I am part of a small group of applied scientists in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. My interests focus on aquatic systems, specifically lakes and streams. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in applied ecology, and I am an active member of several professional organizations including the American Geophysical Union and the Canadian Society of Limnologists. Often, I work with graduate students in FES who conduct research examining relationships between science and sustainable development.
I also supervise graduate students pursuing scientific research in the Geography Department. Students with a BSc or MSc interested in pursuing a graduate degree in one of the scientific research projects described below should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The presence of cyanobacteria blooms in eutrophic waters is a concern because of the production of potent toxins and taste and odour altering compounds by many strains. Cyanobacterial blooms have long been associated with excessive nutrient loading, prompting the investment of large amounts of money in sewage treatment. In spite of many years of research, the specific mechanisms leading to cyanobacterial dominance are not well understood. My lab is studying whether iron limits growth of cynaobacteria in oligotrophic freshwaters.
I have also been studying the effects of multiple environmental stresses on lakes in central Ontario. The study sites have been the major focus of a long-term environmental monitoring project and have proven extremely useful in studying the effects of cottage development, acidification, climate change, mercury contamination and increasing ultraviolet radiation - all of which can affect the landscape simultaneously. For the past several years, my research has focused on describing the movement of carbon from forested catchments through northern lakes and the effects that UV and acidification have on the storage of carbon in lake sediments and the return of carbon to the atmosphere from lakes. Climate change is controlled to a large degree by the level of carbon in the atmosphere, yet we do not have a clear understanding of how carbon cycles into and out of the atmosphere. My work fills in some of the blanks about the fate of carbon after it is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant tissue in northern wetlands. I am currently examining how non-biological mechanisms transfer carbon to long-term storage in sediments.
The research has shown that lake carbon is derived in large part from catchments. Sediments in northern lakes in Canada, the U.S., Russia and Scandinavia comprise the second largest global store of carbon on land, nearly as large as the vast peat deposits and more than is stored in trees. We also found that the rate at which carbon is stored in sediments is affected by the rate of stream flow, the degree of acidification and the intensity of ultraviolet radiation.
Oni, S.K., M.N.Futter, L.A. Molot and P.J. Dillon. 2012. Modelling the long-term impact of climate change on the carbon budget of Lake Simcoe, Ontario using INCAC. Science of the Total Environment. 414:387-403.
Young, J., J.Winter and L.A. Molot. 2011. A re-evaluation of the empirical relationships connecting dissolved oxygen and phosphorus loading afater zebra mussel invasion in Lake Simcoe. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 37 (Supplement 3): 7-14.
Persaud, A., P.J Dillon and L.A. Molot. 2011. Relationships between body size and trophic position of consumers in temperate freshwater lakes. Aquatic Sciences. DOI10.1007/s00027-011-0212-9.
Koprivnjak, J-F., P.J.Dillon and L.A.Molot.2010. Importance of CO2 evasion from small boreal streams. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 24:GB4003. DOI: 10.1029/2009GB003723.
Molot, L.A., G. Li, D.L. Findlay and S.B. Watson. 2010. Iron-mediated suppression of cyanobacteria blooms by oxine in a eutrophic lake. Freshwater Biology. 55:1102-1117. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2009.02384.x.
Zhang, J., J. Hudson, R. Neal, T. Clair, M. Turner, D. Jeffries, P.J. Dillon, L.A. Molot, K. Somers and R. Hesslein. 2010. Long-term patterns of dissolved organic carbon in lakes across eastern Canada: Evidence of a pronounced climate effect.. Limnology and Oceanography. 55:30-42.
O’Connor, E.M., P.J. Dillon, L.A. Molot and I.F. Creed. 2009. Modeling regional-scale dissolved organic carbon mass balances for lakes of the Muskoka River Watershed. Hydrology Research. 40:273-290.
Porcal, P. J-F. Koprivnjak, L.A. Molot, and P. J. Dillon. 2009. The biogeochemistry of dissolved organic carbon and its interactions with climate change. Environmental Science and Pollution Research: Humic Substances Part 7. 16(6):714-726 (invited review).
Molot, L.A., Color of Aquatic Ecosytems. 2009. Chapter 69 In Encyclopedia of Inland Waters, G.E. Likens (editor in chief), Elsevier.
Molot, L.A. and P.J. Dillon. 2008. Long-term trends in catchment export and lake concentrations of major cations in the Dorset study area, Central Ontario. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65: 809-820. Dorset Environmental Science Centre special issue.
Kelton, N, L.A. Molot and P.J. Dillon. 2007. Spectrofluorometric properties of dissolved organic carbon from Central and Southern Ontario streams. Water Research. 41(3): 638-646.
Kelton, N, L.A. Molot and P.J. Dillon. 2007. Effect of ultraviolet and visible radiation on iron lability in boreal and artificial waters. Aquatic Sciences. 69(1): 86-95.
Medeiros, A.S. and L. A. Molot. 2006. Trends in iron and phosphorus loading to Lake Ontario from waste water treatment plants in Hamilton and Toronto. J. Great Lakes Research, 32: 788-797.
Dillon, P.J. and L.A. Molot. 2005. Long-term trends in catchment export and lake retention of dissolved organic carbon, dissolved organic nitrogen, total iron and total phosphorus: The Dorset, Ontario study, 1978-1998. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, 110, No.G01002, doi:1029/2004JG000003.
Molot, L.A., J.J. Hudson, P.J. Dillon and S.A. Miller. 2005. Effect of pH on photo-oxidation of dissolved organic carbon by hydroxyl radicals in a coloured, softwater stream. Aquatic Sciences, 67: 189-195.