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.

22 October 2023

Christy was named the interim director of the Aquatic Sciences Center, which is home to the Wisconsin Sea Grant College Program and the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute (WRI). Both programs support multidisciplinary research, education and outreach for the protection and sustainable use of Wisconsin’s water resources.

14 September 2023

Our latest paper on quantifying photochemically produced reactive intermediates is out in Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts. This study was a team effort between two UW-Madison PhD students (Reid & Steph) and an amazing group of undergraduate researchers in the lab of Kris Wammer at the University of St. Thomas.

8 August 2023

Our study on the fate of the aquatic herbicide florpyrauxifen-benzyl (FPB) is published in Environmental Science & Technology. This study combines laboratory and field studies to investigate the role of multiple simultaneous processes in FBP fate.

31 July 2023

Reid’s paper on dissolved organic matter photooxidation is now out in Environmental Science & Technology. He used high-resolution mass spectrometry to link dissolved organic matter composition with its photoreactivity.

1 June 2023

Hooray for Reid Milstead and his defense of his PhD in Environmental Chemistry and Technology! He studied the reactivity of dissolved organic matter during disinfection and photooxidation.

6 May 2023

Expanding Your Horizons is back! It was so much fun to participate in this outreach event for middle school girls, female-identifying, and non-binary youth for the first time since the pandemic. A huge thanks to all the WSEL students and postdocs who made this happen.

27 April 2023

Congrats to Sydney van Frost for her successful defense of her MS thesis on the fate of aquatic herbicides! Sydney was co-advised by Prof. Trina McMahon and in Civil & Environmental Engineering. We wish her the best as she starts her new job in Alaska.

14 April 2023

Sam Bieber finished his MS in Chemistry and studied PFAS fate in tributaries of Lake Superior. We are excited for him to start his job at USGS!

11 April 2023

Stephanie Berg’s massive study on dissolved organic matter photochemistry is out in Environmental Science & Technology. She studied the reactivity and composition of nearly 50 water samples from natural and engineered systems.

27 December 2022

Our newest paper on the impact of environmental processes on the PFAS fingerprint of fluorotelomer AFFF is now out in Environmental Science & Technology. Check out coverage of this study by the Associated Press here.

6 September 2022

It is trophy time! Emily Sellers and Amber White received their research-inspired, custom trophies in celebration of their graduations. Best lab tradition ever?

23 August 2022

Amber White successfully defended her PhD on the fate of aquatic herbicides in lakes! Amber was co-advised by Trina McMahon and mastered both environmental chemistry and biology in her graduate studies. We are excited to see what she does next!

20 July 2022

Amber White’s paper on the fate of 2,4-D in lakes is out in Environmental Science & Technology. This study synthesizes laboratory and field experiments to identify the dominant transformation mechanisms of 2,4-D.

4 May 2022

Congrats to Emily Sellers for her successful defense of her MS thesis on PFAS in precipitation and municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Emily was co-advised by Dr. Martin Shafer at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene.

27 April 2022

Sydney Van Frost is the recipient of the 2022 Robert L. Johnson Memorial Research Grant and is the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society student representative. The award will support her research on herbicides used for invasive species control in lakes. Congrats, Sydney!

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.

Group News Archive