David Schindler work has been widely used in formulating ecologically sound management policy in Canada, the USA and in Europe.
From 1968 to 1989, he founded and directed the Experimental Lakes Project of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans near Kenora, Ontario where he has conducted whole-lake experiments to study the effects of eutrophication, acid rain, climate change, ultraviolet radiation, and nonnative species on lake ecosystems.
As a limnologist and ecologist, his aim was not to study individual parameters in isolation, but all of them simultaneously, in order to construct an image of the entire lake as an integrated ecosystem. Schindler’s results became influential in convincing regulators in the United States and Canada to set up stricter controls on phosphates and acidifying pollutants such as sulphur dioxide. Many of the results of the project have proved to be highly relevant in the context of sustainable development worldwide. Schindler’s work has influenced ecology management policy in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Most known for:
One of the most convincing results came from an experiment in 1973 in which Schindler parted a lake with a giant shower curtain and treated one half with carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous and the other half with carbon and nitrogen only. The dramatic results were photographed form above: the phosphorous-treated half of the lake had become green and murky because of algal blooms, whereas the other half of the lake remained clear. The picture-evidence showing the blatant contrast of the two lake halves became widely spread both amongst the public and policy makers.
Other dramatic results that caught the public eye was from a set of experiment staring in the late 1970s. Schindler wanted to show the fragileness of food chains and the inpact of acid rain. He showed that the elimination of only one or two species could disrupt entire ecosystems. Pictures of starving fish helped raise public concern and the legislations for stricter air quality followed.
His current research interests include the study of fisheries management in mountain lakes, the biomagnification of organochlorines in food chains, effects of climate change and UV radiation on lakes, and global carbon and nitrogen budgets.
Dr. Schindler teaches limnology, the philosophy, sociology and politics of science/science and public policy in Canada, and environmental decision making.
“Recent studies show that lakes release very high releases of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, in many cases higher than the surrounding forests in the same watersheds. This has been missed in climate modeling to date.”
Read more in “Vital climate change warnings are being ignored, says expert” in e!Scince News