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Wilfrid Laurier University Office of Research Services
July 26, 2016

Canadian Excellence

Hudson Bay Lowlands

Hydroecology of Northern Freshwater Landscapes

Dr. Brent Wolfe

Wapusk National Park, Hudson Bay Lowlands, Canada.

The impact of climate change and variability on water resources is a pressing issue for northern freshwater landscapes in Canada. Water in these regions plays a central role in maintaining the ecological integrity of ecosystems, economic development and prosperity, and traditional use of the land and its resources by indigenous communities. Thermokarst landscapes are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Wapusk National Park (WNP) is located on the southwest coast of Hudson Bay on the Hudson Bay Lowlands (HBL) and thermokarst processes have contributed to creating over 10,000 shallow lakes, which provide key habitat for large populations of waterfowl and other wildlife. WNP was established in 1996 to protect a representative area of the HBL, yet little is known about the hydroecology of the freshwater basins that dominate this landscape, how they have responded to climate change and variability in the past, and how they will evolve in the future. In this region, projected warming by the late 21st century is intense. Lakes in WNP typically are