Research Group

Introduction to the Research Group

Tommy Noernberg ( - Engineering Mechanic Technologist. Tommy is responsible for dedicated support of the SWAMP lab and management of a new gamma spectrometry facility; management of the facility includes assisting in the layout and design of the new lab facility, acquiring and installing the instruments, maintaining and operating the equipment, and training and supervising lab users (academic staff, technicians, graduate students and visiting scientists).Additional activities include the design and construction of a broad range of specialized equipment for field and lab experiments, including coring and related sampling equipment for field work, as well as specialized, purpose-built, unique equipment for the lab. Tommy also assists scientists with research projects through active collaboration, providing innovative equipment solutions involving original design, fabrication and machining.
Tommy is also responsible for the mechanical and technical supervision of field studies, including the safe operation and maintenance of all relevant equipment; this includes sample collection and instrumentation of remote sites, including the Arctic, organizing all the equipment needed, all aspects of transportation and logistics, setting up camp, maintaining all the equipment used in field studies, ensuring the purity and integrity of samples, supervising students in their field work and at all times ensuring the safety of staff and students.


Dr. Beatriz Bicalho ( - Research Associate. Understanding concentration changes to the chemical elements in the environment and disclosing the chemical structures in which the elements are combined help us identify and rate how anthropogenic pressures contribute for changing the natural chemistry of the landscape.

With Northern Alberta as background, where environmental changes due to the oil sands activities is concerning, the research aim of Dr. Beatriz Bicalho is measuring and understanding the spatial and temporal variation of certain elements, like Vanadium and Nickel, which are typically enriched in the natural oil sands as organometallic complexes.
In addition to the SWAMP Clean Lab ICP-MS facilities, various mass spectrometry resources are used in Beatriz's research thanks to collaborators like Dr. Jon Martin, Environmental Analytical Chemistry, and his Associate Researcher Dr. Pereira, and like Dr. Richard Fahlman, Institute of Biomolecular Design. They bring on board an ultrahigh resolution orbitrap Elite mass spectrometer (Thermo), which is used for in depth research of chemical complexity and molecular assignment, and a LC-MS/MS for the selective quantification of targets.


Dr. Chad Cuss ( - Postdoctoral Fellow. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is a complex and dynamic system of interacting molecules that is ubiquitous in aquatic environments. DOM governs the speciation, toxicity, and mobility of metals and other pollutants, and provides microorganisms with nutrients, energy, and protection from UV light.
As part of the Athabasca River project in the SWAMP lab, Dr. Chad W. Cuss applies asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation coupled to UV-Visible and fluorescence detectors (AF4-UV-FLD) to distinguish natural and processed bitumen, and to characterize DOM in the Athabasca R. and its source waters. Furthermore AF4-UV-FLD coupled to ICP-SFMS is used to measure the size distribution of trace metals. Chad also collaborates with project partners Drs. JW Martin and Chenxing Sun to characterize DOM and bitumen in ultrahigh resolution using the Orbitrap Elite mass spectrometer.
Chad obtained his PhD from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, developing novel analytical and chemometric methods to better understand the composition, structure, and functioning of DOM.


Melissa Dergousoff ( - MSc. Candidate.
Landscape evolution and beaver populations: impacts of open pit bitumen mines and upgraders versus forest fires.







Mark Donner ( - Ph.D. Candidate. 
Speciation of As and Se in the lower Athabasca River: distinguishing natural from anthropogenic inputs.

(supervised jointly with Dr. Tariq Siddique)




Marjan Ghotbizadeh ( - M.Sc. Candidate.
Spatiotemporal variation in the biogeochemistry along the AR and its tributaries.

(supervised jointly with Dr. Ania Ulrich)





Samantha Stachiw ( - M.Sc. Candidate.

Distinguishing natural from anthropogenic sources of trace elements to native berries.




Ph.D. opportunities are currently available. Enquiries from prospective graduate students are cordially invited.

Current Research

My main research areas are human impacts on the geochemical cycles of potentially toxic trace elements, including archives of atmospheric change (peat bogs and polar ice cores), fate in soils and sediments, and impacts on natural freshwaters. Read more ...


The SWAMP lab is concerned with environmental quality in its broadest sense: the quality of our soil resources, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. The research lab is a unique state-of-the-art, metal-free, clean-lab and analytical facility. Read more ...


I am the President of the Elmvale Foundation, a Canadian, federally registered charity for environmental science education which I created in 2007. The main public education initiative of this Foundation is the Elmvale Water Festival which uses the water emanating from artesian springs in the Elmvale area as a tool for environmental education.

Contact Me

Prof. William Shotyk
348 B South Academic Building

Tel.: 780-492-7155
Fax: 780-492-4323

Office Hours:
By appointment

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