The offer to join the research team at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in Canada’s western Ontario came at just the right time. I resisted having my graduate students be involved in GEOSECS because I was afraid that they would get wrapped up in its routine and, as a consequence, fail to develop individuality. In contrast, ELA was made to order for graduate student research. Most of the Canadians involved were biologically oriented limnologists and David Schindler, the scientist in charge, realised the power of using isotopes as tracers of lake processes. He abandoned the old school, which was based...

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