Dr. Fred Longstaffe

Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science

Fred Longstaffe Distinguished University Professor & Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Stable Isotope Science
Director, Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science
Director, Western Academy for Advanced Research
C.M., F.R.S.C., P.Geol
Ph.D. McMaster University, 1978

Office: BGS 1023
Labs: BGS 0159, WSC 54
Phone: 519-661-2111 x.83177
Fax: 519-661-3198
Email: flongsta@uwo.ca
Lab Website

Research Interests

Director: Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science

Stable isotope science across the atmosphere-hydrosphere-biosphere-lithosphere continuum (Earth-Systems Science); Stable isotope systematics of hydrous minerals, especially clay minerals; Stable isotope and biomarker proxies of (paleo)climate and (paleo)environment in terrestrial and lacustrine systems; Stable isotope investigations of Pleistocene and Holocene megafauna; Stable isotope ecology; Tracing climate change in the hydrological cycle using stable isotopes; Rock-water interaction in hydrothermal systems; Stable isotope bioarchaeology in environment and climate reconstruction.

Publications (2019 - 2024)

  • Brenning, M., Longstaffe, F.J. and Fraser, D. (2024) Variation in stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope compositions along antlers of Qamanirjuaq caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus). Ecology & Evolution (in press).
  • Aggarwal, P.K., Longstaffe, F.J. and Schwartz F.W. (2023) Ice core 17O reveals past changes in surface air temperatures and stratosphere to troposphere mass exchange. Atmosphere, v. 14, 1268. https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/14/8/1268
  • Caudill,, Osinksi, G.R., Tornabene, L.L., Longstaffe, F.J., McCarty, D.K. and Sapers, H.M. Pre- and syn-impact formation of clay minerals at the Ries impact structure, Germany: Implications for clay minerals on Mars. GSA Bulletin, online August 28, 2023 https://doi.org/10.1130/B36699.1
  • Cullen, T.M., Longstaffe, F.J., Wortmann, U.G., Huang, L. and Evans, D.C. (2023) Anomalous 13C-enrichment in Mesozoic vertebrate enamel reflects environmental conditions in a ‘vanished world’ and not a unique dietary physiology. Paleobiology, v.49, p. 563-577. https://doi.org/10.1017/pab.2022.43
  • Doyle, R.M., Longstaffe, F.J. and Moser, K.A. (2023) An isotopic, elemental, and n-alkane baseline for organic matter sources to high altitude lakes in the Uinta Mountains, Utah, USA. Journal of Paleolimnology, v. 69, p. 123-139. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-022-00265-6
  • Maity, B., Layne, G. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2023) Late-orogenic potassic to ultrapotassic dykes from the central Grenvillian hinterland: trace element and Sr-Nd-Pb-O isotopic perspective. Lithos, v. 462-463:107387 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2023.107387
  • Moreiras Reynaga, D.K., Munizzi, J.S., McMillan, R., Millaire, J.F. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2023) Effects of consolidants and their removal by polar solvents on the stable isotope compositions of bone. Quaternary International, v. 660, p. 31-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2022.12.004
  • Plint, T., ten Doeschate, M.T.I, Brownlow, A.C., Davison, N.J., Hantke, G., Kitchener, A.C., Longstaffe, F.J., McGill, R.A.R., Simon-Nutbrown, C. and Magill, C.R. (2023) Stable isotope ecology and interspecific dietary overlap among dolphins in the Northeast Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science, v. 10:1111296 (16 p). doi: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1111295
  • Spence, M.W., Gómez Chávez, S., Longstaffe, F.J., Gazzola, J., Pereira, G., Olsen, K. and Perlsten Pollard, H. (2023) Teotihuacan Site 19:N1W5: Mortuary and oxygen isotope evidence for a Michoacán affiliation. Ancient Mesoamerica, p. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0956536122000347
  • Chávez Balderas, X., Moreiras Reynaga, D.K., Longstaffe, F.J., López Luján, L., Hendricks, S.A. and Wayne, R.K. (2022) Los Lobos de Tenochtitlan: identificación, cautiverio y uso ritual, p. 101-125. In: Los Animales y el Recinto Sagrado de Tenochtitlan, 1st Edited by L. López Luján, L. and E. Matos Moctezuma, El Colegio Nacional, 791 p.
  • Doyle, R.M., Bumstead, N., Lewis, C.F.M. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2022a) A ~14,000-year record of environmental change from Lake Simcoe, Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 292:107667 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107667
