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Lewis Molot

Lewis Molot



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

Research Keywords

Aquatic Science, Eutrophication, Cyanobacteria Bloom Formation

Contact Information

Research Interests

My research focuses on aquatic ecology, specifically cyanobacteria bloom formation in lakes. 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 60 years. The presence of dense cyanobacteria blooms which displaces more benign algal species in eutrophic waters, is a major public health concern because many cyanobacteria strains produce potent liver and nerve toxins as well as compounds that alter taste and odour of drinking waters. In spite of decades of research, the development of effective management programs has been impeded because the specific mechanism allowing cyanobacterial dominance of phytoplankton communities was not well understood until recently.

Research Projects

My colleagues and I have been studying the association between development of anoxic (oxygen-free) sediments and growth of cyanobacteria populations with a focus on whether release of trace metals, especially iron, from anoxic sediments initiates and sustains cyanobacteria blooms. We are also examining whether bloom onset is promoted by transient anoxic events in shallow waters.

2020-2023           Global Water Futures, “FORMBLOOM: FORecasting tools and Mitigation options for diverse BLOOM-affected lakes: Phase 2”. In collaboration with H. Baulch (U of Saskatchewan) and J.J. Venkiteswaran (Laurier), lead investigators; 9 co-PIs and collaborators.

2019-2025           NSERC Discovery, “Dependence of cyanobacteria bloom formation and maintenance on anoxia and trace metals in eutrophic lakes”.

Research Output

Refereed Articles

Shah, P., S.K. McCabe, J.J. Venkiteswaran, L.A. Molot and S.L. Schiff. 2023. Monod parameterization and competition at low iron among freshwater cyanobacteria and chlorophytes. Hydrobiologia, 850: 1141–1157.

Molot, L.A. D.C. Depew, A. Zastepa, G.B. Arhonditsis, S.B. Watson and M.J. Verschoor. 2022. Long-term and seasonal nitrate trends illustrate potential prevention of large cyanobacterial biomass by sediment oxidation in Hamilton Harbour, Lake Ontario. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 48: 971-984,

Molot, L.A., S.N. Higgins, S.L. Schiff, J.J. Venkiteswaran, M.J. Paterson and H.M. Baulch, 2021. Phosphorus-only fertilization rapidly initiates large nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria blooms in two oligotrophic lakes. Environmental Research Letters, 16: 12 pgs,

Molot, L.A., S.L. Schiff, J.J. Venkiteswaran, H.M. Baulch, S.N. Higgins, A. Zastepa, M.J. Verschoor, and D. Walters. 2021. Low sediment redox promotes cyanobacteria across a trophic range: implications for bloom management. Lake and Reservoir Management, 37, 23 pgs.

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, 14: 2732-2747.

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, doi:10.1080/07900627.2019.1681261.

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,

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. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science. 74: 1439-1453.

Book Chapters

Dillon, P.J. and L.A. Molot. 2023. Chapter 15, Phosphorus. Limnology, 4th edition, R.G. Wetzel. Edited by J.P Smol and Ian Jones. Elsevier. In press.

Molot, L.A. and P.J. Dillon. 2023. Chapter 10, Water as a Chemical Environment. Limnology, 4th edition. R.G. Wetzel. Edited by J.P Smol and Ian Jones. Elsevier. In press.

Recognition & Awards

  • Lake and Reservoir Management journal’s Jim LaBounty Best Paper Award in 2021


Course CodeTitle
ENVS 3401The Science of Pollution