William Shotyk

Professor and Bocock Chair in Agriculture and the Environment

Phone: 780-492-7155
Email: shotyk@ualberta.ca
Department: Renewable Resources
Office: 348 B South Academic Building
Office Hours: By appointment
Address: University of Alberta
348 B South Academic Building
Edmonton, AB
Canada T6G 2H1

Biographical Sketch: 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 Enviromental 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.

Major Responsibilities / Research Interests:


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 frombogs

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

University of Alberta Libraries Education and Research Archive - Collections in the Department of Renewable Resources

Recent Publications

Shotyk, W.; Belland, R.; Duke, J.; Kempter, H.; Krachler, M.; Noernberg, T.; Pelletier, R.; Vile, M. A.; Wieder, K.; Zaccone, C.; et al. Response to Comment on “Sphagnum mosses from 21 ombrotrophic bogs in the Athabasca bituminous sands region show no significant atmospheric contamination of ‘heavy metals’”. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2015, 49 (10), 6354–6357 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01229.

Shotyk, W.; Bicalho, B.; Cuss, C. W.; Duke, M. J. M.; Noernberg, T.; Pelletier, R.; Steinnes, E.; Zaccone, C. Dust is the dominant source of “heavy metals” to peat moss (Sphagnum fuscum) in the bogs of the Athabasca Bituminous Sands region of northern Alberta. Environ. Int. 2016, 92-93, 494–506 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.03.018.06.

Shotyk, W., Kempter, H., Krachler, M. and Zaccone, C. (2015) Stable (206Pb, 207Pb, 208Pb) and radioactive (210Pb) lead isotopes in one year of growth of Sphagnum moss from four ombrotrophic bogs in southern Germany: geochemical significance and environmental implications. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 163:101-125.

Shotyk, W., Belland, R., Duke, M.J., Kempter, H., Krachler, M., Noernberg, T., Pelletier, R., Vile, M.A., Wieder, K., Zaccone, C., and Zhang, S. (2014) Sphagnum mosses from twenty-one ombrotrophic bogs in the Athabasca Bituminous Sands region show no significant atmospheric contamination of “heavy metals”. Environmental Science and Technology 48:12603-12611.

Puglisi, E., Zaccone, C., Cappa, F., Cocconcelli, P.S., Shotyk, W., Trevisan, M., and Miano, T.M. (2014) Changes in bacterial and archaeal community assemblages along an ombrotrophic peat bog profile. Biology and Fertility of Soils 50:815–826.

Biver, M and Shotyk, W. (2013) Stibiconite (Sb3O6OH), senarmontite (Sb2O3) and valentinite (Sb2O3) under environmentally relevant conditions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 109:268-279.

Quinto, F., Hrnecek, E., Krachler, M., Shotyk, W., Steier, P and Winkler, S.R (2013) Measurement of 236U in ancient and modern peat samples, and implications for post-depositional migration of fallout radionuclides. Environmental Science and Technology 47:5243-5250.

Quinto, F., Hrnecek, E., Krachler, M., Shotyk, W., Steier, P and Winkler, S.R. (2013) Analysis of 239Pu, 240Pu, 241Pu and 242Pu at femtogram and attogram levels - evidence for the migration of fallout plutonium in an ombrotrophic peat bog. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts 15:839-847.

Huntley, M., Mathewes, R., and Shotyk, W. (2013) High-resolution palynology, climate change, and human impact on a Late Holocene peat bog on Haida Gwaii, British
Columbia, Canada. The Holocene 23:1572-1583.

Le Roux, G., Fagel, N, De Vleeschouwer, F., Krachler, M., Debaille, V., Stille, P., Matielli, N., van der Knaap, W.O., van Leeuwen, J.F.N. and Shotyk, W. (2012) Volcano- and climate-driven changes in atmospheric dust sources and fluxes since the Late Glacial revealed using Nd isotope analyses of peat from an ombrotrophic bog, and their impacts on vegetation. Geology 40(4):335-338.

Biver, M., Krachler, M. and Shotyk, W. (2011). The desorption of Sb(V) from sediments, hydrous oxides, and clay minerals by carbonate, phosphate, sulphate, nitrate and chloride. Journal of Environmental Quality 40:1143-1152. 

Biver, M. and Shotyk, W. (2011) Experimental Study of the Kinetics of Ligand-Promoted Dissolution of Stibnite (Sb2S3) Chemical Geology 294-295: 165-172.

Biver, M. and Shotyk, W. (2011) Experimental study of stibnite dissolution kinetics from pH 1 to 11: Effects of dissolved oxygen, temperature, and alkaline-earth metal cations. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 79: 127-139.

Zaccone, C., Miano, T.M., and Shotyk, W. Interpreting the ash trend along ombrotrophic bog profiles: atmospheric dust depositions vs. mineralization processes. The Etang de la Gruère case study. Plant and Soil (in press). Critical Comment on the paper by J. Leifeld, L. Gubler and A. Grünig. Organic matter losses from temperate ombrotrophic peatlands: an evaluation of the ash residue method. Plant Soil 341:349-361 (2011). 

Outridge P.M., Rausch, N., Percival, J.B., Shotyk W., and McNeely R. (2011). Comparison of mercury and zinc profiles in peat and lake sediment archives with historical changes in emissions from the Flin Flon metal smelter, Manitoba, Canada. Science of the Total Environment 409: 548-563.

Kempter, H., Krachler, M. and Shotyk, W. (2010) Atmospheric Pb and Ti accumulation rates in Sphagnum mosses from ombrotrophic bogs: dependence upon plant productivity. Environmental Science and Technology 44:5509-5515.

Shotyk, W. and Krachler, M. (2010) The isotopic evolution of atmospheric Pb in central Ontario since AD 1800, and its impacts on the soils, waters, and sediments of a forested watershed, Kawagama Lake. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74:1963-1981.

Shotyk, W., Krachler, M., Aeschbach-Hertig, W., Hillier, S. and Zheng, J. (2010) Trace elements in recent groundwater of an artesian flow system and comparison with snow: enrichments, depletions, and chemical evolution of the water. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 12:208-217.