John P Smol

John P Smol
Queen's University | QueensU · Department of Biology

OC, BSc, MSc, PhD, LLD (hc), PhD (hc), DSc (hc), FRSC, FRS

About

833
Publications
145,473
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37,922
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 1984 - present
Queen's University
Position
  • Professor (Full) and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change

Publications

Publications (833)
Article
Full-text available
Autochthonous and allochthonous organic carbon (OC) are important carbon sources for zooplankton in lakes, and changes in the abundance and proportions of those sources may affect zooplankton community composition and lake ecosystem function. Nevertheless, long-term changes in assimilation of autochthonous and allochthonous carbon by zooplankton an...
Article
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Long-term changes in diatom community composition provided important insights into how multiple stressors affected shallow, macrophyte-dominated Lake Opinicon, Ontario (Canada) over the past ~ 200 years. A previous paleolimnological study of a sediment core collected in 1995 found that diatom responses to numerous large-scale cultural disturbances...
Article
Full-text available
Lakes worldwide are under threat by a myriad of environmental stressors that have been increasing in number and magnitude. These stressors can be regional such as climate change, or local such as nutrient-rich runoff, invasive species, and road salt contamination, to name but a few. To protect lake ecosystems from further deterioration, we need lon...
Article
Many paleolimnological studies from the Northern Hemisphere have shown how diatom assemblages preserved in dated lake sediment cores have responded to anthropogenic climate warming over the past ~100 years. In contrast, diatom records from lakes in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau have typically registered minimal compositional change during this r...
Article
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Our planet is being subjected to unprecedented climate change, with far-reaching social and ecological repercussions. Below the waterline, aquatic ecosystems are being affected by multiple climate-related and anthropogenic stressors, the combined effects of which are poorly understood and rarely appreciated at the global stage. A striking consequen...
Article
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Semi-arid areas of northern China are under increasing pressures from anthropogenic activities and climate change. Although wetland areas in these drylands have experienced dramatic, unidirectional shifts in their ecological status in recent centuries, fundamental driving forces are poorly quantified. Here, we examine changes in sedimentary proxies...
Article
Seabirds are important biovectors of contaminants, like mercury, moving them from marine to terrestrial environments around breeding colonies. This transfer of materials can have marked impacts on receiving environments and biota. Less is known about biotransport of contaminants by generalist seabirds that exploit anthropogenic wastes compared to o...
Chapter
AnthropogenicClimateclimate changeClimate change and the recent increase ofSaharan dustSaharan dust depositionSaharan dust depositionare potentially affectingSierra NevadaSierra NevadaAlpine lakesalpine lakesLakes. In this chapter, we summarize the results of paleolimnological research conducted to track recent environmental and ecological changes...
Article
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Gajewski offers a formal comment on Griffiths et al. (2017), a paper that explored how microclimates and their varying ice cover regimes on lakes and ponds in Arctic regions modified the diatom assemblage responses to recent warming. One of Gajewski's main criticisms is that the microclimate classification scheme used in Griffiths et al. (2017) is...
Article
Mining and smelting activities have strongly influenced the Sudbury region (Ontario, Canada) since the late 19th century, leading to acidification and metal contamination in many local ecosystems. Regulations on restricting acidic emissions were enacted in the 1970s, after which a considerable volume of paleolimnological work was completed to study...
Preprint
Lakes worldwide are under threat by a myriad of environmental stressors that have been increasing in number and magnitude. These stressors can be regional such as climate change, or local such as nutrient-rich runoff, invasive species, and road salt contamination, to name but a few. To protect lake ecosystems from further deterioration, we need lon...
Article
Full-text available
Freshwater biodiversity is in a state of crisis. The recent development of a global emergency recovery plan to “bend the curve” for freshwater biodiversity lacks the necessary details for implementation in a regional context. Using Canada as an example, we describe a toolbox intended to equip decision-makers and practitioners with evidence-based to...
Article
Anthropogenic stressors affect lakes around the world, ranging in scale from catchment-specific pollutants to the global impacts of climate change. Canada has a large number and diversity of lakes, yet it is not well understood how, where, and when human impacts have affected these lakes at a national scale. The NSERC Canadian Lake Pulse Network so...
Article
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This special issue, entitled “Paleolimnology and Paleoecology in a Rapidly Changing Asia”, was initiated during the third China Workshop on Lake Paleoecology that was held in Kunming, China, in December, 2019. Here, we summarize some of the key findings from the 10 papers that are included in this issue. The papers present sediment surveys of lakes...
