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Ralph E.H. Smith


Ralph E.H. SmithBachelor of Science (BSc) Guelph, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) McGill


Telephone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 32468

Office: Biology 2 250A

University of Waterloo Ecology Group

Luis Leon's lake modeling pages for Lake Ontario and Lake Erie

Research interests

My interests are in the general area of freshwater ecology, with emphasis on primary producers, their interactions with natural and anthropogenic environmental factors, and their implications for ecosystem function. Key goals are to improve our understanding of aquatic ecosystem responses to invasive species, climate change (especially altered ultraviolet radiation exposure) and human alteration of nutrient and organic matter inputs. The Laurentian Great Lakes and other very large lakes are my main objects of study. Current projects include a major emphasis on new and emerging methods for the study and modeling of large lake ecosystems. These projects include studies of the anoxia problem in Lake Erie, the effects of ultraviolet radiation on production processes in lakes, the ecological basis for algal fouling problems in Lake Ontario, and the role of physical forces in fish population dynamics in large lakes. I collaborate extensively with researchers at University of Waterloo (see the University of Waterloo Aquatic Ecology Group) and elsewhere (e.g. University of Western Australia, Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Ontario Ministry of Environment and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources). These collaborations have supported development of three dimensional modeling approaches to environmental problems in lakes (see my associate Luis Leon’s lake modeling pages) that are currently a major focus of activity in my group.

Selected publications

  • Leon, L.F., Smith, R.E.H., Hipsey, M.R., Bocaniov, S.A., Higgins, S.N., Hecky, R.E., Antenucci, J.P. and Guildford, S.J. 2011.  Application of a 3D hydrodynamic-biological model for seasonal and spatial dynamics of wter quality and phytoplankton in Lake Erie. J. Great Lakes Res. 37: 41-53.
  • Harrison, J.W. and Smith, R.E.H. 2011. The spectral sensitivity of phytoplankton communities to ultraviolety radiation-induced photoinhibition differs among clear and humic temperate lakes. Limnology and Oceanography 56: 2115-2126.
  • Malkin, S.Y., Bocaniov, S.A., Smith, R.E.H., Guildford, S.J. and Hecky, R.E. 2010. In situ measurements confirm the seasonal dominance of benthic algae over phytoplankton in nearshore promary production of large lakes. Freshwat. Biol. 55: 2468-2483.
  • Harrison, J. and Smith, R.E.H. 2009. Effects of ultraviolet radiation on the productivity and composition of freshwater phytoplankton communities. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci. 8: 1218-1232.
  • Wang, X., Depew, D., Schiff, S. and Smith, R.E.H. 2008. Photosynthesis, respiration and stable isotopes of oxygen in a large oligotrophic lake (Lake Erie, USA-Canada). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 65: 2320-2331.
  • Pemberton, K.L., Smith, R.E.H., Silsbe, G.M., Howell, T. and Watson, S. 2006. Controls on phytoplankton physiology in Lake Ontario during the late summer: Evidence from new fluorometric methods. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 64: 58-73.
  • Hiriart-Baer, V.P. and Smith, R.E.H. 2005. The effect of ultraviolet radiation on freshwater planktonic primary production: The role of recovery and mixing processes. Limnol. Oceanogr. 50: 1352-1361.
  • Hecky, R.E., Smith, R.E.H., Barton, D.R., Guildford, S.A., Taylor, W.D., Howell, T.D. and Charlton, M.N. 2004. The nearshore shunt: a consequence of ecosystem engineering by dreissenids in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.61: 1285-1293.
University of Waterloo

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