Sherilyn Claire Fritz

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Sherilyn Claire Fritz
💼 Occupation

Sherilyn Fritz is known for her research on ecology and paleoecology, with a particular focus on the use of diatom to reconstruct current and past environmental change.

Education and career[edit]

Fritz earned a B.A. in Biology from Macalester College in 1974[1] and an M.S. in Biology from Kent State University in 1979.[2] In 1985, she earned a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Minnesota.[3] From 1985 to 1994, Fritz was a research associate at the University of Minnesota, and then she moved to Lehigh University where she remained until 1998. Fritz moved to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1999 and was named the George Holmes Professor in 2010.[1]

In 2020, Fritz was named a fellow of the American Geophyiscal Union who honored her for:[4]

...contributions in paleolimnology and paleoclimatology, shaping our understanding of the sensitivity of lake systems worldwide to environmental change


Fritz is known for her research on using the distribution of diatoms in lake and marine sediments to infer past and present environmental changes. She first used this during her master's research at an acid strip-mine lake in Ohio when she was able to document the lake's recovery from strip mining.[5]

For her Ph.D. work, Fritz worked at Diss Mere in Norfolk, United Kingdom.[3] This research used pollen records to track the region's shift from a grassy woodland to a forested ecosystem, and identified the impact of humans on local vegetation.[6] A related publication used the shifting presence of diatoms in the stratified lake sediments to provide details on periods of oxygen depletion in the lake and regional deforestation.[7]

-uses data on the types of diatoms found in sediments to establish climate conditions in the past,[8][9]and links the distribution of diatoms with salinity measurements over the last hundred years to assess ability of the model to establish salinity conditions in the past[10] [11] uses fossil records in lakes to establish past changes in climate[12]

Little Ice Age in the North American Great Plains[13] more on that region[14] and more[15] on the salinity over the last two thousand years[16]

vegetation and climate in southern Italy[17] Yellowstone [18] Glacier Bay, Alaska[19][20]

South American: precipitation[21][22] warming of area[23] glaciation[24]

in Minnesota[25], North America[26]

(up through 2008)