Article
Peatland carbon accumulation generally increased during past intervals of natural warming. With recent anthropogenically-dominated warming being unprecedented over the past ∼2000 years, however, it is unclear how peatland carbon dynamics may operate compared to those under historical natural warmings. Here we examine the impacts of the recent warmi...
Article
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Salinization of freshwater lakes, largely linked to road salt (NaCl) runoff, is a serious threat to zooplankton across North America and Northern Europe. Chloride (Cl⁻) can be toxic to many freshwater species, and so water quality guidelines have been created to regulate it and protect aquatic life. However, these guidelines may not adequately prot...
Article
Farming of carnivorous animals for pelts potentially contaminates nearby ecosystems because animal feed and waste may contain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and metals. Mink farms in Nova Scotia (NS), Canada, provide mink with feed partially composed of marine fish meal. To test whether mink farms potentially contribute contaminants to nearby...
Article
Lake sedimentation rate represents a synthetic metric of ecosystem functioning. Many localized studies have reported a significant association between land use/land cover changes and lake sediment mass accumulation rates, with a few global syntheses echoing these findings at larger scales. In the literature, studies evaluating lead‐210 (210Pb) for...
Article
Seabird population size is intimately linked to the physical, chemical, and biological processes of the oceans. Yet, the overall effects of long‐term changes in ocean dynamics on seabird colonies are difficult to quantify. Here, we used dated lake sediments to reconstruct ~10,000‐years of seabird dynamics in the Northwest Atlantic to determine the...
Article
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Peatlands often develop around active volcanoes. However, little research has been conducted on the impacts of volcanic eruptions on peatland development. Here, we investigated the impacts of Holocene volcanic eruptions of the Changbaishan Volcanic field on the development of Dongfanghong peatland by using basal peat ages, geochemical and palaeo...
Article
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Human activities in the headwaters of the Carleton River Watershed (southwest Nova Scotia, Canada) are suspected to have led to nutrient enrichment of freshwaters, resulting in downstream effects. However, the presence of multiple nutrient sources in the headwaters, including mink fur farming and land-based aquaculture, have made it difficult to di...
Article
Base metal smelting activity around Sudbury (Ontario, Canada) has persisted for over a century, emitting metals and acidifying contaminants that affected lakes downwind of smelter stacks. Although considerable research has been directed toward the paleolimnological study of diatoms and chrysophytes in the region, relatively little comparable work h...
Article
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The Changbaishan volcanic field is one of the most dangerous active volcanic fields in Northeast Asia. Its Millennium eruption at 946-947 CE is considered to be one of the world's largest explosive eruptions over the past 2000 years. However, little attention has been paid to the other Late Holocene tephrostratigraphic sequence of this volcanic fie...
Article
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The spiny water flea ( Bythotrephes cederströmii ), a freshwater crustacean considered to be the world’s best-studied invasive zooplankter, was first recorded in North America in the Laurentian Great Lakes during the 1980s. Its arrival is widely considered to be the result of ocean-going cargo ships that translocated contaminated ballast water from...
Article
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Peninsula Lake, Ontario, Canada, is a Precambrian Shield lake that has experienced many environmental stressors since European settlement of the watershed in the mid-1800s, including forest clearance, water-level management, sewage inputs, and land-use changes. The deterioration of water quality by the 1970s prompted mitigation efforts intended to...
Article
More than 10% of the world’s population lives in the East Asian monsoon (EAM) region, where precipitation patterns are critical to agricultural and industrial activities. However, the dominant forcing mechanisms driving spatiotemporal changes in the EAM remain unclear. We selected Holocene records tracking monsoon precipitation in the EAM region re...
Article
The copper-zinc smelter at Flin Flon (Manitoba) operated between 1930 and 2010 and emitted large amounts of metal(loid)s and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, damaging the surrounding terrestrial landscapes and depositing airborne industrial pollutants into aquatic ecosystems. However, the extent of biological impairment in regional lakes is lar...
Article
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Horizon scanning is increasingly used in conservation to systematically explore emerging policy and management issues. We present the results of a horizon scan of issues likely to impact management of Canadian protected and conserved areas over the next 5–10 years. Eighty-eight individuals participated, representing a broad community of academics,...
Article
The scarcity of research in NE China on lake ecosystem responses to large-scale climate oscillations since the last deglaciation limits our abilities for informing conservation practices and policies in the context of recent global warming. Here, a high-resolution, sedimentary diatom record covering the past ∼17,500 years was retrieved from Lake Mo...
