Associate Professor
Environment & Geography

Room 220 Sinnott Building
70 Dysart Rd.
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2M6

Academic Background

Ph. D. University of Waterloo (2005) - Biology

Research Interests

My primary research interests are focussed on algal ecology and physiology, and ecosystem ecology of freshwater lakes.  My current research projects include large scale ecosystem experiments and evaluation of climate change effects to freshwaters at the IISD Experimental Lakes Area, where I am a Senior Research Scientist and manage the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program.  I am currently engaged in highly collaborative whole-lake manipulation experiments on the role of trace metals for sustaining harmful algal blooms, and the effects of contaminants such as antimicrobial agents and microplastics on lake food webs.  My research also includes a focus on the effects of climate change on the physical, chemical, and biological properties of lake ecosystems from regional to global scales and am engaged in several collaborative studies on winter limnology.  I have recently participated in large scale experiments evaluating oil spill and clean-up methods on lake food webs, and the role of climate change in driving the phenology of lake ice.

Recent and Significant Publications

Sherbo, B.A.H., J. Tonin, M.J. Paterson, B.J. Hann, J. Kozak, and S.N. Higgins.  2023.  The effects of terrestrial dissolved organic matter on phytoplankton biomass and productivity in boreal lakes. Freshwater Biology 68: 2109-2119.

De Witt, H. A., J. Stoddard, J.E. Sample, K. Austnes, S. Couture, J. Folster, S.N. Higgins, D. Houle, J. Hruska, P. Kram, J. Kopacek, A.M. Paterson, S. Valinia, H. van Dam, J. Vuorenmaa, and C.D. Evans. 2021.  Cleaner air reveals growing influence of climate on dissolved organic carbon trends in northern headwaters. Environmental Research Letters 16 (2021) 104009.

Molot, L.A., S.N. Higgins, S.L. Schiff, J.J. Venkiteswaran, M.J. Paterson, and H.M. Baulch.  2021. Phosphorus-only fertilization rapidly initiates large nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria blooms in two oligotrophic lakes.  Environmental Research Letters 16 064078.

Higgins, S.N., C. Desjardins, H. Drouin, L. Hrenchuk, and J.J. van der Sanden.  2021.  The role of climate and lake size in regulating the ice phenology of boreal lakes.  Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 126 (3) e2020JG005898.

Higgins, S.N., M.J. Paterson, R.E. Hecky, D.W. Schindler, J.J. Venkiteswaran, and D.L. Findlay. 2018.  Biological nitrogen fixation prevents the response of a eutrophic lake to reduced loading of nitrogen: Evidence from a 46-year whole lake experiment. Ecosystems 21: 1088-1100. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-017-0204-2.