William Shotyk

Professor and Bocock Chair for Agriculture and the Environment

I completed my B.Sc. (Agr.) at the University of Guelph (Soil Science and Chemistry) in 1981, and my Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario (Geochemistry) in 1986. After postdoctoral research at the University of California, Riverside (1987) and at the University of Western Ontario (1988-1989), I joined the Geological Institute at the University of Berne, Switzerland, as Oberassistent. I completed my Habilitation (Geochemistry) at the University of Berne in 1995. In October of 2000, I joined the University of Heidelberg as Professor, becoming Director of the Institute of Environmental Geochemistry. Since October 2011, I hold the position of Bocock Chair in Agriculture and Environment at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, in the Department of Renewable Resources. I am also a participant in the Land Reclamation International Graduate School (LRIGS) program sponsored by NSERC CREATE.

348B South Academic Building University of Alberta


Fundamental Research

Geochemistry of the Soil Environment

Cycling of trace metals (Pb, Sb, As, Cd, Ag, Tl and Hg) at the interface between lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere; fractionation of elements during chemical weathering; soils as a source of trace metals to the atmosphere; soils as sources and sinks for trace metals to and from natural waters

Archives of Environmental Change

Reconstructing natural and anthropogenic sources of trace metals to the atmosphere using sphagnum moss, peat bogs and polar ice; variations with climate change during the Holocene

Isotope Geochemistry

Application of radiogenic isotopes (Pb, Sr) for studying chemical weathering, evolution of natural waters, and tracing natural and anthropogenic aerosols; fallout radionuclides (137Cs, 210Pb, 241Am) for dating of peat cores from bogs

Analytical Geochemistry

Environmental applications of ICP sector-field mass spectrometry (ICP-SMS)

Sedimentary Geochemistry

pH and redox chemistry of soil solutions and sediment pore waters; understanding natural enrichments of trace elements (As, Cu, Hg, Mo, Ni, Se, U, V) in wetlands


Agriculture and the Environment

Application of the fundamental research topics listed above to understand the impacts of agricultural systems on the environment, and the effects of environmental change on agriculture, at local, regional, and global scales.



The logo for my research group represents Soil, Water, Air, Manure, and Plants. The SWAMP Laboratory is a state-of-the-art, ultra-clean, metal-free research facility, devoted to environmental and agricultural research and teaching. This lab is being used to study the sources, transformations, behaviour, and fate of trace elements in Soils, Waters, Air, Manures, and Plants (SWAMP).

Graduate Student Opportunities

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