Madison from the air

The Aquatic Chemistry group at UW-Madison focuses on processes that impact water quality. We study the fate of polar organic contaminants, such as pesticides and PFAS, in natural and engineered aquatic systems. We also study processes that transform organic chemicals, including the role of dissolved organic matter in those systems. By studying these fundamental reaction mechanisms, our group aims to develop models and real-world applications that can be used to improve water quality.

Group News

For the latest news, follow our group on Twitter: @remucal.


10 February 2022

Dr. Sarah Balgooyen’s study on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in tributaries of Green Bay is now out in ACS ES&T Water. In this Wisconsin Sea Grant-funded study, we found that large tributaries contribute the most PFAS to the bay even if their PFAS concentrations are relatively low. We also found that PFAS can be released from tributary sediments.


5 February 2022

It was so fun to be back at Frozen Assets sharing our research with the public at Science on Ice. Poster sessions on ice are the best poster sessions.


24 December 2021

Our study on dissolved organic matter (DOM) variability in Lake Mendota is now published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. Stephanie Berg (Remucal lab) and Ben Peterson (McMahon lab) led this collaboration on how DOM changes with time and with depth in our favorite eutrophic lake.


3 October 2021

Our article on organic carbon and alkalinity in tributaries of Lake Michigan is now out in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. This study was an amazing collaboration between former lab members, Stephanie Berg and Megan McConville, and our neighbors in the Center for Limnology, Robert Mooney and Peter McIntyre.


22 September 2021

Check out this story on our aquatic herbicide project, which features the Amber White’s work on 2,4-D and florpyrauxifen-benzyl. This project aims to connect laboratory degradation rates and mechanisms with pesticide transformation in Wisconsin lakes.


23 August 2021

Emma Trainer investigated how manganese oxides react with dissolved organic matter at the molecular level using a wide range of natural and engineered waters. Her paper is now out in Environmental Science and Technology.


30 July 2021

Reid Milstead’s new ACS ES&T Water paper links the composition of dissolved organic matter with disinfection by-products. He used high-resolution mass spectrometry to show that free available chlorine reacts selectively with DOM to form both traditional and novel DBPs.


23 May 2021

Finishing grad school is never easy and these four amazing women did it during a pandemic. It was extra special to celebrate the PhD defenses of Devon Bulman, Stephanie Berg, and Emma Trainer and the MS thesis defense Bobbi Jo Helgemoe in person this year.


20 May 2021

Want to learn more about PFAS in waters of Wisconsin? Check out the 11-minute presentation Prof. Remucal recorded for Day at the Capitol. For more information, please see the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources page on PFAS.


19 May 2021

Congrats to Bobbi Jo Helgemoe on a successful MS thesis defense for her project on the fate of the lampricide 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol. Bobbi Jo led the UW-Madison effort on lampricide fate in collaboration with Adam Ward.


13 May 2021

Emma Trainer successfully defended her PhD! She was co-advised by Matt Ginder-Vogel and studied the reactivity of Mn oxides with phenols and DOM. We wish her all the best as she starts her new job at Kemin.


29 April 2021

A huge congrats to Dr. Stephanie Berg for her PhD defense! Steph has done amazing research on DOM, photochemistry, and high-resolution mass spectrometry. We can’t wait to see what she does as a postdoc with Bill Arnold at the University of Minnesota.


23 March 2021

Congratulations to Jenna Swenson for receiving a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. There is a huge smile under that mask!


22 January 2021

Congrats to Reid on successfully passing his preliminary exam! We couldn't follow our tradition of jumping in the lake to celebrate (it is Wisconsin in January, after all). Instead, we celebrated with a (socially distant, masks required) group ice skate.


Group News Archive