David P Krabbenhoft


David Krabbenhoft received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988 and has been a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey since.  He has general research interests are in biogeochemistry and hydrogeology of aquatic ecosystems. Dave began working on environmental mercury cycling, transformations, and fluxes in aquatic ecosystems with the Mercury in Temperate Lakes project in 1988; since then, the topic has consumed his professional life.  In 1994, Dave established the USGS’s Mercury Research Laboratory, which includes a team of multi-disciplinary mercury investigators and a state-of-the-art analytical facility strictly dedicated to low-level speciation analysis of mercury.  In 1995 he initiated the multi-agency Aquatic Cycling of Mercury in the Everglades (ACME) project, which is still ongoing.  More recently, Dave has been a Primary Investigator on the internationally conducted Mercury Experiment To Assess Atmospheric Loadings in Canada and the US (METAALICUS) project, which is a novel effort to examine the ecosystem-level response to loading an entire watershed with mercury.  Currently, Dave’s research team is active on projects that span environments as far ranging as the Pacific Ocean to freshwater systems in Alaska to Florida, and from California to New England.  In recent years, the Mercury Research Team entered into the realm of atmospheric research by constructing and deployed the USGS Mobile Atmospheric Mercury Lab, which has the capability for rapid deployment and advanced study of mercury in the atmosphere.  Since 1990, he has authored or coauthored over 100 papers on mercury in the environment. In August 2006, Dave served as the Co-Chair for the 8th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant.



  • Ph.D. 1988, University of Wisconsin-Madsion, Department of Geology and Geophysics; research emphasis isotope geochemistry, limnology, and hydrogeology
  • M.S. 1984, University of Wisconsin-Madsion, Department of Geology and Geophysics; research emphasis geochemistry and hydrogeology
  • B.S. 1982, North Dakota St. University, Major: Geology, Minor: Chemistry  


  • Research Hydrologist/Geochemist, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Water Science Center, 8505 Research Way, Middleton, Wisconsin, July 1988 to present.
  • Adjunct, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001 to present.
  • USGS Mercury Research Lab, Team Leader, 1994 to present.  


  • Shoemaker Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Science Communications (October 2013)
  • USGS performance awards (received on 24 occasions from 1988-2013)
  • Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, In Recognition for Meritorious Service (2003)
  • Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, In Recognition for Superior Service (1997)
  • Exxon Research Scholarship, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1982)
  • Summa Cum Laude, North Dakota State University (1982)
  • North American Coal Company Scholarship, (1981)
  • North Dakota State University, President’s Undergraduate Scholarship (1978-1980)


  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Watershed science
  • Mercury biogeochemistry
  • Environmental restoration


  • Co-Host Scientist, Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Madison, Wisconsin, August 6-11, 2006.  (largest mercury meeting ever convened, with ~1,200 attendees from 64 nations).
  • Committee Member, Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Methylmercury, White House Office of Science, Technology and Policy (OSTP), June 2002 to October 2004.