Mae Gustin

Professor, Environmental Geochemistry
mae gustin


My primary research interests are the study of the fate and transport and biogeochemical cycles of inorganic contaminants in the environment. My recent work focuses primarily on understanding the chemistry and environmental fate of atmospheric mercury in the environment, the sources of ozone and other air pollutants to the Western United States, the biochemistry of Hg movement in plants, and the use of tree rings as archives of atmospheric Hg concentrations. I am especially interested in regional and long-range transport, and how air pollution moves in complex terrains. Specific research topics in the past included investigation of natural sources of atmospheric mercury, the role of plants in the biogeochemical cycling of mercury, mercury pollution and methyl mercury production in watersheds impacted by legacy mining, and arsenic. I also have done a significant amount of work investigating the potential use of coal combustion by-products as agricultural amendments; and on Hg release from areas of legacy and industrial-scale mining. I have worked with the mining industry to develop best-management practices for reducing Hg releases from non-point sources. I have also done research on the fate of trifluoroacetic acids and organophosphate pesticides during interaction with vegetation and soils. I am especially interested in the role that the atmosphere, and vegetation, play as sources, sinks and pathways for cycling of environmental contaminants.


  • Undergraduate classes NRES 212, Environmental Ethics (sophomore level),
  • NRES 210 Environmental Pollution (sophomore level),
  • NRES 433/633 (senior/graduate) Fate and Transport of Environmental Chemicals (senior/graduate),
  • NRES 467/667 Regional and Global Issues in Environmental Science (senior capstone/graduate); Graduate classes
  • NRES 765 Biogeochemical cycles,
  • NRES 720 Survivor Skills for Graduate Students, and
  • NRES 790 Atmospheric/Environmental Science Seminar 

Honors and Awards

  • Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents Researcher (2018)
  • University of Nevada-Reno Researcher of the Year (2016)
  • Researcher of the Year (2015) College of Agriculture Biotechnology and Natural Resources, University of Nevada-Reno
  • Excellent Reviewer Award for Environmental Science and Technology  2013
  • Nevada Women’s Fund Women of Achievement Award UNR 2010
  • University of Nevada Cooperative Extension UNR Faculty Award of Excellence 2009
  • University of Nevada Foundation Professor University of Nevada (2009)
  • Researcher of the Year (2001) College of Agriculture Biotechnology and Natural Resources, University of Nevada-Reno


  • Associate Editor Science of the Total Environment (2012- present)
  • Guest Editor Atmospheric Environment Invited papers on Atmospheric Hg from the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (2019-2020)
  • Editor Special Issue Recent Advances in Mercury Research (2020) Science of the Total  Environment
  • Managing Editor Western North America Mercury Synthesis (2016) Science of the Total  Environment
  • Editor Aerosol and Air Quality Research (2016- 2021)
  • Editorial Board Heliyon (2016-2019)
  • Managing Editor for Jerry Keeler Special Issue of Science of the Total Environment
  • Editorial Board Science of the Total Environment (2003-2011)
  • U. S. Dept of Agriculture National Research Initiative Review Panel 2004
  • National Science Foundation Proposal Review Panel member or Reviewer 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2021
  • EPA Graduate Fellowship Review panel 2007, 2020
  • Regular reviewer for Environmental Science and Technology, Environmental Technology Letters, Applied Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry, Chemosphere, Environmental Pollution, Atmospheric Environment, Journal of Geophysical Research, Atmosphere, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics


B.S. 1979 Guilford College, Greensboro, NC
M.S. 1983 University of NC, Chapel Hill
Ph.D. 1988 University of Arizona