Article
Significance Wetland environments are increasingly threatened by climate change, population expansion, resource extraction, forest clearance, and pollution. The Ramsar Convention aims to monitor internationally important wetlands to ensure their ongoing maintenance and survival through wise use and management. However, many wetlands have undergone...
Article
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The lakes around Yellowknife (Northwest Territories, Canada) have been impacted by multiple environmental stressors throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries. Here, we have synthesized diatom assemblage data from ten lake sediment cores from the Yellowknife area and used a landscape-scale paleolimnological approach to investigate the cumulative...
Article
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The lack of long-term monitoring data for many wildlife populations is a limiting factor in establishing meaningful and achievable conservation goals. Even for well-monitored species, time series are often very short relative to the timescales required to understand a population's baseline conditions before the contemporary period of increased huma...
Article
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Meromictic lakes provide a physically stable environment in which proxies for potentially harmful cyanobacteria are exceptionally well-preserved in the sediments. In Sunfish Lake, a meromictic lake that has recently become the focus of citizen concern due to the apparent rise in cyanobacteria blooms, we used a multi-proxy paleolimnological approach...
Article
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Global environmental change alters the production, terrestrial export, and photodegradation of organic carbon in northern lakes. Sedimentary biogeochemical records can provide a unique means to understand the nature of these changes over long time scales, where observational data fall short. We deployed in situ experiments on two shallow subarctic...
Article
Full-text available
Gajewski offers a formal comment on Griffiths et al . (2017), a paper that explored how microclimates and their varying ice cover regimes on lakes and ponds in Arctic regions modified the diatom assemblage responses to recent warming. One of Gajewski’s main criticisms is that the microclimate classification scheme used in Griffiths et al . (2017) i...
Article
Multiple stressors affect water quality and biodiversity in lakes worldwide. However, our understanding of which combinations of stressors are of greatest impact and how lakes have shifted from their pre-industrial baselines is fragmented. Questions remain regarding how multiple trophic groups are affected by global change stressors and whether reg...
Article
Anthropogenic waterways and canal systems have been part of the cultural and natural landscape for thousands for years. As of the late 20th century, more than 63,000-km of canals exist worldwide as transport routes for navigation, many with barriers (e.g., locks, dams) that fragment the system and decrease connectivity. Fragmentation alone can have...
Article
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Little is known about the current state of freshwater biodiversity in Canada, one of the countries with the greatest amount of surface waters in the world. To address this knowledge gap, we compiled a list of all available assessments of conservation status for freshwater species (over 3,000 taxa) and further evaluated the overall status of six dis...
Article
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Abstract Freshwater biodiversity loss is one of the greatest environmental threats in our changing world. Although declines have been reported extensively in the literature, much less attention has been devoted to solving the freshwater biodiversity crisis relative to other ecosystems. The recently proposed Emergency Recovery Plan for Freshwater Bi...
Article
We compared modern limnological characteristics of three lakes near the world’s northernmost base metal (lead-zinc) mine, Polaris Mine, which operated from 1981 to 2002 on Little Cornwallis Island (Nunavut, Canada), to a suite of sites from Resolute Bay (Qausuittuq), Cornwallis Island. Although both study regions are underlain by broadly similar ge...
Article
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• Arctic freshwaters are facing multiple environmental pressures, including rapid climate change and increasing land-use activities. Freshwater plankton assemblages are expected to reflect the effects of these stressors through shifts in species distributions and changes to biodiversity. These changes may occur rapidly due to the short generation t...
Article
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Reconstructing pre-industrial hurricane activity and aridity from natural archives places modern trends within the context of long-term natural variability. The first reconstruction of Atlantic hurricane activity in Jamaica was based on a sediment record previously obtained from a coastal lagoon. Specifically, an Extended Hurricane Activity (EHA) i...
Article
Silver mining has a long history in Cobalt (Ontario, Canada), and it has left a complex environmental legacy where many lakes are contaminated with arsenic-rich mine tailings. In this exploratory survey, we examined subfossil Cladocera remains in the surface sediments of 22 lakes in the abandoned mining region to assess which environmental variable...
Article
The San Francisco Bay has the largest concentration of salt marshes in the state of California. In the last 170 years, the vast majority of the historic tidal wetlands in the Bay have been significantly altered or destroyed due to diking, filling and other processes. Many of the remaining marshes have been impacted by changing sedimentation regimes...
