Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Schindler, David W.
Location University of Alberta
Primary Field Environmental Sciences and Ecology
 Election Citation
Schindler is the world leader in understanding lake biogeochemistry. His pioneering studies involving whole lake experiments convincingly verified the phosphorus-eutrophication connection and the impact of atmospheric acidification on lake production. He has brilliantly revealed the effects of UV radiation and airborne organochlorine contaminants on boreal lakes.
 Research Interests
As an ecologist I have studied how the communities and biogeochemical cycles of lakes respond to human-imposed stresses, largely using whole-lake experiments in boreal lakes. By adding various combinations of nitrogen and phosphorus we were able to deduce that most lakes are limited by phosphorus and are capable of resolving shortages of nitrogen and carbon by enhancing long-term uptake from the atmosphere. In later acidification experiments we found that the communities and biogeochemical processes of lakes were affected at pH values as high as 6.0, ten-fold less acidic than previously thought. Much of the lakes' alkalinity was generated by internal microbial processes rather than solely by geochemical weathering. Data from long-term reference lakes allowed us to determine the effects of climate warming on lakes. More recently I have begun work on alpine lakes, removing stocked alien salmonid fishes and restoring native species that were extirpated by alien fishes. We have also studied the inputs of PCBs and pesticides to remote alpine and arctic lakes, where cold temperatures, high precipitation, and inputs from melting glaciers combine to leave fishes contaminated to levels that may affect fish-eating predators, including humans.

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