Limnology and Oceanography e-Lectures

Smol, John P. 2009. Paleolimnology: An introduction to approaches used to track long-term environmental changes using lake sediments.

Limnol. Oceanogr. e-Lectures, doi:10.4319/lol.2009.jsmol.3

Paleolimnology: An introduction to approaches used to track long-term environmental changes using lake sediments.

John P. Smol
Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL)
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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Summary
The overall goal of this lecture is to provide limnology (and oceanography) students an overview of the various methods and approaches currently being used by scientists to study the timing and magnitude of environmental changes affecting aquatic systems at time scales of decades, centuries, and millennia. The lecture includes the steps that paleolimnologists follow in their sedimentary analyses, including core collection, core sampling, dating, and a summary of the main indicators and climate proxies. Smol has also integrated into the lecture slides that highlight research that he and his co-workers have undertaken over the years. The lecture concludes with three case studies: the history of lake acidification, the occurrences of drought on the prairies, and the nature of climate change in the Arctic.

John P. Smol

John P. Smol is professor at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario), where he also holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change. John also co-directs the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), a group of over 30 students and other scientists dedicated to the study of global environmental change, and especially as it relates to lake ecosystems. John has authored over 375 journal publications and chapters since 1980, as well as completed 16 books on paleolimnology. He was the founding Editor of the international Journal of Paleolimnology (1987-2007) and is the current Editor of the journal Environmental Reviews. Since 1990 he has been awarded over 25 research and teaching awards, including the 2004 NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada’s top scientist or engineer, and the 2007 ASLO Hutchinson Award.