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 -

Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Environmental Science & Technology

Environmental Science & Technology

Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Environmental Science & Technology



Featured Paper

This paper assesses the impacts of hydroelectric power expansion in the Canadian North on methylmercury exposures and risks of local indigenous populations.  The analysis is based on field data and community level exposure and dietary information from three Inuit Communities in Labrador, Canada.


Link to NY Times Article


R.S.D. Calder, A.T. Schartup, M. Li, A.P. Valberg, P.H. Balcom, E.M. Sunderland. 2016. Future impacts of hydroelectric power expansion on methylmercury exposures of Canadian indigenous communities, Environmental Science and Technology. 50(23): 13115-13122.




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