The Environmental Biogeochemistry Group

Chorover Group

Jon Chorover, Professor of Environmental Chemistry, leads the Environmental Biogeochemistry Group with research on terrestrial systems including natural soils, estuarine sediments, mining wastes, and nuclear disposal sites using lab and field experiments to better understand mechanisms that influence and determine biogeochemical cycles and environmental quality. Much of Dr. Chorover’s research has focused on understanding the behavior of contaminants at the Earth’s near-surface environment, also referred to as the critical zone. Current investigations of environmental problems include: trace organic contaminants of emerging concern (e.g. endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals and personal care products); fate of explosives; and toxic and radioactive element cycling (e.g. As, Sr, Cs, Pb, and U). Of particular interest are components like natural and colloidal organic matter and related processes that influence the chemical form and mobility of contaminants (metals and organics) in the environment to better understand environmental quality and routes of human exposure. Dr. Chorover uses state of the art techniques including tandem mass spectrometry and x-ray absorption spectroscopy to understand how environmental pollutants are transported in soils, water, and air. Multi-year experiments probe crucial scientific questions concerning molecular-scale processes of contaminant mobility, such as large-scale landscape evolution at Biosphere2 (, and watershed-scale processes of nutrient cycling at Critical Zone Observatories ( Dr. Chorover, awarded CALS 2010 research faculty of the year, investigates how compounds are introduced into the environment, how they move or are sequestered through a variety of pathways, and how some have biological effects even at very low concentrations. He has had a successful track record of funding for his research, and is currently the Lead PI for the Superfund Research Program Project 7 (NIH-NIEHS), Lead PI for the Jemez-Catalina Critical Zone Observatory (NSF), and co-PI for the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (DOD, EPA, DOE).