John P. Smol

Dr John P. Smol Named
a Fellow of the Royal Society Of Canada

John Smol’s early schooling was in Montreal and his B.Sc. was obtained from McGill University in 1977. He obtained his M.Sc. from Brock University in 1979 and his Ph.D. from Queen’s University in 1982. John’s doctoral studies were supported by NSERC post-graduate scholarships and this was followed by an NSERC Post-doctoral Fellowship at Queen’s University and an NSERC Visiting Research Fellowship with the Geological Survey of Canada. Dr Smol was first appointed in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, in September 1984, and by 1991 he was Full Professor. At Queen’s he presently supervises the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), whose 20+ members constitute the largest paleolimnological laboratory in the world. John was elected a Fellow of the Geological Association of Canada in 1989 and a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America in 1993.

John was awarded an NSERC E. W. Steacie Memoral Fellowship in 1990. In 1992, he was awarded the Botanical Society of America Darbaker Prize, and in 1993, along with his lab., he was presented with the North Americal Lake Management Society (NALMS) research award. In 1993, he was also awarded the National Research Council’s Steacie Prize, as Canada’s most outstanding scientist or engineer. In 1994, he received an award from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., and was presented with the Queen’s University Prize for Excellence in Research. He was chosen by the Canadian Society of Limnologists as the 1995 Rigler Prize winner, and the Canada Council has awarded him a Killam Fellowship for 1995-1997. Having just turned 40, he has recently been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Science.

With well over 150 publications to his credit, as well as book chapters and technical reports, John has also authored over 300 conference presentations. Many of these were invited and several were opening keynote addresses. He was editor-in-chief of a major book on diatom paleolimnology and acid precipitation, and he co-edited a book on chrysophytes. In addition, he wrote the Atlas of Chrysophytean Cysts (together with colleagues in his lab. at Queen’s), which describes the taxonomy and ecology of this new group of paleoindicators. He is currently working on two more books, including a textbook on paleoenvironmental perspectives to lake and river pollution. As well as producing all these publications, he has carried out field-work in the Arctic nearly every year since 1983!

John’s research was instrumental in the acid rain debates (he received a citation from the US government for his “outstanding contributions” to the NAPAP program, and he was an author of the state-of-science report to Congress). His paleoenvironmental approaches are now rapidly being incorporated into other studies of environmental change, such as climatic change, biodiversity, and lake management issues.

John has served or serves on a large number of panels and review committees, such as NSERC’s strategic grant selection panel for Environmental Quality, the Scientific Advisory Committee for the NSERC Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), the steering committtee for the NSF Paleoclimate of Arctic Lakes and Estuaries (PALE) panel, the Research Advisory Committee for the Canadian Museum of Nature, the advisory board of the US NOAA Diatom Paleolimnology Data Cooperative, and the Geological Survey of Canada’s Palliser Triangle Global Change Advisory Board. John is the founding editor of the Journal of Paleolimnology and continues on as co-editor-in-chief. In addition, he serves on the editorial board of three other journals. Dr Smol also serves as CANQUA’s representative on the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE), organized under the auspices of the Royal Society of Canada with the aim of making the public more aware of Canadian science.

We congratulate him on his remarkable career, his valuable contributions to numerous facets of science, and his outstanding ability and enthusiasm as a teacher.

Wes Blake
Geological Survey of Canada
601 Booth Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0E8


Note: This article appeared in CAP Newsletter 19(2):13-14, 1996.