Dr. Paul Keddy news, travels, lectures and books

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November 2018. Paul and Cathy Keddy both received Meritorious Service Medals from the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, in a ceremony at Rideau Hall.

September 2018. Paul’s book Wetland Ecology has now been translated into Chinese and published by Higher Education Press in Beijing. The lead translator was Lan Zhichun, a professor of plant ecology at Nanching University. To view the book for sale in its new language, click here

Chinese edition of Wetland Ecology

June 2018 Geology Excursion. One of the most important geological events that led to the modern world was the asteroid that hit Earth just over 66 million years ago, which is generally known as the K-T event. Paul’s book, Plant Ecology (pages 190-192), summarizes some of the consequences, including the replacement of gymnosperm forests by angiosperm forests, and the replacement of dinosaurs by mammals. This June, Paul was taken to visit one of North America’s finest sites documenting the effects of the asteroid. He was driven out into the prairies east of Denver (away from the mountains) to a small cliff in an erosion gully.  Here, among the layers of exposed sediment, it was possible to touch the precise rock layer containing dust from the asteroid. The layers of rock just above the dust layer reveal a devastated world, including soot from burning forests, and sulphur from acid rain. On the left is Dr. Ian Miller, a world expert on the event, who explained the geological record at that location. (And, a homework challenge for readers. The asteroid impact left evidence around the world, even as far away as New Zealand.  Where is the nearest geological evidence of this event near your own home?)

May 2018 Plenary Lecture. Paul gave the opening plenary address to an audience of about 500 people attending the annual meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of his talk was to explain how a small number of general scientific principles might be used to unify the science of wetland ecology, as well as to guide conservation and restoration of wetlands. The theme of the Denver meeting was “Wetland Science: Integrating Research, Practice and Policy - An Exchange of Expertise.”

Read abstract of talk.
View video of talk.

New book in 2017. Paul's latest book Plant Ecology was published by Cambridge University Press in full colour.  This book starts with the origin of plants and their role creating the biosphere, moves through key causal factors that control plant communities, and ends with chapters on plant diversity and plant conservation. There 13 chapters, over 300 illustrations, a glossary, review questions and suggested further readings. While the book is aimed at university students and scholars, the writing style and examples should make the book enjoyable for many non-specialists. The book can be ordered directly from Cambridge University Press here, or from other popular online sources including Amazon. There is also a page for Plant Ecology on this web site here.

December 2017. Paul gave a webinar on the foundational principles of wetland ecology titled “Five Causal Factors: A General Framework for Wetland Science and Restoration” hosted by the Society of Wetland Scientists in Madison, Wisconsin. There were 170 participants from around the world.  The presentation was recorded and can be viewed here. You will need to enter your name and email address in order to start the webinar.

November 2017. Review questions for Wetland Ecology are now available. As requested, there is now a set of review questions, organized by chapter. Students may find them helpful for study, while instructors may also find them useful for preparing tests or assignments.

June 2017. Paul received a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Wetland Scientists at their annual meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  This recognized more than forty years of original research on wetlands, many conservation achievements, and most especially, his book Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation. The society said the award is “for a lifetime of exceptional work for wetland science and conservation, highlighted by a vigorous research program, prolific and profound writings, excellent grantsmanship and committee work, and an international influence and reach.”

Read press release from SWS
Read Ottawa Citizen article
Read Ottawa Sun article

May 2017. A concise guide to wetland restoration. The newly-published Routledge Handbook of Ecological and Environmental Restoration is a comprehensive guide to repairing damaged ecosystems. Paul contributed the chapter “Restoration of Freshwater Wetlands”

May 2017. Paul was interviewed by Tom Spears about the benefits for wetlands from the recent high levels of spring flooding in eastern Ontario.

Ottawa Citizen article Flooding hits the 'reset button' for river life, scientists say

April 2017. Paul participated in a workshop at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters, to provide expert review of ongoing work on relationships between wetlands and water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.  This project is a significant example of applying the scientific principles of wetland ecology to the practical goal of restoring and protecting wetlands. The focus of the workshop was on measuring the benefits of the natural alternation of the lakes between high and low water levels.  The second chapter of Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation describes how water level fluctuations produce wetlands on lakes in particular, and along watercourses altogether. The foundations for this CCIW work were laid back in 1986 in a scholarly paper (Keddy and Reznicek 1986) describing the relationships between water level fluctuations and wetlands in the Great Lakes.