Selected publications[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Bert Bolin Climate Lecture, Stockholm University (2021)[27]
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2013)[28]
  • Hans Oeschger Medal, European Geophysical Union (2014)[29]
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union (2020)[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Fritz CV" (PDF). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. Fritz, Sherilyn Claire (1979). Paleolimnological investigations in a recovered acid mine lake (Thesis).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fritz, Sherilyn (1985). Lake Ontogeny and land-use history in Diss, Norfolk, England (Thesis).
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Fritz". Honors Program. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  5. Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Carlson, Robert E. (1982-02-01). "Stratigraphic diatom and chemical evidence for acid strip-mine lake recovery". Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. 17 (2): 151–163. doi:10.1007/BF00283298. ISSN 1573-2932.
  6. Peglar, S. M.; Fritz, S. C.; Birks, H. J. B. (1989). "Vegetation and Land-Use History at Diss, Norfolk, U.K." Journal of Ecology. 77 (1): 203–222. doi:10.2307/2260925. ISSN 0022-0477.
  7. Fritz, S. C. (1989). "Lake Development and Limnological Response to Prehistoric and Historic Land-Use in Diss, Norfolk, U.K." Journal of Ecology. 77 (1): 182–202. doi:10.2307/2260924. ISSN 0022-0477.
  8. "Diatom-based transfer functions for inferring past hydrochemical characteristics of African lakes". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 117 (1–2): 31–54. 1995-08-01. doi:10.1016/0031-0182(94)00122-O. ISSN 0031-0182.
  9. Fritz, S. C.; Juggins, S.; Battarbee, R. W.; Engstrom, D. R. (1991). "Reconstruction of past changes in salinity and climate using a diatom-based transfer function". Nature. 352 (6337): 706–708. doi:10.1038/352706a0. ISSN 1476-4687.
  10. Fritz, Sherilyn C. (1990). "Twentieth-century salinity and water-level fluctuations in Devils Lake, North Dakota: Test of a diatom-based transfer function". Limnology and Oceanography. 35 (8): 1771–1781. doi:10.4319/lo.1990.35.8.1771. ISSN 1939-5590.
  11. Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Ito, Emi; Yu, Zicheng; Laird, Kathleen R.; Engstrom, Daniel R. (2000). "Hydrologic Variation in the Northern Great Plains During the Last Two Millennia". Quaternary Research. 53 (2): 175–184. doi:10.1006/qres.1999.2115. ISSN 0033-5894.
  12. Fritz, Sherilyn C. (1996). "Paleolimnological records of climatic change in North America". Limnology and Oceanography. 41 (5): 882–889. doi:10.4319/lo.1996.41.5.0882. ISSN 1939-5590.
  13. Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Engstrom, Daniel R.; Haskell, Brian J. (1994-03-01). "'Little Ice Age' aridity in the North American Great Plains: a high-resolution reconstruction of salinity fluctuations from Devils Lake, North Dakota, USA". The Holocene. 4 (1): 69–73. doi:10.1177/095968369400400108. ISSN 0959-6836.
  14. Laird, Kathleen R.; Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Grimm, Eric C.; Mueller, Pietra G. (1996). "Century scale paleoclimatic reconstruction from Moon Lake, a closed-basin lake in the northern Great Plains". Limnology and Oceanography. 41 (5): 890–902. doi:10.4319/lo.1996.41.5.0890. ISSN 1939-5590.
  15. Laird, Kathleen R.; Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Maasch, Kirk A.; Cumming, Brian F. (1996). "Greater drought intensity and frequency before AD 1200 in the Northern Great Plains, USA". Nature. 384 (6609): 552–554. doi:10.1038/384552a0. ISSN 1476-4687.
  16. Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Ito, Emi; Yu, Zicheng; Laird, Kathleen R.; Engstrom, Daniel R. (2000). "Hydrologic Variation in the Northern Great Plains During the Last Two Millennia". Quaternary Research. 53 (2): 175–184. doi:10.1006/qres.1999.2115. ISSN 0033-5894.
  17. "Vegetation history and climate of the last 15,000 years at Laghi di Monticchio, southern Italy". Quaternary Science Reviews. 15 (2–3): 113–132. 1996-01-01. doi:10.1016/0277-3791(95)00038-0. ISSN 0277-3791.
  18. Kilham, Susan S.; Theriot, Edward C.; Fritz, Sherilyn C. (1996). "Linking planktonic diatoms and climate change in the large lakes of the Yellowstone ecosystem using resource theory". Limnology and Oceanography. 41 (5): 1052–1062. doi:10.4319/lo.1996.41.5.1052. ISSN 1939-5590.
  19. Engstrom, Daniel R.; Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Almendinger, James E.; Juggins, Stephen (2000). "Chemical and biological trends during lake evolution in recently deglaciated terrain". Nature. 408 (6809): 161–166. doi:10.1038/35041500. ISSN 1476-4687.
  20. Fritz, S. C.; Engstrom, D. R.; Juggins, S. (2004-09-01). "Patterns of early lake evolution in boreal landscapes: a comparison of stratigraphic inferences with a modern chronosequence in Glacier Bay, Alaska". The Holocene. 14 (6): 828–840. doi:10.1191/0959683604hl763rp. ISSN 0959-6836.
  21. Baker, P. A. (2001-01-26). "The History of South American Tropical Precipitation for the Past 25,000 Years". Science. 291 (5504): 640–643. doi:10.1126/science.291.5504.640.
  22. Baker, Paul A.; Rigsby, Catherine A.; Seltzer, Geoffrey O.; Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Lowenstein, Tim K.; Bacher, Niklas P.; Veliz, Carlos (2001). "Tropical climate changes at millennial and orbital timescales on the Bolivian Altiplano". Nature. 409 (6821): 698–701. doi:10.1038/35055524. ISSN 1476-4687.
  23. Seltzer, G. O. (2002-05-31). "Early Warming of Tropical South America at the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition". Science. 296 (5573): 1685–1686. doi:10.1126/science.1070136.
  24. Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Baker, Paul A.; Seltzer, Geoffrey O.; Ballantyne, Ashley; Tapia, Pedro; Cheng, Hai; Edwards, R. Lawrence (2007). "Quaternary glaciation and hydrologic variation in the South American tropics as reconstructed from the Lake Titicaca drilling project". Quaternary Research. 68 (3): 410–420. doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2007.07.008. ISSN 0033-5894.
  25. Ramstack, J.M.; Fritz, S.C.; Engstrom, D.R.; Heiskary, S.A. (2003-01-01). "The Application of a Diatom-based Transfer Function to Evaluate Regional Water-Quality Trends in Minnessota Since 1970". Journal of Paleolimnology. 29 (1): 79–94. doi:10.1023/A:1022869205291. ISSN 1573-0417.
  26. Laird, Kathleen R.; Cumming, Brian F.; Wunsam, Sybille; Rusak, James A.; Oglesby, Robert J.; Fritz, Sherilyn C.; Leavitt, Peter R. (2003-03-04). "Lake sediments record large-scale shifts in moisture regimes across the northern prairies of North America during the past two millennia". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 100 (5): 2483–2488. doi:10.1073/pnas.0530193100. PMC 151367. PMID 12606725.
  27. "2012 | The climate during the past 10,000 years - Bolin Centre for Climate Research". Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  28. "Elected Fellows | American Association for the Advancement of Science". Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  29. "Hans Oeschger Medal". European Geosciences Union (EGU). Retrieved 2021-06-22.

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