Mark Servos

Mark Servos
Professor, Canada Research Chair in Water Quality Protection
Location: B2 158A
Phone: 519-888-4567 x36034


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.

Research Interests

  • Ecotoxicology
  • Integrated Water Resources Management
  • Contamination & Remediation: Water, Soil, Air
  • Conservation
  • Ecology and Environmental Biology
  • Managing the Risk of Human Activity in Aquatic Ecosystem
  • Increasingly Complex Water Challenges
  • Protection of Surface and Groundwater Resources
  • Sustainable Water Use and Management
  • Legacies of Agriculture Pollutants
  • Water Security in Mega Cities


  • 1988 Ph.D. Environmental Chemistry of Pesticides, University of Manitoba, Canada
  • 1983 M.Sc. Aquatic Science, University of Guelph, Canada
  • 1981 B.Sc. Fisheries Biology, University of Guelph, Canada


  • 2020 Canada Research Chair in Water Quality Protection, Department of Biology
  • 2019 Stephen J. Klaine Environmental Education Award, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Presented at the Annual Meeting Nov 3, 2019.
  • 2018 Appointed a Proto-Synthesis Visitor (2018-19) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, ETH (Eawag), Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 2018 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.
  • 2011 Outstanding Performance Award
  • 2011 Faculty Award for Teaching and Scholarship, University of Waterloo
  • 2006 Presidential Citation, SETAC
  • 2002 5-NR Award to Leaders in Sustainable Development
  • 2002 Presidential Citation, SETAC
  • 1998 Citation of Excellence, Environment Canada
  • 1993 Awarded a "Canada 125 Medal" (Government of Canada, 1993) for his contribution to the development and enrichment of the community.


  • 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.

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Water Institute, Member


  • BIOL 470 - Methods of Aquatic Ecology
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

In The News