Research Director Named to the Maine Lake Science Center
The Lakes Environmental Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Benjamin L. Peierls, Ph.D. as Research Director for the Maine Lake Science Center in Bridgton. Dr. Peierls has been actively involved in aquatic ecosystem research for almost thirty years, including studies on lakes, large rivers, and estuaries. His focus has been on phytoplankton and microbial ecology and general water quality issues such as eutrophication (the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients, as phosphates, that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen). He is skilled in a range of chemical and biological techniques, field measurement instrumentation and long-term data management and analyses. His experience networking with and communicating science to academic, state agency staff, and a range of students and educators was particularly important to LEA’s recruiting team. According to Peierls, he “always thought an ideal career would be to run a field research institution and facilitate ecosystem research.” After earning his Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he continued work at the University’s Institute of Marine Sciences.
The Maine Lake Science Center was opened in June of 2015 to foster and sustain initiatives that will assure the long-term resilience of freshwater systems and communities. The Center uses an interdisciplinary solutions-oriented science approach, known as sustainability science, to link science with decision maker and policy development needs at municipal, state, and federal scales.
According to Peter Lowell, LEA Executive Director, “The appointment of Dr. Peierls will significantly advance lake and freshwater research in Maine and will expedite the steps that need to be taken in order to protect them.” LEA President, Orrin Shane, noted that “Ben brings to LEA both expertise in lake science and experience in directing research in a major aquatic research center. His skills and experience nicely complement LEA’s premier lake monitoring program. He will also provide leadership for our research program to understand lake tipping points and to help develop a Lake Vulnerability Index.”
Ben’s first day on the job was at the most recent researcher retreat (January 2017). “It was great to see the number and diversity of people collaborating on lake water quality issues. I felt at home right away, welcomed by friendly New Englanders.”