News | Mar 5, 2021 | By Sumeep Bath, Communications Manager

IISD Experimental Lakes Area Celebrates the Life of One of its Founding Scientists

It was with great sadness that the team here at the world’s freshwater laboratory learned of the death of David Schindler on March 4, 2021, at the age of 80.

Put simply, without Dave, there would be no IISD Experimental Lakes Area as we know it today.

Back in 1968, David Schindler was named Leader of Experimental Lake Investigations at the nascent Experimental Lakes Area and went on to hold that position for over 20 years—until 1989.

Without Dave, there would be no IISD Experimental Lakes Area as we know it today.

In those two decades, he led the charge on multiple touchstone research projects at the site, including confirming the cause of harmful algal blooms and exploring the impact of acid rain on freshwater systems.

Indeed, it was the impact of these two critical studies that helped to ensure that Dave was the recipient of the inaugural Stockholm Water Prize in 1991. His countless achievements and accolades are too numerous to list, but they include 30 honours and 13 (academic and honorary) degrees from universities in North America and around the world.

Dave Schindler (left) led research at IISD Experimental Lakes Area from 1968 till 1989.

“Dave’s achievements are incredible, and he secured a legacy as one of the world’s leading freshwater researchers and a proud ambassador of Canadian science around the globe,” said Michael Paterson, Senior Research Scientist, IISD Experimental Lakes Area.

“Right now, our thoughts are with his family and those he left behind. I count myself among the many limnologists working in the field across the world today whose passion for fresh water and its protection was inspired by Dave’s pioneering approach to researching our fresh water. And for that, I thank him deeply.”

Dave’s legacy at the world’s freshwater laboratory is truly unparalleled, and his tenure at the site continues to impact and inform our work daily.

“Many limnologists working in the field across the world today were inspired by Dave’s pioneering approach to researching our fresh water.”

Dr. David Schindler, one of the co-founders and early pioneers of IISD Experimental Lakes Area, spent much of his illustrious career mentoring the freshwater scientists of tomorrow.

To honour and extend his legacy, we will be funding one limnology student per year to study and work at the world’s freshwater laboratory, to gain hands-on experience experimenting on real lakes and working with our experts.

  • If you wish to support the Dr. David Schindler Summer Internship at IISD-ELA, please consider making a gift to our Endowment Fund by clicking this link.
  • To donate by cheque, make the cheque payable to ‘The Winnipeg Foundation’ (with the memo notation ‘IISD-ELA Endowment Fund’) and mail to: IISD Experimental Lakes Area, FAO Louis St-Cyr, 325-111 Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 0T4.

Please note that every gift to the Endowment Fund will be tripled thanks to the generosity of Michael Paterson and The Gail Asper Family Foundation.