  • Doyle, R.M., Bumstead, N., Lewis, C.F.M. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2022b) ~14,000 years of geochemical and isotopic data from Lake Simcoe, Canada. Data in Brief, v. 44:108541 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2022.108541
  • Doyle, R.M., Liu, Z., Walker, J.T., Hladyniuk, R., Moser, K.A. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2022c) Isotopic and geochemical data from Barry Lake, Canada: A 900-year record of environmental change. Data in Brief, v. 41:107880 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2022.107880
  • He, S. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2022) Distinct chemical and stable isotopic compositions of smectite formed during steaming of Clearwater oil sands from Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada. Applied Clay Science, v. 228:106627. https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0169-1317(22)00222-8
  • Hobson, K.A, Gootgarts, J., Kusack, J.W., Longstaffe, F.J. and McNeil, J.N. (2022) Using stable isotopes (δ2H, δ13C) to identify natal origins and larval host plant use by western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) captured in southern Ontario. Ecological Entomology, v. 47, p. 347-356. https://doi.org/10.1111/een.13120
  • Holden, C.V., Kyser, K.T., Longstaffe, F.J., Wang, Y. and John M. Casselman, J.M. (2022) Oxygen isotope fractionation of otoliths formed across the maximum thermal range for somatic growth of the American eel Anguilla rostrata. Chemical Geology, v. 591:120706 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120706
  • Kanik, N.J., Longstaffe, F.J., Kuligiewicz, A. and Derkowski, A. (2022) Systematics of smectite hydrogen-isotope composition: structural hydrogen versus adsorbed water. Applied Clay Science, v. 216:106338. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clay.2021.106338
  • Rogers, E.J., McGuire, L., Longstaffe, F.J., Clerc, J., Kunkel, E. and Erin Fraser, E. (2022) Relating wing morphology and immune function to patterns of partial and differential bat migration using stable isotopes. Journal of Animal Ecology, v. 91, p. 858-869. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13681
  • Simpson, S.L., F. J. Longstaffe, F.J., Osinski, G.R., Caudill, C.M. and Kring. D.A. (2022) A low-temperature, meteoric water-dominated origin for smectitic clay minerals in the Chicxulub impact crater upper peak ring, as inferred from their oxygen and hydrogen isotope compositions. Chemical Geology, v. 588:120639. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120639
  • Srivastava, R.K., Banerjee, S., Longstaffe, F.J. Bhagat, S. and Sinha, D.K. (2022) Stable isotopic study of carbonatites from the Pakkanadu Alkaline Complex, south India: Constraints on carbonatite melt evolution and sub-solidus, high-temperature fluid-rock interaction. Lithos, v. 430-431:106863. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2022.106863
  • Wang, X, Feng, L., Longstaffe, F.J., Chen, Z., Zhu, M., Li, H., Cui, L., Du, G. and Ding, Z. (2022) Changes in sulfur cycling in a large lake during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and implications for lake deoxygenation. Global and Planetary Change, v. 202:103716 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2021.103716
  • Bandegan, A., Huang, L., Longstaffe, F.J., Lemon, P.W. R. (2021) Dose-response oxidation of ingested phytoglycogen during prolonged, moderate exercise in endurance-trained men. The Journal of Nutrition, v. 151, p. 2942-2948. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab219
  • Buckley, G.M., Storey, R., Longstaffe, F.J., Carballo, D.M., Hirth, K.G. and Renson, V. (2021) New perspectives on migration into the Tlajinga District of Teotihuacan: a dual-isotope approach. Latin American Antiquity, v. 32, p. 536-556. https://doi.org/10.1017/laq.2021.20
  • Carter, T.R., Fortner, L.D., Russell, H.A.J., Skuce, M., Longstaffe, F.J. and Sun, S. (2021) A hydrostratigraphic framework for the Paleozoic bedrock of southern Ontario. Geoscience Canada, v. 48, p. 23-58. https://doi.org/10.12789/geocanj.2021.48.172
  • Caudill, C., Osinski, G.R., Greenberger, R.N., Tornabene, L.L., Longstaffe, F.J., Flemming, R.L. and Ehlmann, B.E. (2021) Origin of the degassing pipes at the Ries impact structure and implications for impact-induced alteration on Mars and other planetary bodies. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 1-19. doi: 10.1111/maps.13600
