Commentary | Feb 12, 2020 | By Sumeep Bath, Communications Manager

lol My Thesis: IISD Experimental Lakes Area edition

lol informal (also LOL) UK  /lɒl/ US  /lɑːl/ abbreviation for laughing out loud: used, for example on social media and in text messages, when you think something is funny or you intend it as a joke.

While those three controversial little letters may have earned their place in the corridors of linguistic hell, lol my thesis proves to be a perennial source of humorous respite for academics around the world.

The concept? Simple. Anyone who has written a thesis submits their original title, and then comes up with a pithy, accurate and funny new title that better describes what they did and what they found.

The result? Academic research that is much more accessible to non-specialists and more honest about the work that we do.

Here at the world’s freshwater laboratory, we always like to bring you the latest (and most humorous) forms of science communication, so we set about asking our researchers, scientists, and collaborators to “lol” their theses (many of which were based on research conducted at IISD Experimental Lakes Area)—all to predictably comical effect.

Hang on to your funny bones folks, it’s going to be a wild ride…

Geoffrey Gunn

Richard Grosshans

Man with wet pants stands facing camera in front of cattail plants in wetlands
Richard continues his love affair with cattail at IISD Experimental Lakes Area.

Pauline Gerrard

Scott Higgins

  • The original title: Nitrogen Fixation in the Rocky Littoral Zone of Lake Malawi (MSc. Biology, University of Waterloo, 2001)
  • The lol my thesis title: Mo Nitrogen Mo Green 
  • Scott recently broke down what calcium does to fresh water, and what happens when there isn’t enough. Read more here.

Pauline Gerrard studied tree swallows at IISD-ELA back in the late 1990s.
Some of the others came out of it better than this one.

Cyndy Desjardins

Paul Fafard

Lakes stratify thanks to the heat of the sun and the movement of the wind.
Paul can explain that better than any of us.

Ken Sandilands

  • The original title: The Effects of Nutrients, Fathead Minnows, and Submersed Macrophytes on the Invertebrate Community and Habitat Quality of Delta Marsh. (MSc. Ecology and Environmental Biology, 2000, University of Manitoba)
  • The lol my thesis title: Any Project That Involves Fish and Enclosures Is Doomed: Good Thing Underwater Plants Don’t Swim Away!
  • Ken recently took part in some exciting oceanic sampling out on the coast of British Columbia. Join him on his journey.

Sonya Havens

Lauren Timlick

  • The original title: Effects of Model Freshwater Diluted Bitumen Spills on Wild Small-Bodied Fish (MSc. Environmental Science, 2020, University of Manitoba)
  • The lol my thesis title: Oil Might Have Been Bad for My Fish But They Kept Dying of Stress First (And Quite Frankly, Same)
  • Lauren just spoke to PBS’s Great Lakes Now show, explaining our research on oil spills. Watch the segment here.

Lauren Hayhurst

  • The original title: Bioenergetic Evaluation of a Whole-Lake Nanosilver Addition on Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) (MSc. Biology, 2018, Lakehead University)
  • The lol my thesis title: Adding Bacteria-Killing Silver Particles to a Lake Makes Fish Lethargic (They Eat Less Because They Move Less Or They Move Less Because They Eat Less?), But The Bacteria Were Fine
  • Wondering what all this silver talk is about? Lauren explains all in her most recent blog post.

José Luis Rodríguez Gil

  • The original title: Fate and Effects of an Alkylamine Ethoxylate Surfactant Mixture in Aquatic Systems: Pulsed Exposures, Recovery Capacity and the Importance of Sediment (PhD Environmental Biology and Toxicology, 2015, University of Guelph)
  • The lol my thesis title: Some Toxic Things Are Not That Toxic When There Is Dirt Involved

Sumeep Bath

  • The original title: Social Dissidents as the Kristevan Abject in Luis Puenzo’s La Historia Oficial (MA Latin American Studies, 2007, University of Cambridge)
  • The lol my thesis title: SPOILER ALERT: 1970s Argentine Military Dictators Totally Weren’t Into Socialists