Aqueous and Terrestrial Geochemistry Laboratory

Research Team
Current research focuses on:
  • Determining the nutrient and carbon distribution in agricultural soils subjected to different best management practices.
  • Determine the parameters that enhance nitrate and phosphate removal from agriculture tile drainage employing edge-of-field practices (e.g., woodchip bioreactors and steel slag filters Fe-oxide filters).
  • Identify the effects of dredged material on soil health, crop yield, inorganic and organic contaminants bioaccumulation in grains and nutrient export into waterways.

Samira Samira Rifat Prova, MS Geology

Umme Fatema, MS Geology

Matthew Franks, MS Geology

Russell Brigham, MS Geology

Melissa Wyderka, MS Geology

Bidisha Faruque Abesh, MS Geology

Madisyn Noel Rex, BS Geology

Daniel Burggraf, BS Environmental Science

Margaret Rettig, BS Biology

Adam Joseph Swint, BS Environmental Science

Emily Nicole Manner, BS Environmental Science

Hannah Noelle Bebinger, BS Environmental Science/Music

Sara Catherine Honeck, BS Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law

Samuel Jefferson, BS Psychology

Madison Brown, BS Environmental Science

Lydia Archambo, BS Environmental Science


Dr. Angélica Vázquez-Ortega | Associate Professor of Geochemistry | Click image for CV
Dr. Carlos D. Soto | Assistant Teaching Professor | Click image for CV

Graduate Students

Caleb Agyei | MS Geology, 2024 BGSU
Saratendra Bajal | MS Geology, 2025 BGSU
Caroline Barth | MS Biology, 2023 BGSU
Lakshan Beligala | MS Biology, 2025 BGSU
Steven Diaz | MS Geology, 2023 BGSU
Richmond Said | MS Geology, 2025 BGSU
Katarina Keiffer | MS Geology, 2024 BGSU
Shikshya Gautam | Ph.D. Biology, 2027 BGSU
Olusola Oyewumi | MS Geology, 2023 BGSU
Salim Shamsu-Deen Mohammed | MS Biology, 2025 BGSU

Current Research

The Role of Dissolved Organic Matter on Phosphorous Sorption onto Iron-Enhanced Activated Alumina Media using In-Field and Flow-Through Column Experiments


The variables that control the magnitude of total P removal and the cost and feasibility of the P removal structures depends on the total mass of phosphorous sorption materials (PSMs) required to meet the total phosphorous removal and cost per unit mass in the structure that in return depends on the lifetime of the structure. If dissolved organic matter (DOM) reduces or block the phosphate sorption onto the media, the lifetime of the P removal structure can decrease due simultaneous adsorption competition of phosphate and DOM. To our knowledge, the generation of PSM design curves using batch and flow-through column experiments do not take into the consideration the interaction of DOM with the phosphate anions and/or the media. Therefore, this research will provide insights on the effect of DOM on P sorption onto the Fe-oxide media to inform future P filter designs. Collaborative research with Dr. Penn from Lafayette USDA.

Characterization of humic suprastructures in a farm soil and lake sediments by Humeomics and fluorescence spectroscopy


Soil organic matter (SOM) or humus comprises small-size heterogeneous organic molecules arranged in complex meta-stable suprastructures. SOM is viewed as a non-covalent supramolecular association of small heterogeneous molecules, that survive microbial degradation of plant and animal tissues, and are held together mainly by weak dispersive forces, hydrogen bonds, and metal-bridged intermolecular electrostatic bonds. This project employs Humeomics to characterize dredged material from the Western Lake Erie Basina and agricultural soils. Humeomics can be described as “a stepwise separation of molecules from humic suprastructures by progressively breaking intermolecular bonds and characterizing their structure by advanced analytical instrumentation. Collaborative research with Dr. Furgal from BGSU.

Strategic Positioning Plan for Lake Sediments as a Specialty Crop Amendment

This project will investigate the beneficial use of dredged sediments as soil amendment for specialty crops, including tomato, carrot, strawberry, and lettuce, by conducting both greenhouse and field experiments We will determine the potential bioaccumulation of inorganic and organic contaminants in the specialty crop fruit and edible tissue to ensure food safety. In addition, we will conduct an agronomic evaluation integrated with an economic analysis to estimate the effects of dredged sediment use on crop yield, quality of produce, and economic returns to specialty crop producers dedicated to different production systems. We will also investigate alternative value chain arrangements for moving, processing, selling, and using a commercial LS amendment. Collaborative research with Dr. Signorini from OSU.


