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Queen's University

BIOL 537 2015-16
Dr. J. Smol

Rm:   4307A Bioscience Complex
Tel:   (613) 533-6147
Faculty Web Site:

 My research focuses on the using long-term environmental and ecological approaches to study how lake and river ecosystems have been altered by both human and natural sources. Much of our work deals with using biology to track environmental changes using records preserved in lake sediments, although a variety of diverse projects are available.

Most BIOL 537 projects in my lab are related to either:

 a) applied lake management issues, such as studying the effects of lake acidification, nutrient enrichment, or other stressors on aquatic ecosystems. For example, how many cottages can you build around a lake before you have adverse water quality problems.  In addition, we have a large research program on the effects of the Alberta oil sands on lake ecosystems.;

 b) recent climatic change can be referred to as the "big threat multiplier" for many environmental and ecological issues. Students in my lab are using paleoenvironmental approaches to determine long-term environmental trends, such as climatic change, and studying the ecological effects of recent changes on lake ecosystems. Much of this work is from the Arctic and Sub-Arctic, although many studies are currently underway in temperate regions as well.

 c) much of my research focuses on a variety of environmental and ecological issues from the Arctic. This includes climate change, such as new projects focusing on the effects of permafrost melt, but also the effects of past local disturbances on ecosystems, as well as the effects of contaminant transport to polar regions.

 d) my lab continues to develop novel approaches to study new environmental and ecological issues, such the recently identified problem of calcium declines in lakes, the problems of taste and odour causing algae n freshwaters, and so forth. Each of these problems can be studied using the methods developed and applied in my lab.

Prospective students are encouraged to apply for any SWEP positions that I have advertised.

For more information on these projects, please visit the PEARL web site at:

The yellow Media and Images button links you to our most recent press release, which lists some of our most recent projects.

 I may take on three or four BIOL 537 students.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000