The Chief Scientist is appointed through Ministerial Order under section 15.1 (1) of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

The role of the Chief Scientist is to:

  • communicate environmental science information to Albertans and government
  • provide scientific oversight on the provincial environmental science program


  • Acts as a champion of science, research, and the role of evidence, as a recognized expert and active researcher in environmental sciences.
  • Provides scientific advice to address complex environmental challenges and opportunities facing the province and the government.
  • Promotes and builds scientific excellence through partnerships with Universities and other credible scientific and research based institutions and organizations.
  • Ensures scientific information coming from Alberta Environment and Parks meets rigorous ethical and scientific standards.
  • Establishes and upholds a public schedule for environmental science reporting to inform the Government of Alberta and Albertans.

Advisory Panels

In addition to the responsibilities listed above, the Chief Scientist also consults and supports the Science Advisory Panel and the Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel to ensure an improved understanding of Alberta’s environmental issues.

Meet the Chief Scientist

Dr. Jonathan Thompson Chief Scientist, Ph.D.

Dr. Jonathan Thompson was appointed as Alberta’s Environment and Parks Chief Scientist on October 13th, 2020 for a three year term.

Dr. Thompson has contributed to wildlife and wetland science, and environmental monitoring efforts in Alberta for over 30 years including 12 years as an Adjunct Professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.

Previous Work

Before becoming the Alberta Environment and Parks Chief Scientist, Dr. Thompson worked as the Senior Wetland and Wildlife Biologist for a large consulting firm in Edmonton working primarily on wetland monitoring, wetland inventory and conservation planning to reduce industrial risks to wildlife.

Dr. Jonathan Thompson Chief Scientist standing in fall surroundings.

Prior to that, Dr. Thompson spent thirteen years working in the non-profit conservation sector as a Senior Research Biologist for western Canada working primarily on waterfowl and wetland-related projects. Earlier in his career, Dr. Thompson served as an Assistant Professor of Wildlife Science at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where his research program focused on migratory game bird biology and conservation, and coastal wetland ecology.

Throughout his career Dr. Thompson has served in leadership roles on a number of committees and projects in the province - bringing with him a breadth of knowledge that is an asset to the role of AEP Chief Scientist, including:

  • Providing expert advice to conservation partners on ways to adaptively improve conservation efforts.
  • Designing and leading prioritized research projects and developing the necessary partnerships to meet high priority information needs.
  • Assessing the effectiveness of landscape‐scale conservation and monitoring programs in meeting regional and provincial habitat and wildlife population objectives.
  • Advancing multi‐stakeholder approaches to development of effective environmental policies.
  • Identifying important conservation opportunities and evaluating risks to effectively implementing associated conservation plans.

Academic & Professional Credentials

Dr. ­­­­­­­Thompson holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Western Ontario (1996); a M.Sc. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from the University of Missouri (1992) and a B.Sc. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences (1988) from North Carolina State University. Dr. Thompson is also a Professional Biologist with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists.

Research Gate

Office of the Chief Scientist Publications

Special reports


Connect with the Office of the Chief Scientist:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: [email protected]

10th Floor, 9888 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 5C6

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