Beneficially using Dredged Material as Farm Amendments to improve Soil Health and Crop Yield: A Farm Demonstration Project


Our phased project approach embeds stakeholder engagement and collaborative decision points accounting for adapting to uncertainties that will be encountered rather than a prescriptive performed-in-isolation study. Incorporated within the phases below are our professional assumptions that as stakeholder input, analytical data, permit conditions, natural weather conditions, etc. are received may warrant adjustment yet will be adjusted in active coordination with Lucas SWCD. The phases are: Stakeholder Engagement, Application Rates, Permitting & Preparations, Loading, Hauling, & Stockpiling, Spreading, Tilling, Seeding & Harvesting, and Monitoring & Reporting. Collaborative research with Corry Plat from Coldwater Consulting.

Pilot Watershed Project


Despite conservation initiatives across the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB), the lake and its tributaries contend annually with water quality impairment, including harmful algal blooms. The problem is largely due to runoff from agriculture, which makes up more than 70% of the land in the basin. While conservation practices have reduced nutrient runoff at the field scale, there is still no evidence of water quality improvements at a watershed scale. This situation demonstrates a major knowledge gap for practitioners and legislators: to date there has been no definitive demonstration that large-scale, continuous implementation of conservation practices will lead to attainment of water quality goals and diminish algal blooms. Accordingly, our goals are 1) to establish Shallow Run (Hardin County, Ohio) as the first sub-watershed in the Western Lake Erie Basin to achieve target Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus and Total Phosphorus concentration reductions, and 2) to describe a pathway to achieve these targets in other watersheds. To achieve this reduction, the best models say that we need at least 70% of acres in the watershed with effective conservation practices. We will achieve this adoption rate through innovative tactics, including an “agglomeration bonus” that increases payments as more producers implement practices, and through farmer engagement and toolbar sharing led by trusted agricultural retailers. This “Pilot Watershed” will leverage existing and add new water quality monitoring infrastructure in both the 6800-acre Shallow Run treatment watershed as well as a neighboring control watershed in Hardin County, OH. This public-private partnership includes universities, agricultural organizations, NGOs, state agencies, three agricultural retailers, and $6M in cash from the state of Ohio to support practices, holistic monitoring, and outreach. 

Analytical balance
pH meter probe
Fluorescence Ultraviolet-Visible Spectrometer
Inductively coupled plasma optimal emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES)
Carbon analyzer
Water bath
Ultra pure water system
EC Meter
Column and Fraction Collector System
Roto Evaporator
Top balance
Vacuum Pump
Freeze Drier
Reflux Apparatus

Cyanotoxin transport from surface water to groundwater: Simulation scenarios for Lake Erie
Abesh, B., Liu, G., Vázquez-Ortega, A., Gomezdelcampo, E., and Bullerjahn, G., 2022. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 48(3), 695-706.

Black shale-gray shale transitions in a Late Devonian shale succession, Central Appalachian Basin (Northern Ohio): Sedimentary and geochemical evidence for terrestrial organic matter driving anoxia events
Dunkel, C., Vázquez-Ortega, A.and Evans, J., 2022. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 608(15) 111271.

Effects of flow on uranium speciation in soils impacted by acidic waste fluids
Perdrial, N., Vázquez-Ortega, A.Reinoso-Maset, E., O'Day, P., and Chorover, J., 2022. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. 251-252, 106955.

Desorption of uranium from acid-waste weathered Hanford sediments.
Vázquez-Ortega, A.
, Perdrial, N., Reinoso-Maset, E., O'Day, P.A., Root, R., and Chorover, J., 2021. Journal of hazardous materials. 416, 126240.

Assessing the Effects of Lake-Dredged Sediments on Soil Health: Agricultural and Environmental Implications on Northwestern Ohio.
Brigham, R., Pelini, S., Xu, Z., and Vázquez-Ortega A., 2021. Journal of Environmental Quality. 50(2), 494-503

Role of Fe- and Mn-(oxy)hydroxides on carbon and nutrient dynamics in agricultural soils: A chemical sequential extraction approach.
Franks, M., Duncan, E., King, K., Vázquez-Ortega, A., 2021. Chemical Geology 561, 120035.

Effects of Detritivores on Nutrient Dynamics and Corn Biomass in Mesocosms.
Lindsey-Robbins, J., Vázquez-Ortega, A., McCluney, K., Pelini, S., 2019. Insects, 10, 453.

