Biogeochemistry of Global COntaminants

- Research Group -

We study how biogeochemical processes affect the fate, transport and food-web bioaccumulation of trace metals and organic chemicals in aquatic ecosystems. We develop and apply models at a variety of scales ranging from ecosystems (e.g., the Gulf of Maine, the North Pacific and Arctic Oceans) to global applications to characterize how changes in climate and emissions affect human and ecological health, and the potential impacts of regulatory actions. We measure chemical concentrations and reaction rates in environmental samples (natural waters, sediments and aquatic biota) and humans (hair, blood) to parameterize and evaluate our models.


- Below are a selection of figures from our recent papers -

Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Environmental Science & Technology

Environmental Science & Technology

Environmental Science & Technology

Environmental Science and Technology

Environmental Science & Technology

Environmental Science & Technology


Featured Paper


Y.Zhang, D.J. Jacob, S. Dutkiewicz, H.M. Amos, M.S. Long, E.M. Sunderland. 2015. Biogeochemical drivers of the the fate of riverine mercury discharged to the global and Arctic oceans. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 29(6): 854-864.





Zhang et al. (2015) presents a new simulation for the fate of inorganic Hg discharged by rivers globally using a 3-D ocean circulation model (MITgcm).  Results show high levels of contamination in East Asia due to industrial contamination and some regions of the Arctic.



Sunderland Lab

Group Administrator: Brenda Mathieu

Address: 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA 02138

E-mail:  bmathieu [at]

Phone: +1 (617) 496-5745

Fax: +1 (617) 495-4551