Turtles in Trouble & How You Can Help

Here at the Biosphere, we love hearing uplifting stories about sightings of species at risk! Lots of Biosphere residents see turtles on a regular basis during the summer months. There are six species of turtles found in the Georgian Bay Biosphere. Sadly, all six species are listed as “species at risk” by the Federal Species […]

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The Spiny Water Flea: The Tiny Zooplankton Creating Big Problems

Georgian Bay is well known for producing trophy-sized fish, but the smaller inhabitants of the waters are often overlooked. Zooplankton are small aquatic animals that make up part of what is referred to as the lower food web of Georgian Bay. This month we take a closer look at one zooplankton in particular, the spiny […]

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Learning from History: The Sea Lamprey Legacy of the Great Lakes

In 1919, improvements were made to the Welland Canal, a waterway that connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The improvements widened the canal and allowed large ships to travel between the two; a feat that until then had been made impossible by Niagara Falls. With an effective connection between Lake Ontario and the rest of […]

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Climate Change: Impacts on our Economy and our Health

Red Rock Lighthouse Credit Thom Morrissey

We are currently in a climate crisis. The world’s leading scientists have determined that greenhouse gases from human activity are causing the global climate to change and environmental changes are evident all the way to the local level. More on this at: https://www.stateofthebay.ca/the-ripple-effects-of-climate-change/ While the environmental issues caused by a changing climate are of great […]

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Microbes in the Bay: A Deep Dive into Algae

We all know what algae is. We see it every summer in our lakes and rivers, whether it be as floating mats, delicate strands, or something to slip on getting into the water. Algae may seem like a nuisance to some, but these microorganisms are vitally important. They are at the base of our food […]

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The Aftermath of Parry Sound 33

Last summer the Parry Sound 33 (PS33) forest fire swept the northern coast of the biosphere region, starting at Henvey Inlet First Nation and spreading to surrounding areas. Reaching almost 12,000 hectares, it was a force that left people worried for not only their homes, but for the plants and animals that also inhabit those […]

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How does Road Salt Affect our Ecosystem?

With our cold Northern Ontario winters comes icy roads and consequently, road salt. Trucks travel up and down the highways spitting out these pellets of sodium and magnesium chloride hoping to melt some of the ice build-up. But what are the effects of this salty solution on our ecosystems? Are there any alternatives? […]

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Endangered Species on the Rise

Helping a Blandings Turtle cross the road Meg Wallace Photography

Monarch Butterfly. Eastern Foxsnakes. Massasauga Rattlesnakes. Whip-poor-will. Bald Eagle. Blanding’s Turtle. Little Brown Bat. Lake Sturgeon. What do all of these species have in common? Not only are they iconic species that we can find in our Biosphere, but all of these are also species at risk of extinction. Eastern Georgian Bay is home to […]

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Climate Change in Georgian Bay – Part 2: Many Ways to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

Earth from space.

Georgian Bay is warming, our local food web is collapsing, and invasive species are on the rise. With each passing decade, we make the ecosystems upon which we depend more vulnerable. Isn’t it time we stopped putting so much carbon dioxide into our own atmosphere? The most powerful computers on earth show that warmer winters […]

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Climate Change in Georgian Bay – Part 1

Carling Thom Morrissey Photography

Since the Industrial Revolution, when we began burning coal and then oil, people have been changing the planet’s climate. According to NASA and the world’s scientists, burning fossil fuels and other human activities has increased the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last […]

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A Connected Landscape is Necessary for Healthy Ecosystems

Outlet of the Key River into Georgian Bay.

When the United Nations launched the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 1970, one of its main goals was to conserve landscapes, ecosystems, individual species and genetic variation. Core protected areas within a biosphere reserve, such as national and provincial parks, provide the physical space—or ecosystems—species need to thrive. In eastern Georgian Bay, we have […]

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Wetland Habitat Facing Change

Phragmites removal in Georgian Bay.

The home of the great blue heron, feeding grounds for rattlesnakes and fox snakes, and breeding habitats for numerous amphibians are all being threatened. These are the coastal wetlands of Georgian Bay and they are essential to a healthy environment. Unfortunately, wetlands across the world are at risk from shoreline modifications invasive species and from […]

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Phosphorus Levels in Georgian Bay are Going Down

Think about what makes life possible under water. Phosphorus is the “food” that microscopic plants and animals need to survive. As the foundation of our food web in Georgian Bay, phosphorus is an important nutrient for us to measure when we study the health of our ecosystem. You can imagine that there wouldn’t be many […]

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Biosphere Releases State of the Bay Ecosystem Health Report 2018

State of the Bay Book Cover

Do you ever wonder about the state of Georgian Bay? How is the water and habitat for wildlife and fish? How is climate change affecting the Parry Sound area? In 2008, conservation groups asked the same questions and launched a research program that led to the first “State of the Bay” report in 2013 to […]

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