Queen's University Queen's University


[photo of Dr. John Smol]

John Smol

  • Professor, Department of Biology
  • Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change
  • 2013 Officer of the Order of Canada
  • 2012 Ramon Margalef Award for Excellence in Education
  • 2010 Nature Award for Mentoring in Science
  • 2009 3M National Teaching Fellowship
  • 2009 Killam Prize
  • 2009 Premier's Discovery Award in Life Sciences and Medicine

Paleolimnology may not be an everyday word, but the environmental problems it helps solve are

John Small

Water pollution, climatic change, declining fisheries – these environmental problems are at the forefront of many people’s minds. And so are the dreaded diseases like cancer, asthma, autism, that many experts feel are linked to toxic chemicals in our environment, in particular, our fresh water supplies.

John Smol and his team at the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL), at Queen's University, go deep below the surface of our lakes and rivers to uncover the secrets of our environmental history, written in the mud and silt.

Professor Smol’s work has been informing policy discussions and decisions nationally and internationally for many years, starting with his acclaimed role in the acid rain debates. With the help of the PEARL team, his research has enabled policy makers to make knowledgeable, proactive decisions in areas such as agricultural runoff, clearcutting, protection of fish habitats, and air pollution control.

With a public more concerned and informed about the environment than ever before, PEARL’s ongoing discoveries enable governments to be leaders in the stewardship of Canadian natural resources.

No matter how complicated paleolimnology might sound to you, to John, it’s all about one simple vision: the more we know about our environment, the better decisions we can make to protect it.