While contemplating what to write about my late colleague Denis, whose many outstanding contributions have left an everlasting fingerprint on our knowledge of Great Lakes ciliates, foodwebs and general ecology, I had a sudden leap down memory lane. It all started when our phycologist observed a considerable number of ciliates while analyzing Lake Ontario phytoplankton samples in the early 1990s. Initially, we did not pay much attention to those ciliates, focusing instead on algal particles. However, we came across so many of them that I contacted Dr. William Taylor, a professor at the nearby University of Waterloo, for advice. I knew Bill as a specialist in ciliates and zooplankton. Bill assisted us with the initial identifications and counting, but when the task grew beyond our expectations he recommended that we contact Denis Lynn at the University of Guelph. Denis showed interest in the project but was very frank in indicating that he had no previous experience with Great Lakes ciliates. This was undoubtedly true, since very little was known about the ciliates of the Great Lakes at that time. Luckily for us, Denis agreed to analyze Lake Ontario samples, with a small contract for a trained student under his supervision. Thus began our collaboration, which continued well after his retirement from Guelph in 2010. Even now, we continue to collaborate with Denis’s lab through the excellent support of his long-time associate, Michaela Strüder-Kypke.

For this anecdotal piece, I started to review Denis’s co-operation with our lab, which included almost three decades’ worth of collaborations with Denis on foodweb ecology in the Great Lakes. From 1990 to 2018 our collaborations were very productive, with 19 conference presentations, five book chapters, and six primary publications (Table 1a,b). The presentations show a variety of ciliate data collected in individual ecosystems ranging from Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, and Superior to the Bay of Quinte, as well as a comparison of all the Great Lakes. The 11 peer-reviewed publications similarly include a range of coverage sequentially from Lakes Erie, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, and Superior, the Bay of Quinte, and Hamilton Harbour, with comparisons of all the Great Lakes. Some noteworthy publications include Lynn and Munawar, 1999; Munawar and Lynn, 2002; Lynn et al., 2003; and Munawar et al., 2013, which provide first-time insight into the abundance, composition, grazing characteristics, and ecology of the Great Lakes ciliates and their interactions in the microbial loop.

Table 1.

a) Scientific presentations dealing with ciliates in collaboration with Denis Lynn.

Waterbody Number of Presentations Year(s) 
Lake Ontario 1991-1998 
Bay of Quinte (L. Ont.) 2003, 2010 
Lake Erie 1995, 1996 
Lake Huron, Georgian Bay 1997, 2007 
Lake Superior 2002 
Great Lakes 1996-2002 
Waterbody Number of Presentations Year(s) 
Lake Ontario 1991-1998 
Bay of Quinte (L. Ont.) 2003, 2010 
Lake Erie 1995, 1996 
Lake Huron, Georgian Bay 1997, 2007 
Lake Superior 2002 
Great Lakes 1996-2002 
Table 1.

b) Scientific publications in collaboration with Denis Lynn or incorporating ciliate analyses, indicating number of publications and (in parentheses) year of publication.

Waterbody Book chapters Journal articles 
Lake Ontario 1 (2003) 1 (2010) 
Bay of Quinte (L. Ont.) – 1 (2011) 
Hamilton Harbour (L. Ont.) – 1 (2017) 
Lake Erie 1 (1999) – 
Lake Huron, Georgian Bay 1 (2001) 1 (2003) 
Lake Michigan 1 (2005) – 
Lake Superior 1 (2009) – 
Great Lakes – 2 (2002, 2013) 
Waterbody Book chapters Journal articles 
Lake Ontario 1 (2003) 1 (2010) 
Bay of Quinte (L. Ont.) – 1 (2011) 
Hamilton Harbour (L. Ont.) – 1 (2017) 
Lake Erie 1 (1999) – 
Lake Huron, Georgian Bay 1 (2001) 1 (2003) 
Lake Michigan 1 (2005) – 
Lake Superior 1 (2009) – 
Great Lakes – 2 (2002, 2013) 

On the social side, I remember Denis as a likeable, charming, and outgoing man. During one of his visits to our laboratory in Burlington, we came to know that he liked international food, including Indian cuisine. Consequently, I was pleased to take him for an Indian lunch in one of the local restaurants, where he greatly enjoyed the tasty dishes.

As a protistologist, Denis should be credited with creating a unique database of ciliates in the Great Lakes in a relatively short period. Fisheries and Oceans Canada recognized the significant role of ciliates in food web dynamics and welcomed his collaboration wholeheartedly by allowing us to study the ciliates of these freshwater seas. Great Lakes science is greatly indebted to Denis Lynn for exposing the exciting unseen world of ciliates and their dynamics. His impact on the Great Lakes ecology is summarized and dedicated in the word cloud below (Fig. 1).

Figure 1.

Word cloud representing the collaborative Great Lakes ciliate research with Denis Lynn, based on joint presentations and publications.

Figure 1.

Word cloud representing the collaborative Great Lakes ciliate research with Denis Lynn, based on joint presentations and publications.

References

Lynn, D. H. , Munawar, M. ,
1999
. Abundance, biomass, and diversity of planktonic ciliates (Ciliophora) in Lake Erie. In: M. Munawar , T. Edsall , I. F. Munawar (Eds.),
State of Lake Erie (SOLE): Past, Present, and Future
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Lynn, D.H. , Munawar, M. , Carou, S. , Niblock, H. , Humby, P.L. ,
2003
. Abundance, biomass and diversity of planktonic ciliates (Ciliophora) in Lake Ontario. In: Munawar, M. (Ed.),
State of Lake Ontario (SOLO), Past, Present and Future
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171
186
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Ecovision World Monograph Series. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society
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Munawar, M. , Lynn, D.H. ,
2002
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Planktonic ciliates of the North American Great Lakes: Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario
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Munawar, M. , Munawar, I.F. , Fitzpatrick, M. ,
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