  • Doyle, R.M., Liu, Z., Walker, J.T., Hladyniuk, R., Moser, K.A. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2021) A 900-year record of effective moisture in the Laurentian Great Lakes region. Quaternary Science Research, v. 270, 107174, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107174
  • Gebregiorgis, D., Deocampo, D.M., Foerster, V., Longstaffe, F.J., Schaebitz, F., Junginger, A., Markowska, M., Opitz, S., Trauth, M.H., Lamb, H.F. and Asrat, A. (2021) Modern sedimentation and authigenic mineral formation in the Chew Bahir basin, southern Ethiopia: Implications for interpretation of Late Quaternary paleoclimate records. Frontiers in Earth Sciences, v. 9:607695. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2021.607695
  • Matthews, C.J.D., Longstaffe, F.J., Lawson, J.W. and Ferguson, S.H. (2021) Distributions of Arctic and Northwest Atlantic killer whales inferred from oxygen isotopes. Scientific Reports, v. 11:6739. https://rdcu.be/chod9
  • Moreiras Reynaga, D.K., Millaire, J-F, Chávez Balderas, X., Román Berrelleza, J.A., López Luján, L. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2021) Residential patterns of Aztec human sacrifices at Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco: Evidence from phosphate oxygen isotopes. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, v. 62:101296 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2021.101296
  • Moreiras Reynaga, D.K., Millaire, J-F, Chávez Balderas, X., Román Berrelleza, J.A., López Luján, L. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2021b) Building Mexican isoscapes: oxygen and hydrogen isotope data of meteoric water sampled across Mexico. Data in Brief, v. 36:107084 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2021.107084
  • Schwartz-Narbonne, R., Plint, T., Hall, E., Zazula, G. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2021) Seasonal paleoecological records from antler collagen δ13C and δ15 Paleobiology, v. 47, p. 533-549. https://www.cambridge.org/core/article/seasonal-paleoecological-records-from-antler-collagen-13c-and-15n/35CE6A26C9BA99D81032EEC654CC4D5D
  • Wang, X, Sun, J., Longstaffe, F.J., Gu. X., Du, S., Cui, L., Huang, X, and Ding Z. (2021) Climatic quantification and seasonality of the late MIS 3 in North China: A perspective from carbon and oxygen isotopes of fossil mammal teeth. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 272 107222 https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1e1i1-4PR~Ry9
  • Cullen, T.M., Longstaffe, F.J., Wortmann, U.G., Huang, L., Fanti, F., Goodwin, M.B.. Ryan, M.J. and Evans, D.C. (2020) Large-scale stable isotope characterization of a Late Cretaceous dinosaur-dominated ecosystem. Geology, 48, p. 546–551. https://doi.org/10.1130/G47399.1
  • Duarte, A., Longstaffe, F.J. and Way, D. (2020) Nitrogen fertilization influences low CO2 effects on plant performance. Functional Plant Biology, v. 47, p. 134-144. https://doi.org/10.1071/FP19151
  • Gebregiorgis, D., Deocampo, D.M., Longstaffe, F.J., Ashley, G.M., Beverly, E.J., Delaney, J.S. and Cuadros, J. (2020) Quantitative lacustrine paleosalinity from clay mineral oxygen isotopes: Pleistocene orbital controls at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 47: e2019GL085576. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL085576
  • Kring, D.A. + 40 others (2020) Probing the hydrothermal system of the Chicxulub crater. Science Advances, v. 6: eaaz3053. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/22/eaaz3053?utm_campaign=toc_advances_2020-05-29&et_rid=34981070&et_cid=3344755
  • Moreiras Reynaga, D., Jean-François Millaire, J-F., García Chávez, R.E.and Longstaffe, F.J. (2020) Aztec diets at the residential site of San Cristobal Ecatepec through stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, v. 12:216 (on-line). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-020-01174-3
  • Plint, T., Longstaffe, F.J., Ballantyne, A., Telka, A. and Rybczynski, N. (2020) Evolution of woodcutting behavior in Early Pliocene beaver driven by consumption of woody plants. Scientific Reports, v. 10:13111. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-70164-1
  • Price, T.D., Spence, M.W. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2020) The Temple of Quetzalcoatl, Teotihuacán: New data on the origins of the sacrificial victims. Ancient Mesoamerica, v. 32, p. 215-230.
  • Salazar-Jaramillo, S., McCarthy, P.J., Ochoa, A., Fowell, S.J. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2020) Data supporting Maastrichtian paleoclimate variables applying a multi proxy approach to a paleosol profile, Arctic Alaska. Data in Brief, v. 29: 10519. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.109265.
