About my research:
My research interests focus on understanding how human activities (e.g., climate change, land use, eutrophication, alteration of river flows) affect ecosystem structure and function in lakes and rivers at both local and global scales. My program links aspects of physical, chemical and biological limnology to address issues related to the repercussions of global change stressors in both lakes and rivers. My research program uses various tools (modeling, GIS, experiments, statistical) and fosters interdisciplinary collaborations. Current projects in my lab include:
1) The effects of agricultural land use and urbanization on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems. I’m interested in how land use (e.g., agriculture and urban) affects the material (e.g., dissolved organic carbon, nutrients) exported and processed in aquatic ecosystems. We are also quantifying how stress related to various aspects of land use (nutrient loading and metal contamination) influence the integrity and ecological services provided by freshwater mussel beds. These projects are part of my NSERC-funded research (Discovery and Strategic) as well as partnerships with various municipalities, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
2) The feasibility of reducing water column phosphorus in Lake Simcoe by protecting sediment and benthic communities in near shore areas, storm water ponds and tributaries against road salt impacts. In partnership with Environment Canada, the Ministry of the Environment and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority we are looking at the impacts that road salt applications have on aquatic systems. This project is apart of the Clean Up Lake Simcoe Fund.
3) Conceptual and statistical tools for projecting global change in freshwater biodiversity. This is work that began through my involvement with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The goal of this research is to develop statistical models that relate proximate drivers (climate, land-use, acid rain, etc) to patterns of global biodiversity and eventually use these models to forecast future change in biodiversity given projected climate and environmental change scenarios
4) Fate and effects of nanomaterials in the aquatic environment. Nanotechnology has the potential to be very beneficial for society but environmental effects of the release of nanomaterials are still unknown. As part of a NSERC-strategic funded project to Chris Metcalfe we are examining the role and ecological risks of engineered nanomaterials as they are released into aquatic environments.
5) Characterizing natural water levels in lakes and rivers: climate change and dams. In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Institute for Watershed Science we have developed a comprehensive monitoring network that will best capture the effects of natural and human caused changes in lake levels and river flows on aquatic communities. The data collected through this partnership will be used to implement better management policies for water level regulations in Ontario.
See a list of publications located on the Media & Publications page.
See also my full Curriculum Vitae.
About what I teach:
I currently teach/have taught several classes in ecology:
BIOL 217h/ ERSC 217h: Community Ecology
BIOL 226h/ERSC 226h: Introductory Ecology
BIOL 305: Limnology
BIOL 433h/ERSC 433h: Global Change of Aquatic Ecosystems
Information for prospective students:
My research is interdisciplinary and I expect students in my lab to master a range of numerical techniques and analytical chemistry skills (or be willing to learn them). Generally, students in my lab are encouraged to develop independent scientific research and be highly motivated. If you select a field of study that you are not really interested in, the temptation to drop out when things become difficult will be high. I welcome any inquiries from students with backgrounds in ecology, environmental sciences, environmental chemistry or geography. Students are encouraged to employ field, laboratory and theoretical approaches to their work.
See a list of opportunities on the Opportunities page.