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Molot, Lewis

Molot, Lewis


Molot, Lewis


PhD Oceanography , University of Alaska
MSc Limnology) , University of Toronto
BSc Zoology , University of Toronto

Aquatic science

My interests focus on aquatic systems, specifically lakes. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in applied ecology. Often, I work with graduate students who conduct research examining relationships between science, management and sustainable development.

I also supervise graduate students pursuing scientific research in the Departments of Biology or Geography. Students with a BSc or MSc interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the scientific research area described below should contact me at


  • Development and maintenance of harmful cyanobacterial blooms in freshwaters.

Eutrophication (the condition created by excessive inputs of plant nutrients, especially phosphorus, to surface waters) remains an important global issue in spite of the wealth of attention paid to it in the last 50 years. The presence of cyanobacteria blooms in eutrophic waters is a major public health concern because many strains produce potent liver and nerve toxins as well as compounds that alter taste and odour of drinking waters. Cyanobacterial blooms have long been associated with excessive nutrient loading, prompting investment of large amounts of money in sewage treatment. In spite of many years of research, the specific mechanism causing cyanobacterial dominance of phytoplankton communities was not well understood until recently. My lab is studying (1) how the development of anoxic (oxygen-free) sediments triggers growth of cyanobacteria and displacement of more benign algal species, (2) the role of trace metals in initiating and sustaining cyanobacteria blooms, and (3) how sediment anoxia is affected by climate change.

Selected Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Tsuji, J.M., N. Tran, S.L. Schiff, J.J. Venkisteswaran, L.A. Molot, M. Tank, S. Hanada, and J.D. Neufeld. 2020. Anoxygenic photosynthesis and iron–sulfur metabolic potential of Chlorobia populations from seasonally anoxic Boreal Shield lakes. The Isme Journal, August.

Molot, L.A., S.L. Schiff, J.J. Venkiteswaran, H.M. Baulch, S.N. Higgins, A. Zastepa, M.J. Verschoor and D. Walters. 2019. Guiding principles for managing cyanobacteria blooms in a changing climate: Integrating nutrient limitation and sediment redox science into watershed management and in-lake treatment. Submitted.

Lukawiecki, J., R. Gagnon, C. Dokis, D. Walters and L.A. Molot. 2019. Indigenous consultation in the development of Ontario’s Great Lakes Protection Act. International Journal of Water Resources Development, accepted with revisions.

Li, J., L.A. Molot, M.E. Palmer, J.G. Winter, J.D. Young and E.A. Stainsby. 2018. Long-term changes in hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen in a large lake: Effects of invasive mussels, eutrophication and climate change on Lake Simcoe, 1980-2012. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 44: 779-787,

Kelly, N.E., J. Young, E. Stainsby, J. Winter, M. Palmer, and L.A. Molot. 2017. Sequential rather than interactive effects of multiple stressors as drivers of phytoplankton community change in a large lake. Freshwater Biology, 62: 1288-1302,

Schiff S.L., J.M. Tsuji, L. Wu, J.J. Venkiteswaran, L.A. Molot, R.J. Elgood, M.J. Paterson and J.D. Neufeld. 2017. Photoferrotrophy in an anoxic Boreal Shield lake can be used to probe the evolution of Archaean Life. Science Reports, 7:46798: 1-11, doi: 10.1038/srep46708

Molot, L.A. 2017. The effectiveness of cyanobacteria nitrogen fixation: Review of bench top and pilot scale nitrogen removal studies and implications for nitrogen removal programs. Environmental Reviews. 25: 292-295.

Verschoor, M.J., C.R. Powe, E. McQuay, S.L. Schiff, J.J. Venkiteswaran, J. Li and L.A. Molot. 2017. Reduced iron and warm temperatures as pre-conditions for cyanobacterial dominance in embayments along Georgian Bay, Great Lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 74: 1439-1453.