  • Simpson, S.L., Osinski, G.R., Longstaffe, F.J., Schmieder, M. and Kring, D.A. (2020) Hydrothermal alteration associated with the Chicxulub impact crater upper peak-ring breccias. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 547:116245 (on-line). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116425
  • Spence, M.W., Karyn Olsen, K., Cabrera Cortés, M.O. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2020) San José 520: An unusual Teotihuacan settlement system. Latin American Antiquity, v. 34, p. 720-732. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/laq.2020.59
  • White, C.D., Longstaffe, F.J. and Nelson, A.J. (2020) The stable isotope analysis of the Inca Period human skeletal remains from Farfán, Peru. Section IV, p. 359-368. In: Life, Death and Burial Practices during the Inca Occupation of Farfán on Peru's North Coast. Written and compiled by C.J. Mackey and A.J. Nelson. Andean Past Special Publications #6, 480 p. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/andean_past_special/6
  • Cullen, T.M., Longstaffe, F.J., Wortmann, U.G., Goodwin, M.B., Huang, L. and Evans, D.C. (2019) Stable isotopic characterization of a coastal floodplain forest community: a case study for isotopic reconstruction of Mesozoic vertebrate assemblages. Royal Society Open Science, v. 6: 181210. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.181210
  • He, S., Longstaffe, F.J. and Zhou, J. (2019) Stable isotopes of clay minerals from autoclave tests of oil sands: Implications for clay formation during steaming of Alberta Clearwater oil sands. Applied Geochemistry, 104, p. 202-209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeochem.2019.04.001
  • Hill, P.J.A., Banerjee, N.R., Ali, A., Jabeen, I., Osinski, G.R. and Longstaffe, F.J. ­­­(2019) Coupled Si and O isotope measurements of meteoritic material by laser fluorination isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Journal of Mass Spectrometry, v. 54, p. 667-675. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jms.4381
  • Maggiano. C.M., White, C.D., Stern, R.A., Salvador Peralta, J. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2019) Focus: Oxygen isotope microanalysis across incremental layers of human bone: Exploring archaeological reconstruction of short-term mobility and seasonal climate change. Journal of Archaeological Science, v. 111:105029. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2019.105028
  • Plint, T., Longstaffe, F.J. and Zazula, G. (2019) Giant beaver palaeoecology inferred from stable isotopes. Scientific Reports, v.9:7179 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43710-9
  • Salazar-Jaramillo, S., McCarthy, P.J., Ochoa, A., Fowell, S.J. and LongstaffE, F.J. (2019) Paleoclimate reconstruction of the Prince Creek Formation, Arctic Alaska, during Maastrichtian global warming. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 532, 109265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.109265
  • Schwartz-Narbonne, R., Longstaffe, F.J., Kardynal, K.J., Druckenmiller, P., Hobson, K.A., Jass, C.N., Metcalfe, J.Z., Zazula, G. (2019) Reframing the mammoth steppe: Insights from analysis of isotopic niche. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 215, p. 1-21. [Invited] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.04.025
  • Szpak, P., Longstaffe, F.J., Macdonald, R., Millaire, J-F, White, C.D. and Richards, M.P. (2019) Plant sulfur isotopic compositions are altered by marine fertilizers. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, v. 11, p. 2989-2999. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-018-0716-5
  • Szpak, P., Millaire, J-F, Chapdelaine, C, White, C.D. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2019) An integrated isotopic study of Early Intermediate Period camelid husbandry in the Santa Valley, Perú. Environmental Archaeology, v. 25, v. 279-295. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14614103.2019.1583302
  • Voelker, S.L., Wang, S.-Y.S., Dawson, T.E., Roden, J.S., Still, C.J., Longstaffe, F.J. and Ayalon, (2019) Tree-ring isotopes adjacent to Lake Superior reveal cold winter anomalies for the Great Lakes region of North America. Scientific Reports, v. 9: 4412. (10 pages + supplementary material) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40907-w
  • Yakymchuk, C., Zhao, W., Wan, Y., Lin, S. and Longstaffe, F.J. (2019) Fluid-present anatexis of Neoarchean tonalite and amphibolite in the Western Shandong Province. Lithos, v. 326-329, p. 110-124. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024493718304766

