William Taylor honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) honoured Water Institute member William D. Taylor on Tuesday with its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented at IAGLR’s 61st Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research, the award recognizes important and continued contributions to the field of Great Lakes research over a period of 20 years or more. Taylor is a distinguished professor emeritus in Waterloo's Faculty of Science, where he has spent 40 years generating critical knowledge essential for the long-term management of aquatic ecosystems.

Taylor’s research has greatly increased the understanding of phosphorus cycling in lakes, and the importance of microzooplankton in nutrient cycling and food webs of lakes.

“His research has been remarkably eclectic, extending from nutrient loading to fish and from small lakes to the largest lakes in the world, while always bringing a novel perspective to the issues confronting aquatic systems from eutrophication to contaminant cycling,” notes Robert Hecky, professor at the Large Lakes Observatory, University of Minnesota, and editor of the Journal of Great Lakes Research.  

Several of Taylor’s research papers could be viewed as “limnological classics,” says Gary Fahnenstiel, a research scientist at Michigan Technological University. “The team he led at University of Waterloo was probably one of the most significant and productive limnological teams in the world.”

Over the years, Taylor has mentored many students and early career scientists, many of whom became top researchers in their field.

“With re-eutrophication emerging as the leading water quality issue throughout the planet, his research has not just provided insights on this issue, but also resulted in the training of many top researchers who now dominate the field,” says University of Windsor’s Douglas Haffner.

Taylor has done more than excel in scientific research; he also has been adept at applying it for society’s greater good, both in the Great Lakes area as well as in China, Africa, and India. “He has worked effectively both abroad and here at home to translate basic research into real-world problem solving on issues such as eutrophication, fisheries sustainability, and water supply,” states Hunter Carrick, a professor at Central Michigan University.

Taylor has also contributed his time and talent to IAGLR. He has served as a member of the IAGLR Board of Directors and the Awards and Publications committees, as an associate editor to the Journal of Great Lakes Research, and as a session chair at annual conferences. Taylor received IAGLR’s Chandler-Misener Award for the best paper in the journal in 1992. In addition, he has served numerous government agencies and organizations here and abroad. His research activities have also been recognized by others. He received the Frank Rigler Memorial Award from the Canadian Society of Limnologists and a Career Achievement Award from the Canadian Council of University Biology Chairs, and held a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair position, given to researchers considered world leaders in their field.

While Taylor’s accomplishments warrant the IAGLR Lifetime Achievement Award, his colleagues also note the manner in which he has worked. “Over the years, I have viewed Bill as the classic gentleman scholar,” Fahnenstiel says.

Water Institute member Ralph Smith, professor in Waterloo's Department of Biology, echoes that sentiment. “All who know Bill know his generosity of spirit, unfailing respect for others, and refreshing sense of humour.”

As Hecky puts it, “His graduate students and his colleagues have benefited enormously from his incisive mind and encyclopedic knowledge of his science. He is entirely worthy of the recognition of his lifetime of leadership in Great Lakes science.”

Original story.

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