Before David Schindler was a renowned limnologist and Ecologist, he grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota called Barnsville. Here he was always known for his love of fishing and the outdoors. This got him particularly interested in limnology and ecology during his high school career.
Schindler was told in high school by the career counsellors that there weren't a lot of jobs in biology other than teaching and that really didn't appeal to him so he went on to study engineering. This was until he worked under Gabriel Comita at North Dakota state university for a summer and Comita told Schindler about the Rhodes Scholarship: this scholarship later got him to the University of Oxford. He there studied lakes from an ecosystem perspective under Nikko Tinbergen.
After Schindler graduated from the University of Oxford, he had offers from the University of Michigan and Yale but had turned them down for a Professor job at Trent University located in Peterborough. He there had an invitation to participate in an experimental lakes project that he could not turn down.
During the Experimental Lakes Area(ELA), Schindler's research had a huge impact on the results of the experiment. It focused a lot on eutrophication(oxygen starved lakes due to overgrowth of algae), this is caused by high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous. The lakes would take nitogen from the atmosphere and the levels could notbe controlleas easily so it was resolved by controlling the levels of phosphorous by removing sewage and changing the ingredients in laundry detergent.