Current Teaching

  • Earth Sciences 4431a: Stable Isotope Geochemistry in Earth and Environmental Sciences – undergraduate level
  • Geology 9506: Stable Isotope Geochemistry in Earth and Environmental Sciences – graduate level 

Current Students & Staff

  • Li Huang – LSIS Senior Technical Specialist
  • Kim Law – LSIS Laboratory Manager
  • Grace Yau – Research Technician I, Level N
  • James Thayer, PhD candidate (Geology) Post-glacial hydroclimatic change and catchment erosion in Southern Ontario, Canada
  • Fere Najafi, PhD candidate (Geology) – Stable isotope and biomarker tracing of environmental change since 14,000 yr BP at a small kettle lake in Southern Ontario
  • Elham Asadi Mehmandosti, PhD candidate (Geology) – Integrated TGA-CRDS investigations of bound water isotopic composition in clay minerals
  • Shahba Sharifi, PhD candidate (Geology) – Isotopic diffusive exchange investigations of pore water-clay interaction in potential deep geological repository shales and carbonates
  • Hana Salahuddin, PhD candidate (Anthropology) [co-supervisor] – Stable isotope amino acid investigations of early childhood diet
  • Carsyn Cassidy, MSc candidate (Geology) – Experimental investigation of oxygen and hydrogen isotope exchange between clay minerals and fresh water at 90-150°C in Ordovician shales from southern Ontario
  • Hana Hopson, MSc candidate (Geology) Experimental investigation of oxygen and hydrogen isotope exchange between clay minerals and sodium- and calcium-chloride brines at 90-150°C
  • Katie Lewis, MA candidate (Anthropology) [joint supervisor] – An isotopic approach to understanding the role of Bowhead Whale in pre-contact Inuit subsistence

Future Student Research Projects

Students in the Longstaffe group measure oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen isotope variations, and other geochemical and mineralogical parameters, to address the following general questions:

  1. What controls the distribution of heavy versus light stable isotopes of the same element among Earth materials, and what does it tell us about the Earth System?
  2. What controls the hydrogen and oxygen isotope compositions of clay minerals? How can these data be used to understand lithosphere-hydrosphere-biosphere-atmosphere interaction in the Earth System?
  3. How do we read past and present isotopic records of climate, environment and ecology? What can we learn about the Earth System? Can we go “Back to the Future” with this knowledge?
  4. What is the climatic, environmental and/or ecological significance of the stable isotope, chemical and mineralogical signatures recorded by proxy* materials preserved in lacustrine sediments, terrestrial soils and sediments, and plant and animal remains? *Proxies include – but are not limited to – water, clay minerals, shelly fauna, organic matter, pollen, cellulose, n-alkanes, phytoliths, diatoms, bone, teeth, hair, feathers, antler, tusk, fur, collagen, keratin, bioapatite, amino acids, etc.

All students perform their own analyses and assist with the care, maintenance and repair of equipment. This technical training, in addition to their subject field, makes them attractive to employers. Many former students now manage or are technologists in major laboratory facilities throughout the world. Others have academic appointments or professional positions in the private sector or government.

Prospective students should contact Fred Longstaffe to discuss their interests and to learn if there is a good fit with current activities of his research group.