2024 A.C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

John Smol

Each year, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) presents the A.C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement Award to honor an aquatic scientist for major, long-term achievements in the fields of limnology and oceanography, including research, education, and service to the community and society. ASLO is presenting the 2024 Redfield Award to Dr. John Smol for leadership in the development and application of the field of paleolimnology. His work has established the use of lake sediment records and indicator species to identify water quality problems, monitor ecosystem fluctuations, and to track changing climate. The award will be presented to Dr. Smol at the 2024 ASLO Summer Meeting in Madison, WI, USA in June.

Dr. John Smol, Distinguished University Professor at Queen’s University (Ontario, Canada), is widely recognized as the world’s foremost paleolimnologist. Dr. Smol pioneered novel methods for reconstructing historical characteristics of lake ecosystems to better understand how they will respond to future change and how to address water quality issues. His sediment-based methods have been fundamental to elucidating historical pH (acidification), eutrophication, heavy metal and other types of pollution, changes in animal populations, and climate change, and has helped set the standards for assessing water quality. Smol has published over 700 research articles, which have been cited over 54,000 times, and has written multiple authoritative books including the first textbook dedicated to the field of paleolimnology – Pollution of Lakes and Rivers: A Paleoenvironmental Perspective. After 40 years of Arctic limnological and paleolimnological research, he recently published his 23rd book Lakes in the Anthropocene: Reflections on tracking ecosystem change in the Arctic.  In 2004 he was awarded Canada’s top science honor – the NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal.

In addition to his research, Dr. Smol has been an active leader in the science community, particularly through his longstanding service on the editorial boards of various journals, teaching and mentoring, and engagement with policymakers. He served as the founding Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Paleolimnology for 21 years. He currently serves as Editor of Environmental Reviews, as well as on the editorial boards for 10 other journals, including ASLO’s Limnology and Oceanography: Methods since its inception. He also has an impressive track record of mentorship, advising over one hundred graduate students and post-docs. Among his numerous awards for his research, teaching, and service, Dr. Smol was recognized by Nature in 2010 as Canada’s Top Mid-Career Science Mentor. Dr. Smol has also been an active ASLO member, serving on multiple committees, organizing meeting sessions, and working with ASLO publications.

ASLO President Pat Glibert says, “Lakes and rivers are facing a growing number of environmental threats. Dr. Smol’s work shaping and promoting the field of paleolimnology has been critical to managing the health of freshwater ecosystems and will continue to be well into the future. His lifetime of research and service is exemplary, and we are extremely grateful for his service to ASLO over the years.”

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