In the early 1960s, Gene Likens was a graduate
student, and Art Hassler who recently passed away in his mid nineties,
was early in his career as a professor. They were interested in
getting some money from the Atomic Energy Commission, which was
interested in radionuclide disposal in the ocean. The question posed
by the scientists was could they use stratified lakes as a model
for the ocean disposal? Hassler got the funding and Gene got his
degree and is now Director of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies,
where I reside.
Small, stratified lakes can indeed be used as pilot models in the
study of marine problems that are handicapped by the vastness of
Any of you who knew Art Hassler know that's classic Art Hassler
speech. But it's exactly the rationale for thinking about oceans
as microcosms of lakes.
in the 1960s in Canada, there developed a really great collaboration
between oceanographers and limnologists. The main players were Dave
Schindler, a Canadian limnologist, and Wally Broecker, an American
oceanographer. These two did some experiments up in the Experimental
Lakes Area of Canada that Schindler directed and many of their former
students--are now leading oceanographers in the field.
Broecker was particularly interested in CO2 gas loss from lakes
to the atmosphere, and Schindler was interested in eutrophication,
that is, excess enrichment of nutrients to lakes.
of you may not realize how important this work in lakes was to oceanography,
but a lot of what we know about gas flux in marine systems was worked
out on lakes, particularly those of the Experimental Lakes Area
in Canada. Also many of the tracers, like sulfuric hexafluoride-SF6
and Helium-3 were first tested in lakes. Many of the carbon flux
models were developed in lakes. More relevant for the discussion
today, were the first whole-lake fertilization experiments that
included CO2 degassing. The publications are from the 1970s, and
the experiments started in the 1960s. There's still an ongoing,
long-term fertilization experiment of one of the lakes up there.