Department of Earth SciencesWestern Science

Dr. Fred Longstaffe

Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science

Fred Longstaffe Distinguished University Professor & Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Stable Isotope Science
Director, Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science
P.Geol., F.R.S.C.
Ph.D. McMaster University, 1978
Office: BGS 1023
Labs: BGS 0159, WSC 54
Phone: 519-661-2111 x.83177
Fax: 519-661-3198
Lab Website

Research Interests

Stable isotope science across the atmosphere-hydrosphere-biosphere-lithosphere (soil, sediment, rock) continuum (Earth-Systems Science); Stable isotope and biomarker proxies for paleoclimate reconstruction in continental and lacustrine systems; Stable isotope systematics of Pleistocene and Holocene ecosystems and associated megafauna; Stable isotope systematics of bioapatite, collagen and keratin; Stable isotope ecology; Stable isotope hydrology; Climate change and environmental reconstruction; Stable isotope systematics of hydrous minerals; Triple oxygen-isotope systematics in nitrates, silicates and biogenic phosphates; Stable isotopic analysis of anthropological materials and its applications to environment and climate reconstruction; Clay mineralogy; Rock-water interaction in hydrothermal systems and mineralization; Diagenesis of clastic sedimentary systems.

Publications (2013-2016)


▪   Huggett J, Adetunji J, Longstaffe FJ & Wray D (in press) Mineralogical and geochemical characterization of warm water, shallow marine glaucony from the Tertiary of the London Basin. Clay Minerals.
▪   Aggarwal P, Romatschke U, Araguas-Araguas L, Belachew D, Longstaffe FJ, Berg P, Schumacher C & Funk A (2016) Water isotopes reveal the proportions of convective and stratiform precipitation. Nature Geoscience 9: 624-630.
▪   Ballent A, Corcoran, P, Odile M, Helm PA & Longstaffe FJ (2016) Sources and sinks of microplastics in Canadian Lake Ontario nearshore, tributary and beach sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin 110: 383-395.
▪   Colborne SF, Garner SR, Longstaffe FJ & Neff BD (2016) Assortative mating but no evidence of genetic divergence in a species characterized by a trophic polymorphism. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 29: 633-644.
▪   Dolphin AE, Teeter MA, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2016) Limiting the impact of destructive analytical techniques through sequential microspatial sampling of the enamel from single teeth. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 5: 537-541.
▪   Hill C, Corcoran PL, Aranha R & Longstaffe FJ (2016) Microbially induced sedimentary structures in the Paleoproterozoic, upper Huronian Supergroup, Canada. Precambrian Research 281: 155-165.
▪   Hladyniuk R & Longstaffe FJ (2016) The oxygen-isotope composition in post-glacial Lake Ontario. Quaternary Science Reviews 134: 39-50.
▪   Howe TS, Corcoran PL, Longstaffe FJ, Webb EA & Pratt RG (2016) Climatic cycles recorded in glacially influenced rhythmites of the Gowganda Formation, Huronian Supergroup. Precambrian Research 286: 269-280.
▪   Huggett J & Longstaffe FJ (2016) A brief account of new petrographic and isotopic insights into the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Puddingstones of SE England. Proceedings of the Geological Association 127: 327-336.
▪   Hundey EJ, Russell SD, Longstaffe FJ & Moser KA (2016) Agriculture causes nitrate fertilization of remote  alpine lakes. Nature Communications 7: 10571.
▪   Matthews C, Longstaffe FJ & Ferguson S (2016) Dentine oxygen isotopes (δ18O) as a proxy for odontocete distributions and movements. Ecology and Evolution 6: 4643-4653.
▪   Morris Z, White C, Hodgetts L & Longstaffe FJ (2016) Maize provisioning of Ontario Late Woodland turkeys: Isotopic evidence of seasonal, cultural, spatial and temporal variations. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10: 596-606.
▪   Olsen KC, White CD, Longstaffe FJ, Rühli FJ, Warinner C & Salazar-Garcia DS (2016) Isotopic anthropology of rural German medieval diet: intra- and inter-population variability. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences: 1-13. doi 10.1007/s12520-016-0432-y
▪   Metcalfe J, Longstaffe FJ, Jass C, Zazula G & Keddie G (2016) Taxonomy, location of origin and health status of proboscideans from Western Canada investigated using stable isotope analysis. Journal of Quaternary Science 31: 126-142.
▪   Schofield DI, Potter J, Barr SM, Horák JM, Millar IL & Longstaffe FJ (2016) Reappraising the Neoproterozoic ‘East Avalonian’ terranes of southern Great Britain. Gondwana Research 35: 257-271.
▪   Szpak P, Chicoine D, Millaire J-F, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2016) Early Horizon camelid management practices in the Nepeña Valley, north-central coast of Peru. Environmental Archaeology 21: 230-245.
▪   Szpak P, Millaire JF, White CD, Bourget S & Longstaffe FJ (2016). Life histories of sacrificed camelids from Huancaco (Virú Valley).  Chapter 12: 319-341. In: Ritual violence in the ancient Andes: Reconstructing Sacrifice on the North Coast of Peru. Edited by H.D. Klaus and J.M. Toyne,  University of Texas Press, Austin.
▪   White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2016) Stable isotopes and selective forces: examples in biocultural and environmental anthropology. Chapter 12:  241-257. In: New Directions in Biocultural Anthropology. Edited by M.K. Zuckerman and D.L. Martin, Wiley-Blackwell, New York.
▪   Zhou S, Polat A, Longstaffe FJ, Yang K, Fryer BJ & Weisener C (2016) Formation of the Neoarchean Bad Vermilion Lake Anorthosite Complex and spatially associated granitic rocks at a convergent plate margin, Superior Province, western Ontario, Canada. Gondwana Research 33: 134-159.


