Peter M. Chapman (1951 – 2017)
The editorial staff and Editors at the SETAC journal Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM), with heavy hearts, share with you the loss of our dear friend and colleague Peter M. Chapman. Peter left us much, much too soon on 26 September 2017.
We wish to dedicate this IEAM blog post to his memory. And we invite everyone reading this column to contribute their thoughts and favorite memories from Peter’s stellar career. We invite you to help us build one of many lasting remembrances to our dear friend.
Peter is among the precious few recognized by peers in academia, business and governments as a world-renowned environmental toxicologist. He will be remembered as an expert and leader in the field of ecological risk assessment and benthic ecology. Peter introduced the scientific and regulatory communities to methods for assessment of sediment quality that remain the state of the practice around the world. Among his many big ideas was the “Sediment Quality Triad,” now an internationally recognized approach for evaluation of sediment quality in streams, rivers, and oceans.
Peter’s career in ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry began more than 30 years ago. He graduated from the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada) in 1979 with a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology, emphasizing ecotoxicology and risk assessment. He was a partner for 25 years in EVS Environment Consultants in nearby Vancouver, among the earliest science-focused environmental consulting companies in North America and an inspiration for several successful environment professionals and ecology/risk consulting companies thereafter. He merged EVS with Golder Associates and worked 10 more years before retiring to his private consulting practice in 2014. Peter’s many science and consulting collaborations never slowed down.
In fact, Peter is forever known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm. He was traveling constantly to supervise ecology surveys, advise governments, meet with stakeholders at project sites, give lectures. We suspect satellite telephone technology was invented by his family to track his whereabouts.
Peter was a prolific writer of journal articles and books. He has an extensive and impactful publication record. It’s a wonder where he found the time. Many colleagues suspect Peter never slept.
At the core of Peter’s work was a fundamental faith in science. He challenged the users of scientific information, throughout his career, to rely on the principles fundamental to science to support their decision-making and to do so without bias. His strong conviction—together with others at SETAC—led 15 years ago to launching the Society’s science journal, IEAM. A journal—so much like Peter—dedicated to bridging the gap between scientific research and the use of science for management of the environment.
We miss Peter dearly.