Mapping Invasive Phragmites australis in the Old Woman Creek Estuary Using UAV Remote Sensing and Machine Learning Classifiers.
Abeysinghe, T., Simic Milas, A., Arend, K., Hohman, B., Reil, P., Gregory, A., and Vázquez-Ortega, A., 2019. Remote Sens., 11, 1380.

Uranium speciation in acid waste-weathered sediments: The role of aging and phosphate amendments.
Perdrial, N., Vazquez-Ortega, A., Wang, G., Kanematsu, M., Mueller, K.T., Um, W., Steefel, C.I., O'Day, P.A., Chorover, J., 2018.  Applied Geochemistry 89, 109-120.
A net ecosystem carbon budget for snow dominated forested headwater catchments: linking water and carbon fluxes to critical zone carbon storage.
Perdrial, J., Brooks, P.D., Swetnam, T., Lohse, K.A., Rasmussen, C., Litvak, M., Harpold, A.A., Zapata-Rios, X., Broxton, P., Mitra, B., Meixner, T., Condon, K., Huckle, D., Stielstra, C., Vazquez-Ortega, A., Lybrand, R., Holleran, M., Orem, C., Pelletier, J., Chorover, J., 2018.  Biogeochemistry 138 (3), 225-243.
Thermodynamic modeling of Mn(II) adsorption onto manganese oxidizing bacteria.
Vazquez-Ortega, A.
, Fein, J.B., 2017. Chemical Geology 464, 147-154.

Geochemical evolution of the Critical Zone across variable time scales informs concentration-discharge relationships: Jemez River Basin Critical Zone Observatory.
McIntosh, J.C., Schaumberg, C., Perdrial, J., Harpold, A., Vazquez-Ortega, A., Rasmussen, C., Vinson, D., Zapata-Rios, X., Brooks, P.D., Meixner, T., Pelletier, J., Derry, L., Chorover, J., 2017.  Water Resources Research 53 (5), 4169-4196.

U-series isotopic signatures of soils and headwater streams in a semi-arid complex volcanic terrain.
Huckle, D., Ma, L., McIntosh, J., Vazquez-Ortega, A., Rasmussen, C., Chorover, J., 2016. Chemical Geology 445, 68-83.

Solid-phase redistribution of rare earth elements in hillslope pedons subjected to different hydrologic fluxes.
Vazquez-Ortega, A.
, Huckle, D., Perdrial, J., Amistadi, M.K., Durcik, M., Rasmussen, C., McIntosh, J., Chorover, J., 2016. Chemical Geology 426, 1-18.
Rare earth elements as reactive tracers of biogeochemical weathering in forested rhyolitic terrain.
Vazquez-Ortega, A.
, Perdrial, J., Harpold, A., Zapata-Rios, X., Rasmussen, C., McIntosh, J., Schaap, M., Pelletier, J.D., Brooks, P.D., Amistadi, M.K., Chorover, J., 2015.  Chemical Geology 391, 19-32.
Fractionation of Dissolved Organic Matter by (Oxy)Hydroxide-Coated Sands: Competitive Sorbate Displacement during Reactive Transport.
Vazquez-Ortega, A.
, Hernandez-Ruiz, S., Amistadi, M.K., Rasmussen, C., Chorover, J., 2014.  Vadose Zone Journal 13 (7).
Experimental Assessment of Passive Capillary Wick Sampler Suitability for Inorganic Soil Solution Constituents.
Perdrial, J.N., Perdrial, N., Vazquez-Ortega, A., Porter, C., Leedy, J., Chorover, J., 2014.  Soil Science Society of America Journal 78 (2), 486-495.

The influence of goethite and gibbsite on soluble nutrient dynamics and microbial community composition.
Heckman, K., Welty-Bernard, A., Vazquez-Ortega, A., Schwartz, E., Chorover, J., Rasmussen, C., 2013.  Biogeochemistry 112 (1-3), 179-195.

Heckman, K., Vazquez-Ortega, A., Gao, X., Chorover, J., Rasmussen, C., 2011. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75 (15), 4295-4309.  


ENVS 1010 Introduction to Environmental Studies
ENVS 3040 Water Quality in the Environment
GEOL 4310/5310 Aqueous Geochemistry
SEES 4600/5600 Soil Science
GEOL 6810 Geochemistry Seminar
Students participating in service learning field trip.
Students learning about water quality in environmental studies class.
Students measuring water quality parameters in the Geochemistry Lab.
Students designing prototypes to clean an oil spill.
Students sharing their environmental issues research during poster session.

Updated: 10/27/2023 09:35AM