Professor Hall's research combines fields of aquatic ecology, paleolimnology and multivariate statistics to assess effects of multiple stressors on lakes, wetlands and reservoirs.
Professor Hall manages the WATER Lab (University of WATerloo Environmental change Research Lab), a facility dedicated to the analysis of long term environmental records to address ecological issues.
Much of our research focuses on water-rich northern landscapes, including: the Peace-Athabasca Delta (northern Alberta), Slave River Delta and a region north of Yellowknife (NWT), Old Crow Flats (Yukon) and Hudson Bay Lowlands (northern Manitoba).
- Applied aquatic ecology
- Multiple stressors
Professor Hall’s research centers on improving our understanding of the roles of natural processes and human activities on hydroecological conditions of northern water-rich landscapes. He achieves this by integrating contemporary hydroecological studies with long-term records of past environmental change obtained from lake sediment cores. Sampling is typically conducted at a landscape scale. Research has targeted ecologically and culturally important deltaic (Peace-Athabasca Delta [PAD, AB] and Slave Delta [SD, NWT]), and thermokarst landscapes (Old Crow Flats [OCF, YT]; Hudson Bay Lowlands [HBL, MB]) landscapes, where insufficient understanding of influential processes has fostered controversy or impeded development of effective stewardship. The deltaic landscapes are situated downstream of major energy projects (hydroelectric dams, Alberta oil sands operations) and natural sources of contaminant dispersal, and they respond sensitively to climate-driven variations in river flow. At the thermokarst landscapes, local communities, First Nations organizations and Parks Canada Agency are concerned about effects of climate warming on the freshwater resources.
Professor Hall teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. Course offerings have included
- BIOL 350 Ecosystem Ecology
- BIOL 361 Biostatistics & Experimental Design
- BIOL 651 Hydroecology
- BIOL 646 Paleolimnology
Recent publications include
- MacDonald*, L.A., Wiklund*, J.A., Elmes*, M.C., Wolfe, B.B., R.I. Hall. 2016. Paleolimnological assessment of riverine and atmospheric pathways and sources of metal deposition in a floodplain lake (Slave River Delta, Northwest Territories, Canada). Science of the Total Environment 544: 811-823. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.11.173.
- Thomas*, K.E., R.I. Hall, G.J. Scrimgeour. 2015. Relations between water physico-chemistry and benthic algal communities in a northern Canadian watershed: defining reference conditions using multiple descriptors of community structure. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 187: 1-16.
- Balasubramaniam*, A.M., R.I. Hall, B.B. Wolfe, J.N. Sweetman, X.A. Wang. 2015. Source-water inputs and catchment characteristics regulate limnological conditions of shallow Arctic lakes (Old Crow Flats,Yukon, Canada). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72(7): 1058-1072. doi:10.1139/cjfas-2014-0340.
- Wiklund*, J.A., R.I. Hall, B.B. Wolfe, T.W.D. Edwards, A.J. Farwell, D. George Dixon. 2014. Use of pre-industrial floodplain lake sediments to establish baseline river metal concentrations downstream of Alberta oil sands: A new approach for detecting pollution of rivers. Environmental Research Letters 9:124019-12028. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/12/124019
- Hall, R.I., B.B. Wolfe, J.A. Wiklund*, T.W.D. Edwards, A.J. Farwell, D.G. Dixon. 2012. Has Alberta oil sands development altered delivery of polycyclic aromatic compounds to the Peace-Athabasca Delta? PLOS ONE 7(9): e46089. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046089
- Wiklund*, J.A., R.I. Hall, B.B. Wolfe, T.W.D. Edwards, A.J. Farwell, D.G. Dixon. 2012. Has Alberta oil sands development increased far-field delivery of airborne contaminants to the Peace-Athabasca Delta? Science of the Total Environment 433: 379-382. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.06.074
- Wolfe, B.B., R.I. Hall, T.W.D. Edwards, J.W. Johnston. 2012. Developing temporal hydroecological perspectives to inform stewardship of a northern floodplain landscape subject to multiple stressors: Paleolimnological investigations of the Peace-Athabasca Delta. Environmental Reviews 20: 191–210. doi:10.1139/A2012-008
Please see Professor Hall's Google Scholar profile for a current list of his peer-reviewed articles.
Awards and Distinctions
- Northwest Territories Government’s Premier’s Award for Collaboration – Team Category (2012)
- University of Waterloo Outstanding Performance Award for Faculty (2012, 2007)
- Recipient of the Ontario Premier's Research Excellence Award (PREA) 2003-2007 to support training of graduate students on the project: Ecological changes in the Mackenzie Basin Deltas: Assessing the roles of climate, hydrology and human activities on sensitive lakes and wetlands over the past thousand years
- International Visiting Scientist Award, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (2006)
- Postdoctoral fellowships, University of Regina (1996-1997)
- NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships, Ontario Ministry of Environment's Dorset Environmental Research Centre (1994-1995)
- NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (1987-1991)
University of Waterloo Affiliations
- Water Institute, Member
- Associate Dean of Science, Graduate Studies (2007-2012)
- Graduate Officer, Biology Department (2002-2007)
- Adjunct Professor, University of Arkansas (2008-2009)
Professional Associations and Service
- American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
- Society of Canadian Limnologists
- International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology
- International Society for Diatom Research
- Canadian Association of Geographers
- Canadian Quaternary Association
- Canadian Association of Palynologists
- International Federation of Palynological Societies
The following news stories have featured Professor Hall's research:
January 5, 2015 - Mining of Athabasca oil sands may not be boosting river metal levels
January 7, 2015 - Oil sand mines not polluting Athabasca Delta with metals
1993 PhD Biology, Queen's University
1986 BSc Biology, Queen's University