Education: PhD ’20, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Cornell Adviser: Peter McIntyre (CALS/Natural Resources & the Environment)
External Partner: United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Theme: Reducing Climate Risks
Invisible Impacts of Climate Change on Fisheries: More Toxic Fish in a Warmer World?
Stephen Jane researches freshwater ecosystems to ensure their preservation and protection. As part of his PhD, he led a collaborative project with the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network. It revealed that a rise in lake surface temperatures leads to oxygen depletion in lakes across the temperate zone.
Ongoing deoxygenation has wide-ranging implications for the future of lake ecosystems, including enhancing the accumulation of toxic mercury in food fishes. In many freshwaters, there is enough mercury in large fish to pose a risk to human health when consumed regularly.
Jane’s Cornell Atkinson project will focus on the role of low dissolved oxygen in New York lakes to provide predictive models that will help managers strategically target vulnerable lakes for monitoring and inform fish consumption advisories to the public. Additionally, in partnership with Peter McIntyre (CALS) and external advisor Collin Eagles-Smith, Jane’s work will inform policy around mercury mitigation efforts.