Article
Cyanobacterial blooms have been increasing in frequency and intensity but are often considered an issue restricted to temperate and tropical lakes. Here we report on one of the first occurrences of recurring cyanobacterial (Planktothrix spp.) blooms in a sub-Arctic lake from Yellowknife (Northwest Territories, Canada) and provide a long-term enviro...
Article
Full-text available
Seabirds are prominent biovectors whose guano and other wastes are an important source of nutrients that can eutrophy terrestrial and aquatic environments surrounding their breeding and nesting habitats. When these ornithogenically derived nutrients are introduced to waterbodies, they alter aquatic conditions, resulting in shifts in benthic inverte...
Article
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Seabirds are thought to provide ecological services such as the movement of nutrients between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, which may be especially critical to productivity and diversity in nutrient-poor environments. Most Arctic ecosystems are unaffected by local human impacts and are naturally nutrient poor and especially sensitive to warmin...
Article
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Bats provide numerous ecosystem services as they pollinate, disperse seeds, and reduce insect populations. It is thus vital to monitor and understand their foraging habits. We analyzed sterols and stanols in a rare discovery of a ∼4,300‐year‐old bat guano deposit from a Jamaican cave to infer relative changes in bat feeding guilds over four millenn...
Article
Despite extensive records of chemical recovery, relatively little is known about recovery of aquatic biota in Sudbury (Ontario, Canada). Cladocera (Branchiopoda) are key components of lake food webs and understanding spatial patterns in their assemblages may emphasize ecosystem recovery challenges. Paleolimnological techniques complement and provid...
Article
Beginning in the late-1800s, gold mining activities throughout Nova Scotia, eastern Canada, released contaminants, notably geogenic arsenic from milled ore and anthropogenic mercury from amalgamation, to local environments via surface water flows through tailings fields. We investigated recovery from and legacy effects of the tailings field at the...
Article
Full-text available
Recent warming in the Andes is affecting the region’s water resources including glaciers and lakes, which supply water to tens of millions of people downstream. High altitude wetlands, known locally as bofedales, are an understudied Andean ecosystem despite their key role in carbon sequestration, maintaining biodiversity, and regulating water flow....
Article
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Sediment cores from 12 locations throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes basin were analyzed for geochemical indicators of primary production. Sediment analytes included organic and inorganic contents, carbonates, sediment accumulation rates, total organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations, carbon and nitrogen isotope composition, and trends in spec...
Article
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In Yellowknife (Northwest Territories, Canada), roaster stack emissions from historic gold mining activities, particularly Giant Mine (1948–2004), have left a legacy of arsenic contamination in lakes. We examined Cladocera (Branchiopoda, Crustacea) subfossil remains in the recent and pre-industrial sediments of 23 lakes (arsenic gradient of 1.5–750...
Article
• Cladocera serve as important bio‐ and paleo‐indicators of lake food webs and environmental conditions. The ecological optima of cladocerans are often established by regional‐scale calibration sets, with subsequent comparisons to limnological variables. However, due to logistical constraints when sampling large numbers of lakes, this approach ofte...
Article
Since the 1950s, the widespread application of road salt for winter road maintenance and safety in cold regions has led to increased conductivity levels in many freshwater systems. Salting practices have adversely affected freshwater biota; however, the magnitude of ecological impacts may vary by species and ecosystem. Here, we examine diatom assem...
Chapter
In the absence of measured climate and ecological data records, paleoecology, and paleoclimatology provide unique opportunities to examine ecological and climatic conditions across long timescales and provide much needed long‐term context. Across the Arctic there are numerous ecological problems affecting the biota and landscapes of this environmen...
Article
Full-text available
Seabird colonies influence ecosystems by releasing high concentrations of nutrients, metals, and contaminants via their wastes. Here, we examined seven lentic waterbodies impacted by two major colonies of Leach’s Storm-petrel (Hydrobates leucorhous), six from Baccalieu Island, Newfoundland and Labrador with ~ 1.95 million breeding pairs, and anothe...
Article
Full-text available
Due to an unfortunate mistake during the production process, the inset map in Fig. 1a is missing. The original article has been corrected and the correct display of Fig. 1 is also published here.
Article
Precious metal mining activities have left complex environmental legacies in lakes around the world, including some sites in climatically sensitive regions of the Canadian sub-Arctic. Here, we examined the long-term impacts of past regional gold mining activities on sub-Arctic lakes near Con Mine (Yellowknife, Northwest Territories) based on sedime...