▪   Berchtold AE, Colborne SF, Longstaffe FJ & Neff BD (2015) Ecomorphological patterns linking morphology and diet across three populations of pumpkinseed sunfish. Canadian Journal of Zoology 93: 289-297.
▪   Colborne SF, Clapp AM, Longstaffe FJ & Neff BD (2015) Foraging ecology of native pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) following the invasion of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72: 983-990.
▪   Colborne SF, Hain TJA, Longstaffe FJ & Neff BD (2015) The potential for less invasive inference of resource use: covariation in stable isotope composition between females and their eggs in Bluegill. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 144: 283-291.
▪   Fraser EC, Miller J-F, Longstaffe FJ & Fenton MB (2015) Systematic variation in the stable hydrogen isotope (δ2H) composition of fur from summer populations of two species of temperate insectivorous bats. Mammalian Biology 80: 278-284.
▪   Hladyniuk R & Longstaffe FJ (2015) Paleoproductivity and organic matter sources in Late Quaternary Lake Ontario. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 435: 13-23.
▪   Huggett JM, Burley SD, Longstaffe FJ, Saha S & Oates M (2015) The nature and origin of authigenic chlorite and related cements in the Oligo-Miocene of the Mumbai Offshore Basin, Western Indian continental margin. Journal of Petroleum Geology 38: 383-410.
▪   Schwartz-Narbonne R, Longstaffe FJ, Metcalfe JZ & Zazula G (2015) Solving the woolly mammoth conundrum: amino acid 15N-enrichment suggests a distinct forage or habitat. Scientific Reports 5: 09791 (6 pages + supplementary material) DOI: 10.1038/srep09791.
▪   Skuce M, Longstaffe FJ, Carter TR & Potter J (2015) Isotopic fingerprinting of groundwaters in southwestern Ontario: applications to abandoned well remediation. Applied Geochemistry 58: 1-13.
▪   Szpak P, Millaire J-F, White CD, Lau GF, Surrette F & Longstaffe FJ (2015) Origins of Prehispanic camelid wool textiles from the North and Central coasts of Peru traced by carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis. Current Anthropology 56: 449-459.
▪   Webb EC, White CD, van Uum S & Longstaffe FJ (2015) Integrating cortisol and isotopic analyses of archaeological hair: Elucidating juvenile antemortem stress and behaviour. International Journal of Paleopathology 9: 28-37.
▪   Webb EC, White CD, Van Uum S & Longstaffe FJ (2015) Integrating cortisol and isotopic analyses of archaeological hair: reconstructing individual experiences of health and stress. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156: 577-594.


