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 ‘fish friendliness’ of new very low-head hydro turbine technology to understand impacts of their potential widespread installation in Canada, and quantifying the effectiveness of habitat enhancements designed to offset impacts of hydroelectric dam operations on fish. 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 and management. For example, I serve on the advisory committee and am coauthoring a number of systematic literature reviews being conducted by the Canadian Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation at Carleton University on behalf of DFO, and work towards bringing the resulting scientific evidence into formal science advice to DFO management through Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat processes.

Selected Publications

Cooke, S.J., A.M. Rous, L.A. Donaldson, J.J. Taylor, T. Rytwinski, K.A. Prior, K.E. Smokorowski and J.R. Bennett.  2018.  Evidence-based restoration in the Anthropocene – From acting with purpose to acting for impact.  Restoration Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/rec.12675.

Smokorowski, K.E., and R. G. Randall. 2017.  Cautions on using the BACI design in environmental effects monitoring programs. FACETS. DOI: 10.1139/facets-2016-0058.

Smith, A., Smokorowski, K.E., and Power, M. 2017. Spawning Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens Rafinesque) and their habitat characteristics in Rainy River, Ontario and Minnesota. Journal of Applied Ichthyology. 1-10. DOI: 10.1111/jai.13372

Kelly, B., K. E. Smokorowski, and M. Power. 2016. Impact of river regulation and hydropeaking on the growth, condition and field metabolism of Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). Ecology of Freshwater Fish.

Timusk E.R., Smokorowski K.E., Jones N.E. 2016. An experimental test of sub-hourly changes in macroinvertebrate drift density associated with hydropeaking in a regulated river. Journal of Freshwater Ecology. DOI: 10.1080/02705060.2016.1193064.