Professor John Smol OC FRS

John P Smol OC FRSC FRS is a biology professor (cross-appointed with the School of Environmental Studies) at Queen’s University (Canada), where he also holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change. Smol founded and co-directs the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), a group of ~40 students and other scientists dedicated to the study of long-term global environmental change. Much of his research deals with using lake sediments to study climate change, acidification, eutrophication, contaminant transport, and other environmental stressors. He is also a frequent commentator for radio, television, and the print media.

Smol was the founding Editor of the Journal of Paleolimnology (1987-2007) and is the current Editor of Environmental Reviews.  Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1996, he has been awarded over 60 research and teaching awards and fellowships, including the 2004 NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada’s top scientist or engineer, three medals from the Royal Society of Canada (recognizing his work in the environmental sciences, biology, and public outreach of science), and six honorary doctorates. In 2013, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) for his work dealing with environmental issues.

Professional position

  • Professor, Department of Biology, Queen's University (Canada)
  • Professor, School of Environmental Studies, Queen's University (Canada)

Subject groups

  • Earth and environmental sciences


  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology

    Ecology (incl behavioural ecology), Environmental biology