▪   Hundey J, Moser KA, Longstaffe FJ, Michelutti N & Hladyniuk R (2014) Recent changes in production in oligotrophic Uinta Mountain lakes, Utah, identified using paleolimnology. Limnology and Oceanography 59: 1987-2001.
▪   Knudson KJ, Webb EC, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2014) Baseline data for Andean paleomobility research: a radiometric strontium isotope study of Peruvian soils. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 6:  205-219.
▪   Metcalfe JZ & Longstaffe FJ (2014) Environmental change and seasonal behaviour of mastodons in the Great Lakes region inferred from stable isotope analysis. Quaternary Research 82: 366-377.
▪   Olsen KC, Cleland S, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2014) Human dedicatory burials from Altun Ha, Belize: exploring residential history through enamel microwear and tissue isotopic compositions. In: The Bioarchaeology of Space and Place: Ideology, Power and Meaning in Maya Mortuary Contexts. Springer Science+Business Media, New York. Edited by G Wrobel, 169-192.
▪   Olsen KC, White CD, Longstaffe FJ, von Heyking K, McGlynn G, Grupe G & Rühli FJ (2014) Intraskeletal isotopic compositions (δ15N, δ13C) of bone collagen: nonpathological and pathological variation. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 153: 598-604.
▪   Petts DC, Davis WJ, Moser DE & Longstaffe FJ (2014) Age and evolution of the lower crust beneath the western Churchill province: U-Pb zircon geochronology from kimberlite-hosted granulite xenoliths, Nunavut, Canada. Precambrian Research 241: 129-145.
▪   Petts DC, Moser DE, Longstaffe FJ, Davis WJ & Stern RA (2014) 1.8 billion years of fluid-crust interaction: a zircon oxygen isotope record for the lower crust, western Churchill Province, Canadian Shield. Lithos 192-195: 259-270.
▪   Polat A & Longstaffe FJ (2014) A juvenile oceanic island arc origin for the Archean (2.97 Ga) Fiskenæsset anorthosite complex, southwestern Greenland: Evidence from oxygen isotopes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 396: 252-266.
▪   Stadnyk TA, Gibson JJ & Longstaffe FJ (2014) Basin-scale assessment of operational baseflow separation methods. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 04014074.
▪   Schwarcz HP, Stafford TW, Knyf M, Chisholm B, Longstaffe FJ, Chatters J & Owsley D (2014) Stable isotopic evidence for diet and origin. In: Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton. Edited by DW Owsley & RL Jantz. Texas A&M University Press, Chapter 16: 310-322.
▪   Szpak P, Longstaffe FJ, Millaire J-F & White CD (2014) Large variation in nitrogen isotopic composition of a fertilized legume. Journal of Archaeological Science 45: 72-79.
▪   Szpak P, Millaire J-F, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2014) Small-scale camelid husbandry on the north coast of Peru (Virú Valley): Insight from stable isotope analysis. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 36: 110-129.
▪   Toyne JM, White CD, Verano JW, Castillo SU, Millaire J-F & Longstaffe FJ (2014) Residential histories of elites and sacrificial victims at Huacas de Moche, Peru, as reconstructed from oxygen isotopes. Journal of Archaeological Sciences 42: 15-28.
▪   Webb EC, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2014) Investigating inherent differences in isotopic composition between human bone and enamel bioapatite: implications for reconstructing residential histories. Journal of Archaeological Science 50: 97-107.
▪   Zazula GD, MacPhee RDE, Metcalfe J, Reyes AV, Brock F, Drukenmiller PS, Groves P, Harington CR, Hodgins GW., Kunz ML, Longstaffe FJ, Mann DH, McDonald HG, Nalawade-Chavan S & Southon JR (2014) Mastodon extinction in the Arctic and Subarctic predates human colonization and terminal Pleistocene climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 18,460-18,465.