February 2016. Paul's guide to the scientific literature on wetlands has now been published by Oxford Bibliographies in Environmental Science. This contribution begins with a general guide to introductory sources, particularly important books.  The following sections will guide you to sources of information on more specific topics including flooding, nutrients, other causal factors, and geography.  Two concluding sections give an overview of wetland conservation, and an introduction to the significance of aquatic plants. You can consult this guide online at Oxford Bibliographies here. If you are not working at a large research institution or library, you will have on-line access to only the introductory section. If so, you may view a version of the complete article on this web site here.

October 2015. Paul's guide to the natural environment of Lanark County is now available in Carleton Place at The Book Gallery. This will also, for the first time, support online purchases through Abebooks.

September 2015. Paul's talk Functional Groups in Wetland and Riparian Plants: A Strategic Perspective is now available on-line at Vimeo here. It is 15 minutes long.

August 2015. Wonderful conservation news! The Nova Scotia Nature Trust has just announced yet another purchase of significant wild land with rare coastal plain plants, based upon field work and maps prepared by Paul several decades ago.  This concentration of rare wetland plants was discovered on a canoe trip made back in 1982.

Read about this lateast land aquisition. Quintessential Rare Plant Site Protected, Forever!
Read a popuar account of the canoe trip here
Read a scientific report from that canoe trip here
View an on line guide to Atlantic Coastal Plain Plants here.

July 2015. Paul was interviewed by Ottawa Magazine about his donation of a square mile of forest and wetland to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust.

Read magazine story here.

June 2015. Paul traveled to Providence, Rhode Island for the 2015 meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists. Their primary mission is to promote understanding, scientifically based management and sustainable use of wetlands. This year’s theme was “Changing Climate, Changing Wetlands”. At this meeting, Paul was made a Fellow of the society, “the highest recognition of membership bestowed by the society”. He also gave a keynote address to open a symposium focused on using plant traits to carry out predictive modeling for wetlands and floodplains. His presentation was titled: “Functional Groups in Wetland and Riparian Plants: A Strategic Perspective”, and as he said in his talk, the challenge was to cover a hundred years of progress in just 15 minutes.  A video of the talk will appear later this year.

Read the abstract here.
View the talk here.

May 2015. Paul received the prestigious W.E. Saunders award for natural history from Ontario Nature in recognition of his self-published guide Earth, Water, Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County.

April 2015. Paul and Cathy Keddy received a conservation award from the Ottawa Field-Naturalists Club for their “land conservation achievements in the Lanark area”, particularly the donation of land and development rights to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust that created the Keddy Nature Sanctuary.  This sanctuary protects hundreds of acres of Lanark County, including a large area of old hemlock forest, and more than a hundred acres of provincially significant wetland.

Read local story with a photo in The Millstone here.

January 2015. Competition is one of the most important forces in ecological systems. Paul published an updated and expanded version of his entry on Competition on the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences.

 Read this article here.

December 2014. The international journal Wetland Science & Practice, published by the Society of Wetland Scientists, wrote about the creation of the Keddy Nature Sanctuary as “An outstanding example of a personal contribution to Wetland Conservation”.

Read this article here.

June 2014. Radio conversation. Paul was interviewed by Bob Perrault for Lake 88 on June 27.  The topic was his donation of a square mile of forest and wetland to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (see April news).

Lake 88 web site about interview http://lake88.ca/category/in-focus

Interview (mp3) http://lake88.ca/media/140627.mp3

May 2014. Paul gave a talk to the annual general meeting of the Mississippi Lakes Association on 31 May.  The title was Mississiipi Lake: Past Present and Future.  The talk focused upon the ecological services provided by wetlands and the role of seasonal changes in water level for maintaining healthy wetlands. View the talk here.

April 2014.  Eastern Ontario now has a new 500 acre nature sanctuary.

"Couple's 999-year gift to nature" The Ottawa Citizen

Photo tour of property

March 2014.  Paul spoke to the monthly meeting of the Ottawa Field- Naturalists' Club on March 11. The illustrated lecture was based on his popular book, "Earth, Water, Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County". 

view film

for more on natural history in Lanark County, go here.

for more scientific readings on Lanark County, go here.

for a report on the event by Lynn Ovenden go here.

