Department of Environmental Science,

Policy and Management

Why geochemistry?

Every day, human activities disrupt the natural cycling of elements. Nutrient nitrogen and phosphorus are applied to soils to feed us, metals are extracted from the ground to support technological infrastructure, and energy dense materials are unearthed to fuel industries. These endeavors tend to concentrate contaminants, nutrients and carbon in the surface environment, with impacts on organisms and climate that reverberate through ecosystems. The field of geochemistry endeavors to understand the natural processes regulating these fluxes. Our goal is to develop fundamental insights that allow us to control the fluxes of nutrients, contaminants and carbon in the environment, to remediate contaminated systems, and to restore balances.


The Lammers Lab

The interfaces between solids and fluids have unique physiochemical properties that govern the mobility of elements in the environment. Our lab focuses on identifying and understanding the processes at the solid-fluid interface that control the retention, release, and transformation of species by adsorption, dissolution, and precipitation, and by surface-mediated reactions. We bridge the gap between molecular scale mechanisms and macroscopic processes by coupling computational, theoretical and analytical techniques. The types of research questions we seek to address include,


  • How do mineral growth and dissolution, adsorption, and ion exchange regulate elemental fluxes?
  • How do nano to molecular scale structures impact bulk mineral and fluid properties, and can we control them?
  • What are the optimal surface structures and fluid compositions for contaminant or carbon uptake and/or nutrient release?


The field of Environmental Geochemistry is highly interdisciplinary, so the lab welcomes students and scholars with a diversity of thought and experience and with a strong commitment to environmental problem solving.