Barbara Mahler is a Research Hydrologist and Communications Coordinator for the USGS Water Mission Area. Her research interests include fate and transport of contaminated sediment, and karst hydrology and water quality.
Barbara has Masters and doctoral degrees in Geology from the University of Texas, where she studied with Dr. Philip Bennett. The emphasis of her graduate research was the geochemistry of karst aquifers. Her doctoral research focused on sediment transport through karst aquifers and its potential to serve as a vector for contaminant transport. After completing her Ph.D. in 1997, she spent 1 year as an NSF/NATO International Postdoc in Montpellier, France, studying transport of sediment and bacteria in karst.
Currently Barbara is a geochemist with the NWQP Regional Stream Quality Assessment (RSQA) study, and the Communications Coordinator for the USGS National Water Quality Program (NWQP). Her research has highlighted the role played by coal-tar-based pavement sealants in contributing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the environment, for which was was awarded the USGS Meritorious Service Award in 2017. Her publications in the field of karst have included analysis of pesticide breakthrough curves in spring flow, use of nitrate as a tracer of recent recharge, and use of principal components analysis to investigate nutrient dynamics in karst. She has been an Associate Editor for the Journal of Hydrology, and is a member of the IAH Karst Hydrogeology Commission.
Barbara is a Research Fellow at the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences. She regularly serves on the committees of Masters and Ph.D. students and teaches courses at the university. She is a regular reviewer for numerous scientific journals, including Science, Nature, Journal of Hydrology, Hydrogeology Journal, Environmental Science and Technology, and Journal of Contaminant Hydrology.