▪   Colborne SF, Peres-Neto PR, Longstaffe FJ & Neff BD (2013) Effects of foraging and sexual selection on ecomorphology of a fish with alternative reproductive tactics. Behavioral Ecology 24: 1339-1347.
▪   Fraser EE, Longstaffe FJ & Fenton MB (2013) Moulting matters: the importance of understanding moulting cycles in bats when using fur for endogenous marker analysis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 91: 533-544.
▪   Libbey RB, Longstaffe FJ & Flemming RL (2013) Clay mineralogy, oxygen isotope geochemistry and water/rock ratio estimates, Te Mihi area, Wairakei Geothermal Field, New Zealand. Clays and Clay Minerals 61: 204-217.
▪   McKay JL & Longstaffe FJ (2013) Tracking fluid movement during cyclic steam stimulation of Clearwater Formation oil sands using stable isotope variations of clay minerals. Clays and Clay Minerals 61: 440-460.
▪   Metcalfe JZ, Longstaffe FJ & Hodgins G (2013) Proboscideans and paleoenvironments of the Pleistocene Great Lakes: landscape, vegetation, and stable isotopes. Quaternary Science Reviews 76: 102-113.
▪   North RL, Barton D, Crowe AS, Dillon PJ, Dolson RML, Evans DO, Ginn BK, Håkanson L, Hawryshyn J, Jarjanazi H, King JW, La Rose JKL, León L, Lewis CFM, Liddle GE, Lin ZH, Longstaffe FJ, Macdonald RA, Molot L, Ozersky T, Palmer ME, Quinlan R, Rennie MD, Robillard MM, Rodé D, Rühland KM, Schwalb A, Smol JP, Stainsby E, Trumpickas JJ, Winter JG & Young JD (2013) The state of Lake Simcoe (Ontario, Canada): the effects of multiple stressors on phosphorus and oxygen dynamics. Inland Waters 3: 51-74.
▪   Potter J, Salvi S & Longstaffe FJ (2013) Abiogenic hydrocarbon signatures in granitic rocks: identifying pathways of formation. Lithos 182-183: 114-124.
▪   Spence MW, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2013) An archaeology of Cerro Portezuelo bioarchaeology: burial analysis and the (re)excavation of contexts from a 1950s project. Ancient Mesoamerica 24: 185-199.
▪   Szpak P, White CD, Longstaffe FJ, Millaire J-F & Vásquez Sánchez VF (2013) Carbon and nitrogen isotopic survey of northern Peruvian plants: baselines for paleodietary and paleoecological studies. PLoS One 8: e53763.
▪   Webb EC, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2013) Dietary shifting in the Nasca Region as inferred from the carbon- and nitrogen-isotope compositions of archaeological hair and bone. Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 129-139.
▪   Webb EC, White CD & Longstaffe FJ (2013) Exploring geographic origins at Cahuachi using stable isotopic analysis of archaeological human tissues and modern environmental waters. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 23: 698-715.

Courses Taught (current)

▪   Geology 9956b: Advanced Stable Isotope Science I: Low Temperature Systems (each year)
▪   Earth Sciences 4431a/Geology 9506a: Stable Isotope Geochemistry in Earth and Environmental Sciences (each year)

Students and Staff

Current Staff

Kim Law, Li Huang, Grace Yau, Tessa Plint

Current Students

▪   Jacob Walker, PhD candidate (Geology)
Exploring the climate in southwestern Ontario during the Early to Mid Holocene using conventional and clumped isotope analysis of marl lakes

