mae gustin

Mae Gustin

Professor, Environmental Geochemistry


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


Publications are listed below.

Book Chapter(s)

Exchange of Mercury between the Atmosphere and Terrestrial Ecosystems


Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology of Mercury Guangliang Liu, Prof. Yong Cai and Prof. Nelson O’Driscoll eds. John Wiley and Sons.

Gustin, M.S.


Native non-game fishes in the Truckee River: Are barriers and patterns of genetic structure related?


Science of the Total Environment, 563-564, 221-236

Peacock, M. M., Gustin, M. S., Pizzaro-Barraza, C., Kirchoff, V., Robinson, M. L., Loux, T.

Viewpoint: Importance of integration and implementation of emerging and future mercury research into the Minamata Convention.


Environmental Science and Technology, 50(6), 2767-2730

Gustin, M. S., Evers, D., Bank, M., Hammerschmidt, C., Pierce, A., Basu, N., Blum, J., Bustamante, P., Chen, C., Driscoll, C., Horvat, M., Jaffe, D., Pacyna, J., Pirrone, N., Selin, N.

Gas-exchange chamber analysis of elemental mercury deposition/emission,


Chemosphere, 131: 209-216.

Miller, M.B., Gustin, M.S.

Identification of sources contributing to PM2.5 and ozone at Great Basin National Park, Nevada, US


Science of the Total Environment 530-531: 505-518 doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.03.091

VanCuren R , Gustin M.S.

Measuring and modeling mercury in the atmosphere: A critical review, Invited paper- Special Issue of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.


Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry, 15: 5697-2015. doi: 10.5194/acp-15-5697-2015.

Gustin, M. S. , Amos, H. A, Huang, J., Miller, M.B., Heidecorn

The Nevada Rural Ozone Initiative (NVROI): Insights to Understanding Air Pollution in Complex Terrain


Science of the Total Environment 530-531: 453-454 doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015,03.046.

Gustin M.S. , Fine R., Miller M.B., Jaffe D.A., Burley J.

A review of Passive sampling systems for ambient air mercury measurements


Invited paper for Special Issue on Research and Technology Development at the Leading Edge of the Field of Passive Sampling Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 16, 374-392

Huang J., Lyman S.N., Stamenkovic Hartman J., Gustin M.S.

Application of tree rings [dendrochemistry] for detecting historical trends in air Hg concentrations across multiple scales



Wright, G., Woodward, C., Peri, L., Weisberg, P., Gustin, M. S.

Building upon the conceptual model for soil mercury flux: Evidence of a link between moisture evaporation and Hg evasion.


Water Air Soil Pollution, 224, 1744.

Briggs, C., Gustin, M. S.

Comparison of Reactive Mercury Measurements Made with KCl-coated Denuders, Nylon Membranes, and Cation Exchange Membranes.


Environmental Science and Technology, 47, 7307-7316.

Huang, J., Miller, M., Weiss-Penzias, P., Gustin, M. S.

Investigation of mercury deposition and potential sources at six sites from the Pacific Coast to the Great Basin, USA.


Science of the Total Environment, 470-471C, 1099-1113.

Wright, G., Weiss-Penzias, P., Gustin, M. S

Evidence for a Free Troposphere Source of Mercury in Wet Deposition in the Western United States.


Environmental Science and Technology, 46, 6621-6629

Huang, J., Gustin, M. S.

Investigating sources of gaseous oxidized mercury in dry deposition at three sites across Florida, USA.


Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2012; 12: 9201-9219

Gustin MS, Weiss-Penzias PS, Peterson C.

A New Technique for Quantification of Elemental Hg in Mine Wastes and Its Implications for Mercury Evasion Into the Atmosphere


Environmental Science and Technology 45 (2) 412-417.

Jew, Adam; Kim, Christopher; Rytuba, James; Gustin, Mae; Brown, Gordon

Measurement of surface mercury fluxes at active industrial gold mines in Nevada (USA)


The Science of the Total Environment 409 514-522

Eckley CS, Gustin M, Miller MB, Marsik F.

Nonpoint source Hg emissions from active industrial gold mines-influential variables and annual emission estimates.


Environmental Science and Technology 45 (2) 392-399

Eckley CS, Gustin M, Miller MB, Marsik F.

Development and use of passive samplers for determining reactive gaseous mercury concentrations.


Atmospheric Environment, 44, 246-252.

Lyman, S., Gustin, M. S., Prestbo, E.

Laboratory investigation of Hg release from flue gas desulfurization products.


Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 4012-4018

Gustin, M. S., Ladwig, K.

Measurement-Based Models for Estimating Mercury Flux from Soils.


Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 8522-8588.

Gustin, M. S.

Reducing the uncertainty in measurement and understanding of mercury in the atmosphere.


Environmental Science and Technology-News Feature, 44, 2222-2227.

Gustin, M. S., Jaffe, D.

The influence of dynamic chamber design and operating parameters on calculated surface-to-air mercury fluxes Atmospheric Environment.


Atmospheric Environment, 44, 194-203.

Eckley, C., Gustin, M. S., Lin, J., Li, X., Miller, M.

Atmospheric mercury concentrations and air speciation measured from 2004 to 2007 in Reno, NV, USA.


Atmospheric Environment, 43, 4646-4654.

Peterson, C., Gustin, M. S., Lyman, S. N.

Non-stomatal versus stomatal foliar mercury exchange


Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 1367-1372..

Stamenkovic, J., Gustin, M. S.

An update on our understand of the role of natural sources and sinks in the biogeochemical cycle of Hg


Applied Geochemistry, 23, 482-493

Gustin, M. S., Weisberg, P. J., Lindberg, S.

Determination of the potential for release of mercury from combustion product amended soils –I. Simulations of beneficial use


Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, 58, 673-683.

Gustin, M. S., Ericksen, J., Fernandez, G. C

Lay or Popular Publications

Women in science: a Q&A with CABNR pet food mercury researchers


Nevada Today

Gustin, M.S., Chichester, L., Dunham-Cheatham, S., Luippold, A., and Vargas Estrada M.

Professor Gustin and fellow researchers Chichester, Dunham-Cheatham, Luippold and Vargas-Estrada talk about their work and answer related questions...