Featured Speaker - Dr. John P. Smol
Dr. John P. Smol is considered one of the world’s leading experts on climate change.
Smol is a professor in the Department of Biology and the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change at Queens University in Ontario, Canada.
Following post-doctoral work in the High Arctic with the Geological Survey of Canada, Smol became a faculty member at Queens University in 1984. He has also held adjunct teaching and research appointments in Canada, the U.S. and China.
In 1991, Smol founded the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL) at Queens University. PEARL comprises about 40 students and other scientists dedicated to the study of global environmental change with a primary focus on changes in lake ecosystems, or paleolimnology. PEARL’s work was used extensively in the acid rain debates, and Smol received a citation from the U.S. government for outstanding contributions to the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program.
A prolific researcher and writer, Smol has authored more than 500 journal publications and book chapters dealing with aquatic ecology, limnology, paleolimnology and global environmental change. He has also completed 21 books, including his textbook “Pollution of Lakes and Rivers: A Paleoenvironmental Perspective,” and is working on his 22nd book as part of the “Excellence in Ecology” book series.
Paleolimnology uses the physical, chemical and biological information stored in lake sediments to track
environmental and ecological change. Sediment cores provide a record of change over years, centuries and beyond, offering unique insights into the history of climatic and ecological change.
Dr. John P. Smol leads an international program in the field of paleolimnology with four basic goals: to track long-term trends in climatic change and environmental pollution; to enhance research in the Arctic to track climatic and other environmental change; to develop new approaches to studying water-quality problems; and to develop new approaches to assessing pressing problems such as declining fish stocks.
Recent projects include studying the longterm effects of lake eutrophication, acidification, contaminant transport, calcium decline, fisheries management, and a large body of work on climate change with a special focus on the Arctic.
The work done by Smol and his research team is allowing scientists to offer advice on improving lake management strategies. It is also enabling researchers to better understand and determine the role that human industrial activities play in climate change, and its effects on our ecosystems.