▪   Stephanie Mabee, PhD candidate (Geology)
Paleodiet and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of Late Pleistocene muskoxen Bootherium bombifrons and Ovibos moschatus using stable isotope analysis

▪   Jordon Munizzi, PhD candidate (Anthropology)
Isotopic zooarchaeology in the Canadian Arctic: A historical ecological approach to terrestrial paleoecology on Banks Island, NWT over the Last 4000 years

▪   Diana Moreiras, PhD candidate (Anthropology)
Aztec diets and mobility: A stable isotope study of human sacrificial offerings from Tenochtitlan

▪   André Duarte, PhD candidate (Biology)
Effects of past low CO2 concentrations on plant physiology and biochemistry

▪   Rebecca Doyle, PhD candidate (Geography and Environment & Sustainability)
Understanding nitrogen and carbon isotope signals in lake sediments using compound-specific stable isotope analysis

▪   Alana Crump, MSc candidate (Geology)
Stable isotopic investigations of organic biomarker variation in the plant-soil-clay system

▪   Jane Wilson, MSc candidate (Geology)
Using stable isotope proxies to elucidate climatic variability of SW Ontario over the last 10,000 years

▪  Skylar Chauvin, MSc candidate (Geology, University of Ottawa)
O and H isotope systematics of clay-pore water interaction in low permeability rocks

▪   Wanli Cheng, Course-based MSc candidate (Geology)
Mineralogy and stable isotope variation of South Bay sediments, Manitoulin Island: Implications for lake level history since the Late Pleistocene

▪   Trevor Ceccanese, Course-based MSc candidate (Geology)
Climate signals from oxygen and hydrogen isotopes of atmospheric water vapour and precipitation, London, ON

▪   Emma-Dawn Ferguson, MSc candidate (Geology)
Quaternary paleolimnological reconstruction of the St. Agatha marl, Ontario using calcium isotopes 

▪   Jumin Lee, MSc candidate (Geology)
Reconstruction of seasonal paleoclimate variations using oxygen, carbon and hydrogen isotopes of tree rings from sub-fossil Pleistocene wood in Ontario

▪   Destiny Allen-Green, BSc candidate (Geography)
Mineralogical variation of South Bay sediments, Manitoulin Island: Implications for lake level history since the Late Pleistocene


Recent Post-doctoral Fellows/ Research Associates

Rachel Schwartz-Narbonne, Andrea Prentice, Farnoush Tahmesabi, Ryan Hladyniuk, Corey Maggiano (Banting), Nadia Dildar, Natalie St. Amour

Recent Graduate Theses

▪   Laura Colgrove (2017) MSc (Geology)
A regional chemical characterization and analysis of groundwater in eastern Ontario

▪   Deana Schwarz (2017) PhD (Geology)
A stable isotope investigation of pollen from Pinery Provincial Park, southwestern Ontario, Canada

▪   Tessa Plint (2017) MSc (Geology)
Giant beaver (Castoroides) palaeoecology inferred from stable isotopes

▪   Roshni Patel (2016) MSc (Geology)
Inter- and intra-annual C and N isotopic variability of C3 and C4 grasses in a temperate-humid dune environment

▪   Zijun Liu (2016) MSc (Geology)
Stable isotope paleolimnology of Barry Lake, Ontario, Canada since AD ~1268

▪   Rachel Schwartz-Narbonne (2016) PhD (Geology)
Reframing the mammoth steppe: Examining mammoth steppe ecology using carbon and nitrogen isotopic compositions of megafauna collagen

▪   Farnoush Tahmesabi (2016) PhD (Geology)
Carbon and nitrogen isotopic investigations of the Late Pleistocene paleoecology of eastern Beringia, Yukon Territory, using soils, plants and rodent bones

▪   Rohan Aranha (2015) MSc (Geology)
Factors controlling the composition and lithofacies characteristics of the Paleoproterozoic Bar River Formation, Huronian Supergroup

