Lesack Research Interests

Dr. Lance F.W. Lesack - Simon Fraser University

Research Interests

Email questions or comments to: LLesack@sfu.ca
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Page last updated: Jun 10, 2013

Biographic Sketch

After growing up in the "north end" of Winnipeg, my serious interests in aquatic ecosystems began by way of summer jobs, while studying for my BSc at the University of Manitoba. This included extended field work on the Mackenzie River (Canadian arctic) and the Churchill River - Southern Indian Lake (Canadian sub-arctic). I also spent 4 months on a research cruise aboard a 70 foot halibut boat through the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, where we bobbed over waves that sometimes seemed as big as the boat. This period did not include working at the well-known Experimental Lakes Area, as did other students I went to school with. After completing my undergraduate degree, I obtained a 2-year CUSO position (Canadian University Service Overseas) as a Fisheries Research Officer working on the Gambia River, West Africa with the Gambian Department of Fisheries. My African experience was a wonderful opportunity that immersed me in an interesting culture completely different from north america/europe and introduced me to Ramadan, Tabaski, and cola nuts, as well as mangrove swamps, hippopotami, crocodiles, lung-fish, electric catfish, cobras, baboons, bush pigs, and hyenas. My African experience also lead to graduate school at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and living for 2 years on a raft anchored in the middle of Lake Calado, while studying the biogeochemistry of the central Amazon floodplain and rainforest in Brazil. The Amazon included a fascinating combination of flooded forests with fishes, freshwater dolphins, stingrays, piranha, cayman, snakes, more varieties of ants than I could have imagined, and lessons on Foro and Samba dancing from my Brazilian friends. A year and a half of post-doctoral studies at the National Hydrology Research Institute (now NWRI) in Saskatoon introduced me to new collaborators and allowed me to initiate new work on the Mackenzie River Delta, before moving to my present faculty position on the top of Burnaby Mountain at Simon Fraser University. Since 1991 I have held a joint appointment in the Departments of Geography and Biological Sciences. During my time in BC, I have discovered latent desires to be a cowboy and have learned to appreciate Belgian Sheepdogs!

Research Interests

Limnology and biogeochemistry of inland waters - Types of systems that particularly interest me include those in arctic, mountain, and tropical regions. I have considerable interest in the ecology of floodplain lakes associated with major world rivers, ranging from the basic hydrology of these systems to their food-web configurations and energy sources sustaining them. Presently, my research efforts are mostly focused on the limnology and biogeochemistry of lakes in the Mackenzie Delta (western Canadian arctic) and the potential responses of this system to the multiple stresses of global change. The International Polar Year has lead to recent expansion of our Mackenzie Delta research via a collaborative project IPY-SCARF. I also have substantial interest in the hydrology of lakes, hydrologic flow pathways in small catchments, and the dynamics and transport of nutrients in streams, rivers, and lakes.

Advanced training of graduate students and undergraduates in field and laboratory settings are an important element of advancing my research. I regularly teach a range of courses at SFU, including Limnology, Biogeochemistry, World Ecosystems, Physical Geography, Quantitative Techniques, & Analytical Tools in Biogeochemistry

Key words: limnology, biogeochemistry, catchment hydrology, aquatic ecosystems, floodplain lakes, large river ecology, river floodplains, lake hydrology, arctic ecosystems, tropical ecosystems, global change, lake districts

Publication list - Here