Candidate for President: Paul A. del Giorgio

Paul A. del Giorgio

Licenciate 1989 (Biology, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina), Ph.D. 1995 (Limnology, McGill University, Canada)

Biographical Information

Born in Argentina, I carried out my undergraduate studies at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, where I graduated 1989 with a degree in aquatic ecology. I moved to Canada in 1990, and I completed a Ph.D at McGill University in 1995 with the late Rob Peters. My graduate research focused on patterns of lake metabolism and I furthered these research interests first as a postdoc at the UQÀM (Montreal) with Y. Prairie, then at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (NY), working with Jon Cole. I subsequently took up a position as a Assistant Professor at the Horn Point Lab in the University of Maryland (1997), where I discovered estuaries, brackish waters and beautiful stinking marshes. Upon my return to Canada in 2002 as Professor in the Department of Biology of the Université du Québec à Montréal, my research continued to develop along two complementary lines, one focusing on C cycling and ecosystem metabolism in aquatic ecosystems, and the other on the biogeography and ecology of aquatic microbes. Since 2009 I hold the NSERC / HQ Research Chair in Carbon Biogeochemistry in Boreal Aquatic Systems (CarBBAS), which has allowed us to explore greenhouse gases, C dynamics and microbial ecology in rivers, lakes, and hydroelectric reservoirs in the remote, water-rich boreal landscapes of Northern Québec. Among other distinctions, I am an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada, in recognition of our contribution to the understanding of the biogeochemical functioning and of the role of inland waters, including hydroelectric reservoirs, in the global C cycle.

Candidate Statement

It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my candidacy to the ASLO presidency. ASLO has been a fundamental part of my academic life and professional career, ever since I started my PhD in the early 90s. As I look back and reflect upon all the positive aspects that define our Society, I also look forward to be able to serve it and to our community. I am at a stage where I feel ready, willing and energized to engage and work towards our common values, our collective needs and future, perhaps with some perspective that the intervening years have afforded me.

ASLO as a Society, and our aquatic community as a whole, are doing remarkably well in my opinion, so my motivation for putting forth my candidacy for ASLO President is not one based on the perception that anything needs fixing, or that I am needed to correct anything in particular. Rather, I see myself, if elected, as playing a proactive and inclusive role in channeling and coordinating our community’s responses, needs and aspirations in relation to the opportunities and challenges that will likely emerge from the many changes that are occurring all around us, and at so many levels. These include major shifts in our academic, professional and funding structures, in research priorities in relation to global change, in the role that learnt Societies play in disseminating information and in the public arena, and in the very way our communities are structured and function, in terms of our social, ethnic and gender composition and relations.

We will likely be shifting how and where we will be publishing and disseminating our work in the coming years. In the same way ASLO had to adapt over a decade ago to the changing publication landscape, it will have to continue to adapt in the coming years, and it is important that as a Society, we keep at the forefront of developments and accompany our community in the inevitable changes that will be forthcoming. ASLO has come a long way in developing policies and tools to support and lift the underprivileged and underrepresented, wherever and whoever they may be, and this task will become ever more important in the future, as our community broadens but disparities and inequalities remain and become more pervasive. Professional pathways, profiles and assessments will continue to diversify and will have to be redefined to account for our evolving personal needs, realities and differences, and the Society should be there to support our community in these developments.

Our Society should represent and stand by our community in these challenging transitions, and the Board and the President will have to make interesting and often difficult choices in this regard. I cannot foresee all of the potential changes, opportunities and challenges that will emerge, and I certainly will never claim to have the solutions to all of these, but I do have a strong will to humbly serve our community, to listen, to discuss and to work collaboratively and inclusively towards addressing the issues that we will collectively face, always with the common good as the ultimate goal. This is my honest commitment as I put forth my candidacy.

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