Distilling Science at the Experimental Lakes Area: Acoustic imaging

By Karla Zubrycki, Karla Zubrycki, Joel Trenaman, Garth Hardy, Build Films on April 17, 2014

This video highlights the use of hydroacoustic imaging technology at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), a unique freshwater science research facility in northwestern Ontario, Canada.

For over 45 years, scientists have been using the ELA to conduct whole-ecosystem experiments in a freshwater setting, amassing one of the largest and most complete datasets in the world on long-term changes in small lakes. The ELA has been a testing ground for hydroacoustic technology, helping scientists to fine-tune methods that allow them to quickly survey the health of lakes. With the ELA’s network of 58 freshwater lakes and the ability of scientists to design experiments for entire lakes and even for small watersheds, this unique research station is one of the few locations in the world where technology like hydroacoustic imaging can be calibrated in a natural setting.

In April 2014, IISD took over management of the ELA. Distilling Science at the Experimental Lakes Area is an IISD-produced short video series.

To support IISD’s operation of ELA, consider making a donation, or to learn more, visit