Professor Mark R. Servos carries out research in the broad areas of Ecotoxicology and Integrated Water Resources Management. Specifically, current research activities are evaluating the environmental exposure and effects of emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment.
Canada Research Chair in Water Quality Protection
- Integrated Water Resources Management
The research group of Professor Mark Servos is exploring a variety issues related to predicting and managing the risk of human activities in aquatic ecosystems. Natural environmental gradients (e.g. geomorphology, hydrology) occur across watersheds that influence water quality, productivity, metabolism, species assemblages and function of ecosystems. Human activities disrupt these natural processes and introduce numerous stressors, including a diversity of contaminants, into the environment. These stressors may act together to cause cumulative effects in watersheds and limit the resiliency and sustainability of ecosystems. The objective of our research program is to build predictive relationships to better model how contaminant exposure leads to effects in fish at various levels of biological organization (from gene expression to populations) and how natural gradients within watersheds modify these responses. We work within a risk assessment framework to define exposure and effects and formulate innovative technologies and solutions to minimize risk to the environment. Research outcomes support the development of more effective risk assessments, monitoring programs and implementation of remedial actions in watersheds.
Current research interests include:
- Predicting the environmental exposure of emerging contaminants in the environment.
- Isolation and identification of chemicals responsible for biological effects.
- Enhanced understanding of the mechanistic linkages (Adverse Outcome Pathways) across levels of biological organization leading to effects on fish at the population and community level.
- Cumulative effects assessment at the watershed scale.
- Development and application of innovative technologies and approaches for risk management and mitigation of stressors (e.g. contaminants, effluents).
Professor Mark R. Servos is currently the Canada Research Chair in Water Quality Protection in the Department of Biology. He joined the University of Waterloo as a Professor of Biology in 2003 and served as Scientific Director of the Canadian Water Network until 2011. In 1988, Dr. Servos started as a Research Scientist with the Lakes Research Branch of Environment Canada and later joined the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences where he researched environmental fate and effects of contaminants in the Great Lakes. He joined the National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, in 1996, as Project Chief, and led a group of scientists studying exposure and effects of priority substances. He has helped to organize numerous international meetings/workshops, participated in several expert panels in this field and plays an active role in several major international societies (e.g. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry). He has published numerous peer reviewed articles on the treatment, exposure, fate and effects of organic contaminants in the environment.
To learn more about the research and training activities in the Servos Group please visit The Servos Group.
Professor Servos teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. Course offerings have included
- BIOL 488 Ecotoxicology from a Watershed Perspective
- BIOL 499 Senior Honours Project
- WATER 601 Introduction to Integrated Water Resources Management
- WATER 602 Integrated Water Resources Management Case Study
- BIOL 617 Ecotoxicology
Awards and Distinctions
Appointed a Fellow of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC Fellow, 2018). This award recognizes (i) significant long-term scientific or science policy contributions and (ii) service and leadership within SETAC. The hallmark of a SETAC Fellow is leadership within the professional and scientific arenas as well as SETAC.
Appointed a Proto-Synthesis Visitor (2018-19) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, ETH (Eawag), Dübendorf, Switzerland.
- Research Paper Recognition (2015). Our paper (Zhang et al. 2012) was selected as one of the most important Langmuir articles published over its history; “seminal advances that the Langmuir editors consider to have had the most influence in the community of surface science and colloid science that the journal was founded to serve”.
- Research Paper Recognition (2012). Our series of papers on pulp mill effluents was recognized as one of the most impactful publications in the Journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Invited editorial (Munkittrick et al. 2012).
- Research Paper Recognition (2011). Harvey Rosen Award recognizes the best paper published in Ozone: Science & Engineering for the two-year period preceding an IOA World Congress. (Rahman, et al. 2010).
- Faculty Award for Teaching and Scholarship, University of Waterloo (2011)
- Outstanding Performance Award (2011)
- Presidential Citation, SETAC (2002 and 2006)
- 5-NR Award to Leaders in Sustainable Development (2002)
- Citation of Excellence, Environment Canada (1998)
- Awarded a "Canada 125 Medal" (Government of Canada, 1993) for his contribution to the development and enrichment of the community.
University of Waterloo Affiliations
- Water Institute, Member
Professional Associations and Service
Recent Examples of Scientific Leadership and Service:
- President SETAC (elected, 2000-2002), Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Elected to SETAC Board of Directors (1996-1999) and served on numerous committees and working groups over many years. Served on Board of Directors SETAC World Council 2001-2002,
- President IAGLR (elected,1995-1996), International Association of Great Lakes Research, elected to IAGLR Board of Directors (elected 1993-1996); served on Publications Committee (1993-97).
- President SETAC-NA (elected, 1992-1993), Northeastern North America Chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, served on Board of Directors (1989-1994) and as Newsletter Editor (1990-1994).
Program Director (2013-2015), Collaborative Water Program, University of Waterloo. Leading the development of a cross campus (12 departments) collaborative graduate program advancing interdisciplinary concepts in water science and management.
Scientific Director (2003-2011), Canadian Water Network. Leading the Canadian Water Network, a national Networks of Centres of Excellence. The CWN is a national partnership of academia, government and industry applying knowledge to create innovation in the water sector to sustained prosperity and quality of life for Canadians.
Science Council, Water Research Centre for Agriculture and Mining (CRHIAM), Chile (2014-2024).
Expert Panel Member, National Wastewater Panel: Canada’s Needs and Opportunities to Address Contaminants in Wastewater Environment Canada/CWN (2017-2018).
Science Director, Canadian Rivers Institute, (2006- ).
Science Advisory Committee Member, Grand River Water Plan that recently published a Water Plan (2012-2014).
Committee Member, Global Environment Facility International Waters Science Synthesis and review (2011-2013). Co-chair of Lakes Group.
The following news stories have featured Professor Servos' research:
Waterloo Region Record, Cleaner water means fewer intersex fish in Grand River
Globe and Mail, Lakes great again, but new threats loom
1988 PhD Environmental Chemistry of Pesticides, University of Manitoba
1983 MSc Aquatic Science, University of Guelph
1981 BSc Fisheries Biology, University of Guelph