Sherry Schiff

Sherry Schiff
Professor, Environmental Geochemistry
Location: ESC 305
Phone: 519-888-4567 x42473


Sherry Schiff's research focus on the cycling of key elements within lakes, streams, rivers, forests, and agricultural watersheds. Understanding these cycles is critical to properly addressing environmental concerns.

Ultimately, her research aims to inform decision-makers about current and emerging environmental problems and the nature of potential solutions.

Research Interests

  • Cycling of key elements in lakes, rivers, forests and agricultural watersheds
  • Impacts of climate change and agriculture on aquatic ecosystems
  • Development and use of novel tracers, such as stable isotopes and artificial sweeteners, for following impacts on surface water and groundwater
  • Indicators of climate change in high arctic and subarctic systems
  • Threats to Aquatic Ecosystems and their Interaction
  • Contamination & Remediation: Water, Soil, Air
  • Climate Change and Geosciences
  • Increasingly Complex Water Challenges
  • Protection of Surface and Groundwater Resources
  • Legacies of Agriculture Pollutants
  • Protection of Drinking Water from the Ravages of Climate Change
  • Microbiology

Scholarly Research

Professor Schiff's research interest lies in the field of watershed biogeochemistry. Current projects focus on environmental problems including the impact of nutrients and climate change on aquatic ecosystems. She also studies the effects of agricultural and other anthropogenic inputs on the combined biogeochemical cycles of oxygen, nitrogen, iron, sulfur and phosphorus in eutrophic ecosystems; carbon dioxide and methane cycling in both natural and modified boreal lakes and wetlands and climate change in subarctic and high arctic systems These projects most often require a multi-disciplinary approach combining the talents of team specialists in biogeochemistry, hydrology, and ecology. Special interests include the development and use of isotopic tools (stable and radioactive) and other tracers to supplement the more traditional geochemical techniques utilized in watershed studies. For graduate student and researcher opportunities, please visit the [Environmental Geochemistry website](


  • 1987, Doctorate Geological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States
  • 1984, Master of Philosophy Geological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States
  • 1981, Master of Arts Geological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States
  • 1978, Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours Chemistry, McMaster University, Canada


  • 2007 University Research Chair in Watershed Biogeochemistry, University of Waterloo
  • 1992 Lindeman Award for Outstanding Paper by Young Scientist: American Society of Limnology & Oceanography

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Member, The Water Institute
  • Member, Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change
  • Member, Cold Regions Research Centre (Wilfrid Laurier University)
  • Cross-appointed to the Department of Biology
  • Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research (member)


  • EARTH 622 - Environmental Isotope Hydrology and Geochemistry
    • Taught in 2019, 2020

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

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Venkiteswaran JJ, Schiff SL, Taylor WD. 2015. Separating urban and agricultural impacts on aquatic metabolism along the 300 km Grand River, Canada. Freshwater Science, FSW-S-13-00130
  • Snider DM, JJ Venkiteswaran, SL Schiff, J Spoelstra. 2015. From the Ground Up: Nitrous Oxide Sources are Constrained by Stable Isotope Values. PLoS ONE.
  • Venkiteswaran JJ, Schiff SL and MB Wallin, 2014. Large Carbon Dioxide Fluxes from Headwater Boreal and Sub-Boreal Streams. PloS ONE 9(7).
  • Spoelstra J, SL Schiff and SJ Brown. 2013. Artificial sweeteners in a large Canadian river reflect human consumption in the watershed. PLoS ONE 8(12).
  • Rosamond MS, Thuss SJ and SL Schiff. 2012. Heavily impacted temperate rivers are overestimated in the global N2O budget. Nature Geoscience. 5 715-718.
  • ​Please see Sherry Schiff's Google Scholar profile for a current list of her peer-reviewed articles.