▪   Tim Howe (2015) MSc (Geology)
Investigating potential climatic cycles in glacially-influenced rhythmites of the upper Gowganda Formation using geochemical, sedimentological and spectral analyses

▪   Zoe Morris (2015) PhD (Anthropology)
Reconstructing subsistence practices of southwestern Ontario Late Woodland peoples (AD 900-1600) using stable isotopic analyses of faunal material

▪   Sam Russell (2015) PhD (Geology)
Nitrate sources in the Old Ausable River Channel and adjacent aquifers in Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

▪   Laura Booth (2015) MA (Anthropology)
A stable isotope analysis of faunal remains from special deposits on Ontario Iroquoian Tradition sites

▪   Ryan Hladyniuk (2014) PhD (Geology)
The Late Quaternary paleolimnology of Lake Ontario

▪   Emily Wells (2014) MA (Anthropology)
Sacred Heart: A stable isotope analysis of childhood, diet and mobility at a nineteenth century Ontario cemetery

▪   Beth Hundey (2014) PhD (Geography)
Nitrate sources and lake response in high elevation lakes, Uinta Mountains, Utah

▪   Mitchell Skuce (2014) MSc (Geology)
Isotopic fingerprinting of shallow and deep groundwaters in southwestern Ontario and its applications to abandoned well remediation

▪   Scott Colborne (2013) PhD (Biology)
Foraging ecology, sexual selection and divergence in sunfish (Lepomis spp.)

▪   Alica Donis (2013) MA (Anthropology)
Exploring the movement of people in Postclassic and Historic Period Lamanai using stable isotopes

▪   Leslie Erdman (2013) MSc (Biology)
Trophic level influence on stable hydrogen isotopic composition of bat fur

▪   Paul Szpak (2013) PhD (Anthropology)
Stable isotope ecology and human-animal interactions in northern Peru

▪   Karyn Olsen (2013) PhD (Anthropology)
A multi-isotope investigation of two medieval German populations: Insight into the relationship among diet, disease, and tissue isotopic compositions

▪   Carlie Pennycook (2013) PhD (Anthopology)
A stable isotope investigation of palaeodiet and residential mobility during the integration period, Quito basin, Ecuador

▪   Lindsey Valliant (2013) MSc (Biology)
Overwintering diet quality and spring breeding in the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)

▪   Nicolle Bellissimo (2013) MSc (Geology)
Origins of stable isotopic variations in Late Pleistocene horse enamel and bone from Alberta

▪   Camilla Bernardes A.A. Neves (2013) MSc (Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro)
Paleoecology of the great carnivorans (Carnivora: Mammalia) of the Brazilian Quaternary

▪   Barbara Hewitt (2013) PhD (Anthropology)
Foreigners among the dead at Túcume, Peru: Assessing residential mobility using isotopic tracers

▪   Candace Freckleton (2013) MSc (Geology)
A physical and geochemical characterization of southwestern Ontario’s breathing well region

▪   Duane Petts (2012) PhD (Geology)
Deep crustal evolution of the western Churchill Province, Nunavut, Canada: Isotopic (U-Pb, O), trace element, and micro-structural analysis of zircon from lower crustal xenoliths

▪   Reba McDonald (2012) PhD (Geology)
Late Quaternary histories of Lakes Huron and Michigan: A stable isotope investigation of sediment cores and modern biogenic carbonates

▪   Erin Fraser (2012) PhD (Biology)
Stable isotope analyses of bat fur: Applications for investigating North American bat migration

▪   Jessica Metcalfe (2011) PhD (Geology with Environmental Science)
Late Pleistocene climate and proboscidean paleoecology in North America: Insights from stable isotope compositions of skeletal remains

▪   Emily Webb (2011) PhD (Anthropology)
Residential mobility, palaeodiet and stress in Nasca, Peru: Biogeochemical and biomolecular analyses of archaeological tissues

▪   Ayumi Hyodo (2010) PhD (Geology)
The Holocene paleolimnology of Lake Superior

