Alyssa Shiel

Associate Professor

Office: 541-737-5209

Burt Hall

Burt Hall 252

2651 SW Orchard Avenue

2651 SW Orchard Avenue
Corvallis, OR 97331

Profile Field Tabs

Brief Research Interests: 

Geochemical tracer development, transport and fate of metals/metalloids



Heavy stable isotope geochemistry; geochemical tracer development; transport, transformations and environmental fate of metals/metalloids

Research Interests

My research interests lie in natural biogeochemical cycling of metals and assessing the importance of anthropogenic activities as metal sources. Metal emissions to the environment from anthropogenic sources may be much larger than those from natural sources. These anthropogenic inputs disturb the natural biogeochemical cycling of many elements. My research aims to characterize the isotopic variation among metal sources and to quantify the extent to which reactions (physical, chemical and biological) cause isotopic fractionation of heavy stable isotopes, with the goal of developing these isotope systems as tools for source and process identification. Ultimately, my research seeks to aid environmental monitoring and remediation efforts and improve our understanding of natural and disturbing biogeochemical cycles.

Current Research

Funded Research Projects

MRI: Acquisition of a Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS) for isotopic studies in earth and environmental studies. NSF (2016–2017). Lead PI with B. Haley, A. Kent, J. Pett-Ridge.

Mapping and identification of sources of lead hotspots in Portland, OR using isotope analysis of moss. USDA Forest Service (2016–2018). Lead PI.*

Re-measuring the Effects of Heavy Metals on Vegetation in Cape Krusenstern National Monument. NPS (2016–2020). Lead PI with B. McCune and D. Mondal.*

Utilizing U/Ca Ratios to Determine Best Management Practices for Shell Planting and Oyster Culture to Mitigate Ocean Acidification Impacts. OR Sea Grant (2016–2018). Lead PI with G. Waldbusser, A. Kent.

Modeling the Effects of Heavy Metals on Vegetation in Cape Krusenstern National Monument and Noatak National Preserve. NPS (2015–2017). Lead PI with D. Mondal.*

*Agency collaborators listed below.


2010: Ph.D. Oceanography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

2003: B.S. Environmental Science, University of Arizona, Tucson


GEO 431/531 Environmental Geochemistry (next taught Spring 2018)

GEO 599/699 Advanced Environmental Geochemistry (next taught Spring 2019)

Graduate Students

Sophia Bauer, M.S. (2017–current) Water Resources Science

Elisa Di Meglio, M.S. (2017–current) Botany

Kali Melby, M.S. (2017–current) Geology

Beth Rutila, M.S. (2015–current) Water Resources Science

Sophie Wensman, Ph.D. (2016–current) Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry, OEAS



Adam Kent, Geology and Geophysics, CEOAS.

Bruce McCune, Botany and Plant Pathology.

Debashis Mondal, Statistics.

George Waldbusser, Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry, CEOAS.

Other academic institutions:

Mark Abbott, Geology and Planetary Science, Univeristy of Pittsburgh.

David Meiggs, Sociology and Anthropology, Rochester Institute of Technology.


Michael Amacher, USDA Forest Service, Logan Forest Sciences Lab, Logan, UT.

Demetrios Gatziolis, USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station, Portland, OR.

Linda Geiser, USDA Forest Service, Air Resource Management National Program, Washington DC.

Doug Glavich, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Air Program, Corvallis, OR.

Sarah Jovan, USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station, Portland, OR.

Vicente Monleon, USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station, Corvallis, OR.

Peter Neitlich, Naptional Park Service, Winthrop, WA.

Undergraduate students

Hannah Shupe, Research intern (winter 2018–present), B.S. Chemistry (Honors College), OSU.

Gillette Field, Research intern (winter 2018–present), B.S. BioResource Research, OSU.

Mia Arvizu, Researchintern (winter 2018–present), B.S. Environmental Science, OSU.

Callie Covington, Researchintern (fall 2017–present), B.S. Environmental Science, OSU.

Christina Murphy, Researchintern (fall 2016), B.S. Environmental Science, OSU.

Kali Melby, REU summer intern (summer 2016), B.S. Crop and Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Devan Fitzpatrick, REU summer intern (summer 2015 & 2016), B.S. Environmental Engineering and Environmental Science, OSU.

Emily Hetman, REU summer intern (summer 2015), B.S. Toxicology and Forensic Biology, Ashland University.


Jemison, N., A. E. Shiel, T.M. Johnson, C.C. Lundstrom, P.E. Long and K.H. Williams (2018) Detection of U(IV) re-oxidation in groundwater using 238U/235U. Environmental Science and Technology, articles ASAP. 

Neitlich, P. N., J. M. VerHoef, S. D. Berryman, A. Mnes, L. H. Geiser, L. M. Hasselbach and A.E. Shiel (2017) Trends in Spatial Patterns of Heavy Metal Deposition on National Park Service Lands along the Red Dog Mine Haul Road, Alaska, 2001-2006. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177936.

Jemison, N.E., T.M. Johnson, A.E. Shiel and C.C. Lundstrom (2016) Uranium isotopic fractionation induced by U(VI) Adsorption onto common aquifer minerals. Environmental Science & Technology, just accepted manuscript.

Shiel, A.E., T.M. Johnson, C.C.Lundstrom, P.G. Laubach, P.E. Long and K.H. Williams (2016) Reactive transport of uranium in a groundwater bioreduction study: Insights from high-temporal resolution 238U/235U data. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 187: 218–236.    

Shiel, A.E., D. Weis, D. Cossa and K.J. Orians (2013) Determining provenance of marine metal pollution in French bivalves using Cd, Zn and Pb isotopes. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 121: 155–167.

Shiel, A.E., P.G. Laubach, T.M. Johnson, C.C. Lundstrom, P.E. Long and K.H. Williams (2013) No measurable changes in 238U/235U due to the adsorption of U(VI) from groundwater at the Rifle, Colorado IFRC Site. Manuscript accepted for publication in Environmental Science and Technology 47: 2535–2541.

Abouchami, W., S.J.G. Galer, T.J. Horner, M. Rehkämper, F. Wombacher, Z. Xue, M. Lambelet, M. Gault-Ringold, C. Stirling, M. Schönbächler, A.E. Shiel, D. Weis and P.F. Holdship (2012) A common reference material for cadmium isotope studies—NIST SRM 3108 Cd. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research (DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-908X.2012.00175.x).

Shiel, A.E., D. Weis and K.J. Orians (2012) Tracing cadmium, zinc and lead sources in bivalves from the coasts of western Canada and the USA using isotopes. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 76: 175–190.

Shiel, A.E., D. Weis and K.J. Orians (2010) Evaluation of zinc, cadmium and lead isotope fractionation during smelting and refining. Science of the Total Environment 408: 2357–2368.

Shiel, A.E., J. Barling, K.J. Orians and D. Weis (2009) Matrix effects on the multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric analysis of high-precision cadmium and zinc isotope ratios. Analytica Chimica Acta 633: 29–37.