA lakes in their natural condition that have been monitored for the past 44 years. This approach greatly increases the sensitivities of the studies; at the same time the small size of the lakes makes experimental manipulations practical and affordable. If closed, it is highly very unlikely a facility like the ELA would ever be recreated anywhere else.


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