Canadian Graduate Course & International Virtual Workshop

Source US Department of Energy

Class Description

Condensed Graduate course offered for credit (Canadian students only) or virtual workshop (open to anyone) from the School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, as ENVS 828.3

Dates: May 14-18th, 2018

Location: University of Saskatchewan, and Virtually via WebEx

Course Objective

This course will introduce graduate students and professionals to the principles of stable isotope chemistry applied to environmental research in the hydrosphere and biosphere. The course will focus on the measurement, tracing, and linkage of light isotope abundances in and among hydrologic and biological components of earth system at the catchment scale. We will specifically consider the application of stable isotope investigative tools to a variety of hydrological situations, ranging from water cycle dynamics, bio- and geochemical processes, nutrients and contamination, to isotope ecology. The course will rely on several key textbooks, journal articles, as well as the research of the instructors.

Graduate students registered for the full 3 credit course will attend the week of lectures and participate in the class group project (the group project will extend into the next academic term and attendance at group meeting is mandatory either in person or virtually). Official audits attend the course lectures, either in person or virtually and will receive audit status on their transcripts. The virtual workshop option is for any student or professional who would benefit from the course content but does not require credit towards a degree program.

2016 Class Project: CGU Poster

2016 Class Poster, as presented at CGU in Vancouver

2018 Course Instructors


2018 Lecture Schedule

All times are in Central Standard Time

Monday, May 14th (Overview day)

9-10am Student self-introductions, course outline (McDonnell) 10.15-11.15am Catchment hydrology: A review (McDonnell)
11.30-12.30pm Isotope tracers in catchment hydrology (McDonnell) 1.30-2.30pm Isotope geochemistry 101 (Koehler)
2.45-3.45pm Isotope hydrology in the lab: How it's done on laser specs and mass specs (Janzen & Koehler)

Tuesday, May 15th (What can be quantified with Isotopes?)

9-10am Hydrography separation (Ali) 10.15-11.15am Interpreting isotope data over large regions (Stadnyk)
11.30-12.30pm Tracer-based conceptual model development and testing at large scales (Stadnyk) 1.30-2.30pm Transit time modeling (Ameli)
2.45-3.45pm Lab on hydrograph separation and transit time (Ali & Ameli)

Wednesday, May 16th (Lakes, groundwater and beyond)

9-10am Tritium, tritium and radiocarbon of groundwater age dating (Jasechko) 10.15-11.15am Global isotope hydrology: Global patterns and processes (Jasechko)
Extra time for lunch due to guest lecture in the same room this day 1.30-2.30pm Isotopes and lakes (Gibson & Yi)
2.45-3.45pm Quantifying lake evaporation rates in ungauged basins (Gibson & Yi)

Thursday, May 17th (Isotope biogeochemistry)

9-10am Introduction to Isotope biogeochemistry (Kendall) 10.15-11.15am Tracing nutrient and organic matter sources with isotopes (Kendall)
11.30-12.30pm Using isotopes to understand large-scale hydrobiogeochem patterns and processes (Kendall) 1.30-2.30pm Isotopes in other areas of environmental science: butterflies, birds, and bears, oh my (Koehler)
2.45-3.45pm Extracting water from soil and plant material (Pratt)

Friday, May 18th (Plant water and soil water)

9-10am Isotopes and plant transpiration: quantifying where plants get their water (Evaristo) 10.15-11.15am Isotope hydrology: Grand challenges and ways forward (McDonnell)
11.30-12.30pm Course wrap-up and group discussion (McDonnell) 12.30pm End of the virtual workshop for online participants
1.30pm Overview of the class projects; data analysis and discussion of the group projects and next steps for registered full credit students (McDonnell)


Participation in the course can take one of three forms:

Formal for credit (3cu) participation (open to Canadian Graduate students only). This includes attending all 5 days of course instruction (in person or virtually) and a group class project that extends into the next academic term. Participation in all group meetings is mandatory and can be done in person or virtually. Registration through the U of S is required.

Formal audit (0cu but will be recorded on your transcript as an official audit) (open to University of Saskatchewan students only). This form of the course consists of attending all 5 days of the course instruction either in person or via virtual attendance. Registration through the U of S is required

Virtual workshop (not for credit and open to anyone Canadians and International participants). Does not require any formal registration with the University of Saskatchewan. There is a nominal fee for registration and the details can be found below. Registration in the virtual workshop will give you live streaming access to all five days of course lecture, via WebEx.

Registration follows the same format as for other classes in your graduate program. Please contact the School of Environment and Sustainability @ if you have any questions or concerns. ENVS 828 is offered for full credit (3cu) or official audit (0cu).

The Western Canadian Dean's Agreement can be used for registration in ENVS 828 for full credit (3cu) for Canadian students from institutions outside the University of Saskatchewan.

For details pertaining to this agreement please see Western Canadian Deans of Graduate Studies web page or contact the School of the Environment and The Form can be accessed Here.

Participating Institutions:

  • University of Alberta
  • Athabasca University
  • Brandon University
  • University of British Columbia
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • University of Calgary
  • Concordia University of Edmonton
  • University of Lethbridge
  • University of Manitoba
  • University Northern British Columbia
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Regina
  • Royal Roads University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • University of Victoria
  • University of Winnipeg

The Canadian Universities Graduate Agreement can be used for registration in ENVS 828 for full credit (3cu) for Canadian students from institutions outside the University of Saskatchewan. Please check with your home Graduate Studies office at your home insitution and request their specific form to complete. The Graduate office at your home institution will forward the form over to the U of S as the host institution once it is completed on their end.

For details pertaining to this agreement please see the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies web page or contact the School of the Environment and Sustainability @

Participating Institutions can be found Here.

The Saskatchewan Universities Graduate Agreement can be used for registration in ENVS 828 for full credit (3cu) for students from the University of Regina.

For details pertaining to this agreement please contact the School of the Environment and Sustainability @

The form can be found Here

Virtual Workshop participation is open to all and will be hosted on WebEx. Registration can be completed through Eventbrite Click Here to register. Registration for the virtual workshop is $99 CAD plus tax and is refundable up until 7 days before the class. If you have any questions please contact Kim Janzen. All registrants will be emailed the WebEx link one week before the course starts. Registration deadline May 7th, 2018 at 12 pm CST.


For more information or questions about the class please contact Kim Janzen