Photo of Karen E. Smokorowski

Karen E. Smokorowski

Adjunct Research Professor, Research Scientist

Degrees:B.Sc. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Trent)
Office:Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
1219 Queen Street E., Sault Ste. Marie, ON, P6A 2E5

Current Research

Understanding the impacts of human activities on freshwater ecosystems defines much of my research. Specifically, I provide credible scientific research linking anthropogenic activities such as hydroelectric dam operations and habitat alteration to effects on fish and lower trophic levels. I also direct research aimed at quantifying productive capacity of fish habitat in support of the DFO’s Fisheries Protection Program, and monitor for invasive species. One of my longest-term endeavours focuses on how hydroelectric power operations, specifically ramping rates, affect the ecosystem of the Magpie River, a waterbody that empties into Lake Superior. Direct measurements of fish productivity, invertebrate standing stock, and food webs via stable isotope analysis form the core of this empirical test of a real-world operational conflict between human needs and the environment. Newer research involves evaluating the effects of the International Joint Commission 2000 Rule Curve on the fisheries and habitat of the Rainy River, Ontario. I maintain a strong interest in using science to support policy development and resource management, particularly when new legislation or new technologies are involved.  I also work to maintain collaborations among academic and government researchers to meet science needs for DFO policy through endeavours such as NSERC HydroNet (

Selected Publications

Armanini, D.G.,  A. Idigoras Chaumel, W.A. Monk, J. Marty, K. Smokorowski, M. Power, D.J. Baird. 2014. Benthic macroinvertebrate flow sensitivity as a tool to assess effects of hydropower related ramping activities in streams in Ontario (Canada). Ecological Indicators 46, 466-476.

Tuor, K., Smokorowski, K.E., and Cooke, S.J. 2015. The influence of fluctuating ramping rates on the diets of small-bodied fish species of boreal rivers. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 98: 345-355. DOI: 10.1007/s10641-014-0264-5

Colotelo AH, Smokorowski KE, Haxton T, Cooke SJ. 2014. Comparative evaluation of four presumptive tests for blood to detect epithelial injury on fish. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 5(1):26–34; e1944-687X. doi: 10.3996/012012-JFWM-007

Hatry C., Binder T.R., Thiem J.D., Hasler C.T., Smokorowski K.E., Clarke K., Katopodis C., Cooke S.J. 2013. The status of fishways in Canada: trends identified using the national CanFishPass database.  Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 23: 271-281. DOI:10.1007/s11160-012-9293-3