Joel Gagnon

Analytical and Applied Environmental
Chemistry and Geochemistry

Current Appointments


  • B.Sc. (Honours) - Geology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario
  • M.Sc. - Geology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario
  • Ph.D. - Geology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Professional Certifications

  • Certified Professional Geologist, American Institute of Professional Geologists
  • Licensed Professional Geologist, State of Indiana
  • Certified Underground Storage Tank Professional, State of Michigan 

Areas of Research Interest/Expertise

  • Laser ablation microanalysis
  • Laser/matter interactions
  • Mineral, fluid, and melt inclusion analysis
  • Isotopic microanalytical method development, validation, and application
  • Application of elemental and isotopic tracers to aqueous systems

Refereed Publications (last 5 years)

Trenhaile, A.S., Gagnon, J., Prestanski, K.J., and Porter, N.I. (2015).   Cliff notch formation along the sub-tropical La Paz Peninsula, Southern Baja California, Mexico.  Marine Geology, 368, 15-24.

Glendenning, M.W.P., Gagnon, J.E., and Polat, A. (2015).  Geochemistry of the metavolcanic rocks in the vicinity of the MacLellan Au-Ag deposit and an evaluation of the tectonic setting of the Lynn Lake greenstone belt, Canada: Evidence for a Paleoproterozoic-aged rifted continental margin.  Lithos, 233, 46-68.

Shaheen, M.E., Gagnon, J.E., and Fryer, B.J. (2015).  Experimental study on 785 nm femtosecond laser ablation of sapphire in air.  Laser Physics Letters, 12 (6), 066103.

Shaheen, M.E., Gagnon, J.E., and Fryer, B.J. (2015).  Elemental fractionation in 785 nm picosecond and femtosecond laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Spectrochimica Acta B, 107, 97-109.

Nelson, T.R., DeVries, D.R., Wright, R.A., and Gagnon, J.E. (2015).  Fundulus grandis Otolith Microchemistry as a Metric of Estuarine Discrimination and Oil Exposure.  Estuaries and Coasts, 38 (6), 2044-2058.

Shaheen, M.E., Gagnon, J.E., and Fryer, B.J. (2014).  Femtosecond laser ablation behaviour of gold, crystalline silicon, and fused silica: a comparative study.  Laser Physics, 24 (10), 106102.

Shaheen, M.E., Gagnon, J.E., and Fryer, B.J. (2014).  Evaluation of ablation efficiency and surface morphology of human teeth upon irradiation with femtosecond laser pulses.  Laser Physics, 24 (11), 116001.

Berlo, K., van Hinsberg, V.J., Vigouroux, N., Gagnon, J.E., Williams-Jones, A.E., (2014).  Sulfide breakdown controls metal signature in volcanic gas at Kawah Ijen volcano, Indonesia.  Chemical Geology, 371, 115-127.

Farmer, T.M., DeVries, D.R., Wright, R.A., and Gagnon, J.E. (2013).  Using seasonal variation in otolith microchemical composition to indicate Largemouth Bass and Southern Flounder residency patterns across an estuarine salinity gradient.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 142 (5), 1415-1429.

Shaheen M.E., Gagnon, J.E., and Fryer, B.J. (2013).  Laser ablation of iron: a comparison between femtosecond and picosecond laser pulses.  Journal of Applied Physics, 114 (8), 0873110.

Shaheen M.E., Gagnon, J.E., and Fryer, B.J. (2013).  Femtosecond laser ablation of brass in air and liquid media.  Journal of Applied Physics, 113 (21), 213106.

Shaheen, M.E., Gagnon, J.E., and Fryer, B.J. (2012).  Femtosecond (fs) lasers coupled with modern ICP-MS instruments provide new and improved potential for in situ elemental and isotopic analyses in the geosciences.  Chemical Geology, 330, 260-273.

Rush, S.A., Verkoeyen, S., Dobbie, T., Dobbyn, S., Hebert, C.E., Gagnon, J.E., and Fisk, A.T. (2011).  Influence of increasing populations of Double-crested Cormorants on soil nutrient characteristics of nesting islands in western Lake Erie.  Journal of Great Lakes Research, 37 (2), 305-309.

Williams-Jones, A.E., Samson, I.M., Ault, K.M., Gagnon, J.E., and Fryer, B.J. (2010).  The genesis of distal zinc skarns: Evidence from the Mochito deposit, Honduras.  Economic Geology, 105 (8), 1411-1440. 

Yang, Z., Fryer, B.J., Longerich, H.P., Gagnon, J.E., and Samson, I.M. (2011).  785 nm femtosecond laser ablation for improved precision and reduction of interferences in Sr isotope analyses using MC-ICP-MS.  Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 26 (2), 341-351.

Ordonez-Calderon, J.C., Polat, A., Fryer, B.J., and Gagnon, J.E. (2011).  Field and geochemical characteristics of Mesoarchean to Neoarchean volcanic rocks in the Storo greenstone belt, SW Greenland: Evidence for accretion of intra-oceanic volcanic arcs.  Precambrian Research, 184 (1-4), 24-42.

Sapkota, B., Cioppa, M.T., and Gagnon, J.E., (2011).  Investigation of the changes in magnetic and chemical properties of soil during plant growth in a controlled environment.  Environmental Earth Sciences, 65 (1), 385-399. 

Student Opportunities

Our research group is currently seeking highly-motivated students to pursue challenging M.Sc. and Ph.D. research opportunities.  These projects involve understanding metal cycling in aqueous systems, including low temperature (i.e., environmental) and higher temperature (i.e., mineral deposits) environments.

Depending on the interests of the applicant, the focus of these projects can be either analytical (e.g., method development) or applied (e.g., fluid inclusion and mineral microchemistry).  Projects involving mineral deposits applications can be conducted in collaboration with researchers in Earth and Environmental Sciences. Projects involving environmental applications can be conducted in collaboration with researchers in GLIER.

We are particularly interested in students that want to work on the development and application of microsampling techniques (specifically laser ablation) to the elemental and isotopic analysis of geologic (e.g., fluid inclusions) and biologic (e.g., otoliths, statoliths) media. Our research facilities include state-of-the-art excimer and femtosecond laser ablation systems and elemental and isotopic analytical capabilities.


Telephone: (519) 253-3000 Ext. 2496
Office: Memorial Hall Room 305/GLIER Room 317