February 2014. Paul gave a public talk on wetlands to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists.  The main topics included (1) what wetlands are, (2) the four different kinds, (3) what their values are, and (4) some simple rules for their conservation. He also talked about local examples including the Mississippi Lake wetlands and the Appleton Swamp.  This presentationwas based upon the first chapter of his book, Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (Cambridge University Press, 2010). 

 to view the film go here.

September 2013.  Paul gave the opening plenary address to Open Landscapes 2013, a conference in Germany which brought together researchers from around the world with an interest in wild, or semi-wild, landscapes. Paul's talk was titled "Restoring and maintaining biodiversity in semi-natural open landscapes: bridging the oceanic divide"

View main page for Open Landscapes 2013 here

View Keddy page for Open Landscape 2013 here.

View abstract of Keddy presentation here.

View talk recorded at conference here. (with thanks to Rebecca Winter)

January 2013. Death in the Forest. On a snowy winter night in mid January Paul gave this talk to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists.  It addresses the role of carcasses (or 'coarse meaty debris') in forests, how they fit into the bigger context of forest restoration, and more.

View this talk at Vimeo here.

August 2012. Nothing is more embarrassing at a party, or a comprehensive exam, than finding people are talking about a scholar, or a field of knowledge, about which one is entirely ignorant. Really, one should just know about topics like Darwin’s finches, or Galapagos tortoises, or carnivorous plants, or peat bogs, just as one should know something about Beethoven or Shakespeare. But where you do start in your reading? Now available on line -- a guide to basic reading in ecology, from Dampier and Darwin to modern sources. Short essays with an annoted bibliography.

In the middle of May 2012. Paul spent two mornings with a film crew from Stornaway Productions who are working on a project tentatively called “Watershed”. They arrived at his home in the forest, and set up two cameras focused on one lone white chair, with a beaver pond in the background.  The first morning with Paul in that chair was spent on the scientific principles underlying wetland ecology, particularly flooding and fertility, and the need for simple general principles to unify ecological research.  A muskrat put in an appearance, voluntarily.  The second morning was spent on the relationship between science and conservation, which led to a wide-ranging inquiry into how humans can appear to be blind to the consequences of their harmful actions.  Topics included the fall of Troy, The March of Folly, Easter Island, and Hurricane Katrina.

1 May 2012. Over 120 people came to Arnprior to hear Paul give a public talk entitled "No Place Like Home in the Ottawa Valley" to the Macnamara Field Naturalists' Club. Drawing in part upon his book on Lanark County, and in part upon Wetland Ecology, Paul explored the importance of deciduous forests, the wetlands of the Ottawa River and introduced some of the most important natural areas in the region.

For more on the ecology of the Ottawa Valley, see here and here.

February 2012. Paul spoke in Toronto for World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2012.  The topic was "Science in the Service of Wetland Conservation: Advances, Retreats, Opportunities".

The talk can be viewed here.

A two page summary to download is here

Download poster

View conference web site at Science in the Service of Wetland Conservation: Advances, Reatreats, Opportunities.

Published in 2012! A new online bibliography to supplement Competition

Keddy, Paul A. 2012. Competition in Plant Communities. In: Oxford Bibliographies Online: Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

You can consult it immediately (and at no cost) here.

September 2011.  The first chapter of Competition, "Studying Competition", is now posted online.
    June 2011.  Paul gave the plenary address at the International Association for Vegetation Science in Lyon, France.
    Vegetation in and around water -- Two perspectives on wetlands (download abstract)

March 2011. "Where the Wild Things Are".  Public lecture in Lanark, Ontario, on the importance of wild places in Lanark County, for the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust Conservancy.

Ecologist will discuss 'wildness' in area (download newspaper article)

Where the Wild Things Are (download newspaper report)

2010 Symposium Address. Given to the Society of Wetland Scientists in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Looking back and looking ahead: Is there progress in wetland ecology? (download abstract) (view presentation on-line at vimeo)

2008.  Champion of Nature Award. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists give Paul a Champion of Nature award in a ceremony at Union Hall in Lanark County.

2008. Public lecture "Earth, Water, Fire: Lanark County's Natural Heritage" in Almonte, Ontario.

download poster

2008. The future of the Louisiana coast requires that cypress swamps be protected.

Keddy, P.A. 2008. Cypress logging and the Louisiana Coast. The Ponchatoula Times (download article)

2007. The Society of Wetland Scientists presents Paul with a Merit Award at their meeting in Sacramento, California.

2006. Hurricane Katrina destroys Turtle Cove Experimental Marsh

download story from the Bulletin of the British Ecological Society