My research interests centre on processes that affect (1) the stability of aquatic communities and ecosystems, and (2) relationships between sustainable growth and water quality and quantity. I am particularly interested in the role of biota and their interactions on the flux of energy and materials in food webs. My NSERC sponsored research considers the role of rooted aquatic macrophtyes and food web structure on the state in which shallow prairie lakes are found. Macrophytes may be stabilizing components of shallow lakes that allow them to exist in a relatively clear state. However, macrophyte biomass is also correlated to the rate and occurrence of winter anoxia, with implications to fish populations. Collaborative research is examining water quality and quantity in South Saskatchewan headwater rivers, and how this might change with future development. Ecologic and economic models will be coupled to create an expert system to allow evaluation of "what if" scenarios of change in light of full-cost accounting. This project considers land use and the delivery of material to rivers, as well as in-stream processes by biota.
Recently, my students and I have begun projects related to the occurrence and evolution of antimicrobial resistance associated with domestic wastewater treatment. Projects will initally use a meta-genomics approach to inventory the bacteria present in Biological Nutrient Removal processes and receiving environments. Follow-up studies will seek to identify upregulated AMR genes given environmental signals. We also have interest in co-evolution of AMR and metal resistance. A third project is using eDNA approaches to understand the occurrence of AMR genes associated with microplastics in wastewater biosolids.In addition to these research foci, I am also the Scientific Director of Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets, a $38.6 Million research infrastructure project that seeks to develop and test new wastewater treatment techologies to remove existing and emerging contaminants from municipal wastewater and demonstrate the technology's efficacy via analytical chemistry and through measuring environmental responses in 12 constructed, naturalized, experimental research streams. Follow the link below to learn more of ACWA, its principal investigators and industrial partners.