Recent Undergraduate theses

▪   Doyle, R. (2015) BSc (Environmental Science)
Carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of terrestrial and semi-aquatic sources for Uinta Mountain (Utah, USA) lake sediments

▪   Schincariol, A. (2014) BSc (Geology)
Stable isotope geochemistry of shelly fauna from the Old Ausable River Channel, southwestern Ontario: A record of environmental change over the last 50 years

▪   Nurmohamed, Z. (2014) BSc (Environmental Science)
Paleoclimatic conditions during the Nipissing Phase of ancestral Lake Huron near Ferndale, Ontario, using stable isotope compositions of shelly fauna

▪   Skubel, R. (2012) BSc (Environmental Science)
Using carbon, nitrogen, and their isotopic ratios to determine trophic levels and nutrient sources in Taylor Lake, Utah

▪   Bellissimo, N. (2010) BSc (Geology)
Stable isotope composition of northern Lake Huron during the Holocene

▪   Ciszkowksi, C. (2010) BSc (Geology)
Clay mineralogy of Holocene sediments from Lake Superior

▪   Libbey, R. (2010) BSc (Geology)
Defining the smectite illitization sequence in Well WK244, Wairakei geothermal field, New Zealand

▪   Wakabayashi, N. (2010) BSc (Geology)
An assessment of meltwater influx using oxygen- and carbon-isotope compositions of ostracodes from Holocene sediments of northeastern Lake Huron


2016: Destiny Allen-Green, Maria Digelatos, Amanda Philavong

Available Graduate Research Projects

Student researchers in the Longstaffe group measure oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen isotopic variations to address one or more of the following general questions:

1. What is the distribution of heavy versus light isotopes of the same element among Earth materials, and what does it tell us about Earth systems?

2. What is the environmental significance of isotopic signatures recorded by proxy materials from lacustrine sediments and terrestrial soils and sediments? ‘Proxies’ include – but are not limited to – ostracodes, clams, gastropods, bulk organic matter, pollen and other palynomorphs, plant macromolecules (e.g., cellulose, n-alkanes), biogenic silica (e.g., phytoliths, diatoms), bone, teeth, hair, feathers, antler, tusk, and fur (and their collagen, keratin, bioapatite, amino acids, etc.)

3. How do we read and what can we learn from past and present isotopic records of ecological, environmental and climate change? Can we use the light stable isotopes to go “back to the future”?

Research projects are currently available within the following general areas, and often in partnership with my frequent University of Western Ontario collaborators: Keith Hobson (Biology), Jean-Francois Millaire (Anthropology), Lisa Hodgetts (Anthropology), Katrina Moser (Geography), Dani Way (Biology), Liz Webb (Earth Sciences).

▪  Climatic and environmental change in the Great Lakes region since ~15,000 BP (isotopic limnology/paleolimnology, isotopic studies of ancient soils/paleosols; compound specific isotopic analysis of organic biomarkers; clumped isotopes of authigenic and biogenic carbonates)

▪  Stable isotopic studies of Pleistocene to modern faunal and megafaunal tissues as environmental proxies (bioapatite, collagen, keratin, amino acids)

▪  Climatic controls on hydrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions of water vapour, precipitation, surface and soil water, deep and shallow groundwater, and sedimentary pore water in the Great Lakes region

▪  Triple oxygen and nitrogen isotopic investigations of atmospheric nitrate deposition in the Great Lakes Basin

▪  Controls on the stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic compositions of ancient and modern plant tissues

▪  Stable isotope bioarchaeology and zooarchaeology

▪  Stable isotope crystal chemistry of clay minerals

All students are required to perform all of their own analyses and participate in the care, maintenance and repair of equipment. This sophisticated technical training, in addition to knowledge gained from their academic subject field, makes them very attractive to employers. Many former students are now managing or working as technologists in major stable isotope facilities throughout the world. This is in addition to those who have gained academic positions with universities or professional positions with governments, surveys and the private sector based upon their academic achievements.

See here for more details.