David Schindler

Evolution and Ecology

Schindler identified detergent phosphates as a pollutant killing lakes in the 1960s, and pinpointed acid rain as a widespread cause of fish deaths in the 1970s & '80s. Schindler now warns that rapid exploitation of Alberta's oil sands is polluting the Athabaska River, and recommends that oil sands extraction be monitored more effectively.

"The days when we can afford to sit in our ivory towers and put our bound volumes on the shelves of our libraries, and then expect them to have any impact on how ecosystems are managed, are long gone."

Schindler advises young people interested in careers in ecology or limnology is to do some reading and take some courses on it early in their career. Field ecologists often require assistants for collecting their data, so if you are keen to get some experience and learn some basic methods, try contacting researchers in ecology at your local university to see if they have opportunities for volunteers.

Career ideas:

  • Government paleontologist
  • University professor
  • Laboratory scientist
  • Chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and pulp/paper industries staff scientist
  • Petroleum/mining consultant
  • Private consulting scientist

Other scientists who may be of interest:

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