Home » GLEON News » Samiullah Khan, New Co-Chair Elect for the GLEON Student Association

Samiullah Khan, New Co-Chair Elect for the GLEON Student Association

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The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number DBI RCN 0639229 and MSB 1137327, 1137353 and other generous donors. This blog receives technical support from the Center for Limnology (CFL) at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Any information, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF, CFL, Cary Institute, GLEON or GLEON Student Association (GSA).


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Photo: Sami Khan at Lake Quramber Bathy, Ghizer, GB. Credit: courtesy of Sami Khan.

Samiullah Khan during the first ever bathymetric survey of Lake Quramber (a.k.a Karumber), District Ghizer, GB, Pakistan. (One of the world’s high altitude biologically active lakes; elevation: 14301 feet).

By Samiullah Khan

I was recently offered and readily accepted the co-chair elect position of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) Graduate Student Association (GSA), joining chair, Blaize Denfeld (Umeå University, Sweden) and co-chair Jonathan Doubek (Virginia Tech, USA). As a new member of the team, I would like to introduce myself and mention in brief my past and present professional and academic involvements.

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, under the supervision of Dr. Marc Schallenberg and Dr. Kevin Collier (University of Waikato, Hamilton). My Ph.D. thesis is part of a national project “Enhancing health and resilience of New Zealand lakes.”

Photo: Sami Khan at Lake Lunz. Credit: courtesy of Sami Khan.

Samiullah Khan with Mr. Hannes Hager in Lake Lunz, GLEON site in Austria (during retrieval of sediments traps from the lake for organic matter quality assessment).

For the first two years of my Ph.D. research, I am working on quantifying biodiversity and food web responses to lake resilience. In the project domain, we are focusing on four subject lakes; lakes in the South Island are deep and eutrophic, and facing issues with invasive zooplankton species (Daphnia pulex) which has largely displaced the native species Daphnia carinata, while lakes in the North Island are shallow and facing problems of invasive fishes including common carp. We use lipids (fatty acids) as biomarkers along with coupled eDNA and CSIA (compound specific stable isotope analysis) to understand trophic interactions and to quantify energy pathways and food-webs complexity, stability and resilience.

My third year of research will focus on food webs biomanipulation techniques for enhancing ecological processes in lakes. We aim to determine mechanisms by which lake food-webs can be altered through careful pelagic food-web manipulation. For this purpose, we will conduct mesocosms and in-lake experiments to increase abundance of native zooplankton grazers and/or phytoplankton competitors and to decrease the abundance of zooplanktivorous fish particularly exotic species.

Prior to my recent involvement as a GSA co-chair elect, I have a history of participation with GLEON. I am a pioneer member of GLEON from Pakistan and was introduced and brought to this forum by a senior GLEONite from the University of Western Australia, Dr. Matt Hipsey, in 2009. My first GLEON all-hands-meeting was GLEON 10 in Torres, Brazil, in 2010. I also have had the honor of working with Dr. Martin Kainz in the WasserCluster-Lunz as a student/researcher and later as a local organizing committee member for the GLEON 18 all-hands-meeting in Gaming, Austria.

Photo: Sami Khan with Paul Hanson at GLEON 10 meeting. Credit: courtesy of Sami Khan.

Samiullah Khan (at right) with Dr. Paul Hanson (GLEON Co-Chair) during GLEON 10 meeting in Torres, Brazil (May, 2010).

I have accomplished two Master of Science degrees, one in Environmental Sciences from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan and the other in Limnology and Wetland Management jointly taught by BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna; Egerton University, Kenya; and UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands.

I have served World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for nearly seven years (2007-2014) under the capacity of Senior Research Officer where my major responsibilities/ duties were to conduct limnological and ecological assessments of internationally important lakes (Ramsar sites) and other freshwater and marine ecosystems located in various ecoregions of the country. After joining GLEON in 2009, I aimed to establish at least one long-term lake ecological observatory in Pakistan but due to administrative, logistic and fiscal limitations it has yet to happen. I am still determined and hope that one day Pakistan will be able to contribute unique limnological information to the GLEON database.

Being a strong believer of team work, all-level-collaborations and networking, I am looking forward to serving the GSA and more importantly to learn from the GSA advisor, chair and co-chair, and all GLOEN members. I hope that I will prove right those who conferred me with the trust and responsibility to serve the GSA, in particular, and GLEON, in general.



  1. David Hamilton says:

    Congratulations Sami. It will be a pleasure to work alongside you! Regards, David Hamilton.

  2. salman farsi says:

    Proud of you brother..

  3. Abel U. Udoh says:

    Congrats, Sami. You will remember we were together at Torres in Brazil in 2009. It was my pleasure knowing a guy as dynamic as you. There is no doubt about your ability to handle your new position in GLEON successful. Though we in Turkey may not always be physically present at different meetings, we are always following events and developments as they occur and offering you our good wishes for successes.

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