Dr. Michael Brylinsky


Dr. Michael Brylinsky, Ph.D. 1942 – 2015

Mike was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended Syracuse University obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology in 1966, and continued his studies at the Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, where he received a PhD in Ecology in 1971. Mike then moved to Nova Scotia to accept a post-doctoral fellowship at Dalhousie University and while there received a Killam Research Fellowship.

After a brief stint as an organic farmer and commercial weir fisherman in Kings County, Mike moved to Wolfville to reestablish his academic career at Acadia University. He commenced teaching biology and environmental science courses at Acadia in 1975 and in 1985 became a Research Associate of the newly established Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research, a position in which he was highly active up until his passing.  During his career at Acadia, Mike taught Aquatic Ecology and environmental field courses for many years, mentored and supervised numerous students, and led projects up until late 2014.  He wrote or contributed to over ninety publications, and was instrumental in the development and implementation of many research projects and water quality monitoring programs, all toward improving understanding and conservation of local rivers and waterways throughout the Maritime Provinces. 

Michael volunteered on numerous local and regional environmental committees. In 1998 Mike was honored with an Environmental Award from the Province of Nova Scotia. Mike was also a very supportive member of BoFEP right from its inception and was a particularly active and influential participant in the Minas Basin Working Group. He was a recipient of the Gulf of Maine Visionary Award in 2000, which noted that "Mike Brylinsky has spent more than 20 years educating students and volunteers about the estuarine, marine and freshwater ecosystems of the Bay of Fundy. A water quality monitoring program that Brylinsky developed for the Clean Annapolis River Project in the early 1990s has served as a model for Atlantic Coastal Action Programs".

In 1997 the Municipality of Kings sought to implement a volunteer lake monitoring program. Mike sat as a technical advisor on the program’s implementation committee and was one of the driving forces for getting the program off the ground. Once the program was set up Mike continued to dedicate his time through his role on the Technical Advisory Committee and by offering assistance in the field whenever it was needed. Mike also provided the annual analysis of the sampling results until 2007. Mike’s scientific knowledge, mentorship, and passion for protecting water quality played a large role in making the Lake Monitoring Program so successful over the years.

Mike passed away on May 24, 2015 following a six-month struggle with pancreatic cancer. His passion for education, conservation, sustainability and environmental stewardship, the Lake Monitoring Program, and impact on local and regional communities will be long remembered. In memory of Mike’s numerous and long-lasting contributions, the ACER laboratory has been forever named the Michael Brylinsky Laboratory.  

A touching tribute to his life can be found here. 


Academic Degrees

A.B., 1966 (Zoology) Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York

Ph.D., 1971 (Ecology) Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Professional Societies
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
Estuarine Research Federation
New England Estuarine Research Society
National Shellfisheries Association
Aquaculture Association of Canada
World Aquaculture Society

Professional Awards
NASA Pre-doctoral Fellowship (University of Georgia), 1966-68
NDEA Pre-doctoral Fellowship (University of Georgia), 1968-69
NRC Post-doctoral Fellowship (Dalhousie University), 1971-72
Killam Research Fellowship (Dalhousie University), 1972-73
Nova Scotia Environmental Award (Professional Category), 1998
Gulf of Maine Visionary Award, 2000

General Research Interests
Ecosystem structure and function; systems analysis and ecosystem modeling; energy flow in freshwater and marine ecosystems; factors controlling eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems.  Recent or current research projects:  (1) development of procedures for evaluating nutrient assimilation capacity of estuarine ecosystems (2) remediation of water quality impacts casued by agricultural activities (3) productivity and food chain dynamics of turbid water ecosystems, (4) evaluation of enhancement of productivity of acidified wetlands by artificial nutrient enrichment (5) influence of biological processes on sediment stability inintertidal systems (6) factors determining productivity and carrying capacity of bivalve aquaculture systems (7) development of monitoring programs for aquatic ecosystems, (8) impact of land-use practices on water quality.