Dr. Katerina Dontsova

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

Dr. Katerina Dontsova

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

I am a soil scientist with interest in interactions between physical, chemical, and biological processes that take place in the soils. My primary focus is in soil chemistry, including dissolution, precipitation, and sorption reactions in the soils with both basic science applications including critical zone processes, mineral-organic interactions and applied research looking at fate and transport of organic contaminants and nano-particles in soils that is relevant to environmental quality.

My research in Biosphere 2 is focused on weathering processes and carbon cycling under influence of abiotic and biological factors. Specifically, we examine inorganic carbon sequestration during dissolution of basalt covering Landscape Evolution Observatory slopes and formation of spatial and temporal heterogeneity on the slopes due to its incongruent weathering. We also study biological weathering, how plants and microorganisms influence rock weathering and soil formation and how products of the weathering are compartmentalized within the ecosystem, as well as effect of climate change on these processes. I lead Biosphere 2 biogeochemistry lab that supports LEO and other Biosphere 2 and University of Arizona projects.

I also serve as a director of the NSF funded the Environmental and Earth Systems Research Experience (REU) for Undergraduates Program at Biosphere 2.

Current Projects

Past Projects

  • Stabilization of Organic Carbon by Complexation with Iron Colloids Formed During Biogeochemical Weathering of Basalt. $86,036 (Pacific Northwest National Lab Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory facility use time and technical support). 10/01/17-9/30/18. PI (Chorover), Co-PI (Dontsova).
  • Collaborative research: Coupled hydrological and geochemical process evolution at the Landscape Evolution Observatory. $486,256. National Science Foundation. 09/1/14-08/31/17. PI (Troch), Co-PIs (Niu, Dontsova, Chorover).
  • Use of high resolution mass spectrometry to assess the role of molecular structure in organic matter phase partitioning during basalt weathering. $0 (Pacific Northwest National Lab Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory facility use time and technical support). 03/15/17-04/15/17. PI (Chorover), Co-PI (Dontsova).
  • Abiotic and biologically-driven basalt weathering and C sequestration under changing climate. $0 (ECOTRON IleDeFrance facility use time and technical support). French National Center for Scientific Research (CNSR). 05/01/14-08/31/15. PI (Dontsova), Co-PIs (van Haren, Barre, Gélabert, Daval, Pavao-Zuckerman, Niu, Meunier).
  • REU SITE: THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND EARTH SYSTEMS RESEARCH EXPERIENCES FOR UNDERGRADUATES PROGRAM AT BIOSPHERE. $405,000 National Science Foundation. 01/01/13 – 4/31/18. PI (Pavao-Zuckerman), Co-PI (Dontsova).
  • DISSOLUTION OF NTO, DNAN AND INSENSITIVE MUNITIONS FORMULATIONS AND THEIR FATES IN SOILS. $1,350,466. DOD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program. 3/1/12-9/01/17. PI (Dontsova), Co-PIs (Taylor, Brusseau, Pesce-Rodriguez, Simunek).
  • Acquisition of an instrumentation array to monitor and model land-atmosphere water, carbon and energy fluxes at the hillslope scale in the Biosphere 2 Landscape Evolution Observatory. $188,266. National Science Foundation. 09/1/14-08/31/15. PI (Troch), Co-PIs (Niu, Barron-Gafford, Tuller, van Haren, Dontsova).
  • ETBC: PLANT-MICROBE-MINERAL INTERACTION AS A DRIVER FOR ROCK WEATHERING AND CHEMICAL DENUDATION. $424,623. National Science Foundation. 08/01/10 – 07/31/13. PI (Dontsova), Co-PIs (Chorover, Huxman, Maier).
  • REU Site: Environmental and Earth Systems Research at Biosphere 2. $401,727 National Science Foundation. 01/01/10 – 12/31/12. PI (Pavao-Zuckerman), Co-PI (Dontsova).
  • Dissolution and transport of propellants in soils. $202,175. Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program. 12/16/09 - 11/22/11. PI (Dontsova), Co-PIs (Huxman, Chorover, Simunek).
  • Environmental Reactivity and Mobility of Carbon and Metal Nanoparticles in Soils. $370,000.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Quality Technology Program. FY08-FY09. PI (Dontsova).
  • Perchlorate fate in soils. $120,000. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Quality Technology Program. FY08. PI (Dontsova), Co-PIs (Chappell, George).
  • Mechanisms of Sorption and Colloidal Transport of High Explosives in Soils. $700,000. ERDC Basic Research Program. FY06-FY08. PI (Pennington), Co-PIs (Dontsova, Simunek).

Outreach

Degrees

  • PhD, Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 2002
  • MS, Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 1998
  • Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, National Agricultural University, Kyiv, Ukraine, 1995
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