Candidate for Member at Large: Kerri Finlay

Kerri Finlay

Hon BSc. 1999 (Ecology, University of Toronto, Canada). PhD. 2004 (Marine Ecology, University of Guelph, Canada).

Biographical Information

I am originally from a small town on the shores of Lake Huron, where my love of all things aquatic was first fostered. After receiving my undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, and a PhD from the University of Guelph, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Quebec at Montreal. In 2006 I came to the University of Regina as a postdoctoral fellow, and was appointed as a faculty member in the Biology Department in 2009. I am currently an Associate Professor, and Co-Director of the Institute for Environmental Change and Society.

In Canada, I am Past-President of the newly formed Society of Canadian Aquatic Sciences (SCAS). This society is the result of a merger of Canada’s two long-standing aquatic sciences groups: the Society of Canadian Limnologists (SCL) and the Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research (CCFFR). I was Vice-President of SCL and Chair of the merger committee from 2019-2021, where I coordinated representatives from both SCL and CCFFR to come together with a shared vision for the new society that was more than the sum of its parts. This included extensive surveys of existing members of SCL and CCFFR to ensure all voices and concerns were heard in the process, and to articulate shared values through vision, mission, and purposes.

My research focuses on aquatic ecology and biogeochemistry, investigating the role of Prairie lakes, wetland ponds, and reservoirs in the global carbon budget, and the effects of anthropogenic activities on water quality. I study the mechanisms driving water quality and carbon cycling using field-based analyses, and using this information to predict future water quality under climate and land-use changes. I also work in interdisciplinary research teams to incorporate social and political perspectives into this research, through conflict, vulnerability, and adaptation analyses, as well as involving local communities and citizens through a Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring program.

Candidate Statement

ASLO has been a constant supportive presence throughout my limnological career – from graduate student, to postdoctoral fellow, to research faculty, ASLO has provided me with the opportunity to share my work and learn about new and exciting advances through conferences and publications. My previous contributions to the society include chairing the Margalef Award committee, publications in Limnology and Oceanography, reviews for all of ASLO's titles, and chairing conference sessions, which has resulted in my recent appointment as ASLO Fellow in 2023.

I believe ASLO’s strengths lie in its ability to provide both consistent support throughout our careers, but also in its demonstrated ability to adapt to changing times. Changing the society name in 2011 showed that the society is willing to examine core principals and ensure it is reflecting the community, and the addition of a new journal title (Limnology and Oceanography Letters) showed a responsiveness to changing publication trends. Similarly, shifting and more diverse membership has ignited valuable DEI initiatives, while COVID-19 has pushed all societies to re-think traditional conference offerings. These new initiatives are great stepping stones for future advances, and I am keen to address the changing publication landscape (open-access journals, data availability and reproducibility), meeting approaches (e.g., hybrid offerings, collaborative and cross-disciplinary incubation support) and DEI integration throughout all activities.

I have also gained experience in strategic planning by serving as the Chair of the Facilitation Team for the University of Regina’s 2020-2025 institutional Strategic Plan “kahkiyaw kiwâhkômâkaninawak” (All Our Relations). Here, I led a team of 12 faculty, staff, and students from the university in engaging the community in discussions about our values and vision. This included surveys, world cafes, and one-on-one discussions with input from over 1300 individuals. This experience has provided me with valuable skills in soliciting input from the community and synthesizing this information into shared values and goals.

If elected as Member-at-Large to the ASLO Board of Directors I would look forward to drawing upon my previous experience as an active ASLO member, SCAS leader, and strategic planning facilitator to move the Society forward to address current issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the changing publication landscape, and the need for novel conference approaches. My goal would be to ensure that ASLO provides the same supportive atmosphere that I have experienced throughout my career, while responding to anticipating future changes to come.

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