Large Experimental Array of Ponds (LEAP)

Large Experimental Array of Ponds (LEAP)
Legal name of organisation
McGill University
North America
Organisation address

McGill Department of Biology

Stewart Biology Bldg

1205 Dr Penfield Ave

Montreal, QC H3A 1B1


Primary contact information (PI)

Professor Andrew Gonzalez

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Years of Mesocosm Experiments
2016 - present
Description of Facility

LEAP is based at McGill University’s Gault Reserve It is a facility designed for well-replicated experiments addressing the evolution and ecology of aquatic ecosystems exposed to environmental stressors. It is an array of 96 mesocosm tanks, each containing ~1000 liters of water.  Water and organisms (excluding fish) are piped to LEAP directly from a Lake Hertel over a kilometer away. Lake Hertel is a protected lake not exposed to contaminants. The plumbing at LEAP allows for a semi-continuous flow of lake water and organisms into and out of the tanks throughout the season. These communities are natural analogues of the freshwater ponds and lakes so common in Canadian landscapes. The onsite lab allows us to rapidly process samples (see images below). An outflow reservoir can hold the outflow from all mesocosms so that decontamination can be done, if needed.

Controlled Parameters

Contaminants such as pH and herbicide concentrations.

Research Topics
  • Freshwater ecology and evolution
  • Limnology
  • Ecosystem processes
Facility location(s)
45.5368, -73.1578
Primary interests

Experimental research addressing how complex aquatic communities respond to environmental stressors. 

Specialist areas
  • Experimental evolution
  • Ecology
  • Metagenomics 
  • Fluoroprobe
  • Microscopes
  • Drone
Photos of experiments/installations
Panoramic view of the LEAP facility embedded in forest of the Gault reserve, with the inflow and outflow reservoirs visible.
Photo credit: Andrew Gonzalez
Panoramic view of the LEAP-lab, in and outflow reservoir and mesocosm platform
Photo credit: Andrew Gonzalez
Depth and multiparameter probe (YSI) physico-chemical measurements.  Photo credit: Vincent Fugère