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Dr. John Smol

Understanding our impact on the planet’s ecosystems

[John Smol]

Dr. John Smol, PhD’82, one of the world’s leading environmental researchers, is trying to find out exactly what effect humans are having on climate and our ecosystems. These changes not only affect the environment, but also impact the health, security and economy of every country in the world.

Dr. Smol has spent more than 25 years reconstructing long-term histories of ecological trends to understand how stressors, such as industrial activity, impact the environment. He studies the complex interactions between a lake's biota and the environment. By doing so he can track environmental degradation in lake systems, which can lead to serious problems.

His work has been informing policy discussions and decisions nationally and internationally for many years, starting with his acclaimed role in the acid rain debates. From calcium declines of our lakes, to deteriorating fish populations, to Arctic research, Professor Smol’s work provides the basis for policy change leading to protection of the environment, and our future.

Since 1990, Dr. Smol has received more than 40 research, teaching, and outreach awards related to his environmental work. He recently added another accolade to his list of honours: Officer of the Order of Canada which recognizes a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large. Learn more about Dr. Smol's Order of Canada award...