John P. Smol

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John P. Smol

John Smol holding a corer in his lab

John P. Smol
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Kingston, Ontario


Aquatic Ecology, Environmental Science, Paleolimnology


Queen’s University

Alma mater

McGill University (BSc)
Brock University (MSc)
Queen’s University (PhD)

Known for
Advancements in the field of long-term environmental change

John P. Smol, Ph.D. OC FRSC[1] is the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change[2] and a professor in the Department of Biology[3] at Queen’s University. He is a Canadian ecologist, limnologist and paleolimnologist (see Paleolimnology). He founded and co-directs the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL). [4]
The author or editor of 21 books and over 500 journal publications and book chapters,[5] Smol is an international lecturer and media commentator on a variety of topics, but most dealing with environmental issues. From 1987 to 2007, he edited the Journal of Paleolimnology. Since 2004, he has been editor of the journal Environmental Reviews. He is the series editor of the Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research book series. He is currently Chair of the International Paleolimnology Association.[6] Among dozens of other awards and fellowships, he is the recipient of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering,[7] given by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)[8] to honour Canada’s top scientist or engineer. In 2013 he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.[9]
Smol works on a diverse range of subjects, most of which focus on using lake sediments to reconstruct past environmental trends. Topics include: lake acidification caused by acid rain, sewage input and fertilizer runoff (eutrophication); studies of contaminant transport; and a large program on climatic change. For about three decades, he has been leading research in the high Arctic, studying the present-day ecology of polar lakes and ponds, and then using paleolimnological approaches to determine how these ecosystems have been changing due to natural and anthropogenic stressors.
Select publications[edit]

Smol, J.P. 2008. Pollution of Lakes and Rivers: A Paleoenvironmental Perspective. 2nd edition. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. 383 pp.
Smol, J.P. and Stoermer, E.F. [Editors]. 2010. The Diatoms: Applications for the Environmental and Earth Sciences. 2nd edition. Cambri