Stephen Norton

Distinguished Maine Professor

Address: 314 Bryand Global Sciences Center, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5790


Steve Norton attended Princeton and Harvard University, earning his PhD in 1967. He joined the Department of Geology faculty at the University of Maine in 1968 where he taught and did research until his retirement in 2008. Two sabbatical years were spent at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research in Oslo. He served as Chair of his department, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and now has no administrative responsibilities! His research was, and continues to be, in the field of aquatic geochemistry, with the interaction of water, humans, and geologic materials as his specialty. He continues his research at the University of Maine and is currently studying the chemistry of aluminum, iron, and phosphorus – how they interact and control biological productivity in Maine lakes. He continues to serve on graduate committees for the School of Earth and Climate Sciences and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


Research Area:

I am interested in (1) the interaction of geologic materials (soil, bedrock) and surface and groundwater, (2) the impact of human activity on water quality, and (3) the paleolimnological record for changing processes in ecosystems. My current research focuses on:

  1. The Bear Brook Watershed in Maine – a paired whole ecosystem study, with one catchment being chemically manipulated since 1989 and the other serving as a reference.
  2. The biogeochemistry of humic waters, especially the controls of acidity, DOC, and redox conditions on aluminum and iron mobility which, in turn, control the bioavailability of P and REEs.
  3. The paleolimnological record of processes controlling the bioavailability of P.
  4. The impact of salt on the chemistry of soils, streams, and lakes.
  5. What controls P mobility in natural and agricultural systems.
  6. Linkages between P availability in lakes and Hg concentration in fish in those lakes.