College of Fellows Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker

Sheri Fritz headshot

Sheri Fritz
University of Nebraska
United States of America
Primary Affiliation: Paleolimnology and Paleoclimatology

In this presentation, I will share some insights generated by studies of the world around us through the lens of time; in other words, what we can learn from time and the history of the landscape. I will use the Great Plains of the North American continental interior for examples, because it is the place that I now live, and because it is a rich and diverse landscape that has supported abundant life, including people, for thousands of years. 


Sheri Fritz is the George Holmes University Professor at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, with joint appointments in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences. She is an international expert in paleoecology, paleoclimate, and aquatic ecology and is widely recognized for her interdisciplinary work at the interfaces among biological, geological, and atmospheric sciences. Her primary research interests are in long-term environmental change, particularly using the fossil record from lakes to reconstruct landscape evolution and patterns of climate variation. She currently has major research projects in western North America and in tropical South America. She also has done research in Southeast Asia, Greenland, and northwest Europe.

Fritz has a long history of being engaged in collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international activities and of leadership roles in those engagements. She has served as co-chair of the Science Steering Committee of PAGES (an international global change program under the auspices of Future Earth), President of the American Quaternary Association, and on the advisory boards of the International Paleolimnology Association, LacCore (the US NSF-funded core repository), and the Robert Daugherty Water for Food Institute. She is also a member of the editorial board of several major journals in geosciences. Over the last ~7 years, Fritz has been one of the lead PIs in building international interdisciplinary teams to study the role of climatic and geologic history in the evolution of biodiversity in tropical South America (the Trans-Amazon Drilling Project), funded by the US National Science Foundation, the International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP), the Smithsonian, and the São Paulo Research Foundation of Brazil (FAPESP).

Fritz has taught at the university level for over 20 years, with a focus on developing interdisciplinary Earth system science courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She spearheaded a team that developed an interdisciplinary graduate program on “Resilience and Adaptive Governance in Stressed Watersheds”, funded by the US National Science Foundation IGERT program (2009-2015) and co-directed that program, which included PhD students from natural science, social science, and engineering departments. Fritz has advised over 25 MS and PhD students and postdoctoral scholars, who have gone on to positions in academia, state and federal government, and industry.

Fritz is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), and the Geological Society of America (GSA). She received the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geophysical Union (EGU) in recognition of her research on climate change (2014), the GSA Israel C Russell Award for achievements in limnogeology (2018), and the International Paleolimnology Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2018). She has a B.A. in Biology from Macalester College, a M.S. in Biology from Kent State University, and a PhD in Ecology from the University of Minnesota.