David William Schindler

David William Schindler, scientist, limnologist (b at Barnesville, Minnesota 3 Aug 1940) is an outspoken and brilliant researcher whose vision and dedicated work have resulted in an enormous advancement in the understanding, protection and conservation of Canada's fresh waters.

Schindler, David William

David William Schindler, scientist, limnologist (b at Barnesville, Minnesota 3 Aug 1940) is an outspoken and brilliant researcher whose vision and dedicated work have resulted in an enormous advancement in the understanding, protection and conservation of Canada's fresh waters.

Following a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology at North Dakota State University in 1962, David Schindler completed his Doctorate as Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, before taking a teaching position at Trent University in 1966. Recruited as part of an international team of young scientists to begin a series of whole lake studies, from 1968 to 1989 he helped to found and served as Scientist in Charge of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) freshwater research program of the FRESHWATER INSTITUTE (FWI) near Kenora, Ont. He left the FWI for the University of Alberta, where he is currently Killam Memorial Chair and a professor of ecology.

During the 1960s, despite popular scientific theories that carbon was responsible for the over-fertilization problems of lakes, Schindler's research proved that phosphorus was the key stimulator of plant growth and animal population changes in lakes. In his work he also pioneered a new method of research, using whole-ecosystem experiments that involved the study of an entire lake. His research on the harmful effects that ACID RAIN and phosphorus-rich detergents have on fresh water has been internationally recognized and has led to important public policy changes, including restrictions on acid emissions and legislation controlling phosphorus in soaps and detergents.

He later studied the combined effects of CLIMATE CHANGE, UV radiation - the result of OZONE DEPLETION - and increased acidity on boreal lake ecosystems; and the restoration of mountain lakes damaged by stocked alien fish species. Schindler's current research builds and continues to evolve from his previous research: the effects of oil sands mining (seeBITUMEN) on the ATHABASCA RIVER; and restoration of eutrophic lakes.

David Schindler has earned numerous and significant accolades. International recognition includes the Stockholm Water Prize (1991), Volvo International Environment Prize (1998) and Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2006). In 2001, he was awarded the Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal for Science and Engineering from the NATURAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH COUNCIL (NSERC), considered the highest honour for Canadian researchers. In 2009, Schindler received the ROYAL CANADIAN INSTITUTE's Sandford Fleming Medal for public communication of science. He is an elected member or fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1983), Royal Society (London, England, 2001), National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC, US, 2002) and Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science (2003). He is an officer of the Order of Canada (2004) and a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence (2008), and has numerous honorary degrees from universities across Canada and within the United States.

See alsoWATER POLLUTION.