Nick Mandrak
Associate Professor Nick Mandrak has dedicated his career to studying and preserving the biodiversity of the Great Lakes ecosystems. (Photo by Ken Jones)
Friday, May 25 - 2018
Don Campbell

A U of T Scarborough researcher and renowned expert on the risk posed by aquatic invasive species has been recognized for his career-long work in preserving Great Lakes ecosystems.

Associate Professor Nick Mandrak from the Department of Biological Sciences received the 2018 Jack Christie/Ken Loftus Award from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The award recognizes individuals or groups who adhere to the highest principles of science for the benefit of Great Lakes ecosystems and the fisheries they support.

“Dr. Mandrak is a distinguished scientist with a 30 plus-year-career specializing in the biodiversity and ecosystem health of Great Lakes’ fish,” said Bill Taylor, a Distinguished Professor in Global Fisheries Systems at Michigan State University, who presented Mandrak with the award.

During his career Mandrak, who is an expert on Canadian freshwater fishes, has authored or co-authored hundreds of academic articles and government reports, along with three highly cited books. As a leading expert in understanding the risk posed by aquatic invasive species, he also served as Executive Director of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada's National Centre of Expertise for Aquatic Risk Assessment of Aquatic Invasive Species.  

His work for the Biodiversity Science Section at the federal Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatics Sciences also led to advancing actions to protect and restore Great Lakes biodiversity. He also led scientific input for the development of federal species at risk policies.  

At U of T Scarborough he leads the Conservation and Biodiversity graduate program where he trains the next generation of Canadian conservation practitioners. His research program supports conservation of aquatic species and advancing effective prevention of the establishment of Asian Carps and other invasive species into the Great Lakes. His popular guide to fishes, published by the Royal Ontario Museum, is a trusted handbook to the public and fisheries professionals.

“He is a wonderful mentor for all thereby making a difference in their lives and in the health and wellbeing of the Great Lakes fisheries and aquatic ecosystems,” added Taylor. 

“For all he has done to further the conservation, protection, and recovery of freshwater fish biodiversity, make him a most deserving recipient of the 2018 Jack Christie/Ken Loftus Award.”

The award, which was recently presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, is named after Jack Christie and Ken Loftus, two scientists whose contributions advanced the concept of ecosystem management.