UMass Boston

Karen Johannesson

SFE - Dean's Office


PhD, Hydrology and Hydrogeology, Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada
MS, Geology and Geophysics, Boston College
BS, Geology, University of New Hampshire

Areas of Expertise

Environmental geochemistry, biogeochemistry, trace element speciation, geochemical modeling, chemical hydrogeology, reaction path and reactive transport modeling, OCE-1850768: Collaborative Research: How and why eNd tracks ocean circulation. Project Location: University of Massachusetts Boston. National Science Foundation, Chemical Oceanography Program and Marine Geology and Geophysics Program, EAR-1714030: Quantifying thioarsenate formation constants to advance understanding of arsenic biogeochemical cycling in anoxic waters. Project Location: University of Massachusetts Boston. National Science Foundation, Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry Program.

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

Karen Johannesson is a professor of geochemistry in the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston as well as in the Intercampus Marine Sciences Graduate Program of the University of Massachusetts System. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and another 11 peer-reviewed book chapters. She also edited a book “Rare Earth Elements in Groundwater Flow Systems” that was published by Springer in 2005. From 2007 to 2019 she was a professor of geochemistry and chemical hydrogeology at Tulane University in New Orleans where she was also the Cochran Family Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences from 2015 until 2019.

Since 2016 Professor Johannesson has served as an Editor-in-Chief of the journal Chemical Geology. She has also served as an associate editor for the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta since 2005 and was an associate editor for the American Mineralogist from 2014 until 2017. Professor Johannesson is a fellow of the Geochemical Society, the European Association of Geochemistry, the International Association of GeoChemistry, and the Geological Society of America. In 2015 she was awarded the Clair C. Patterson Medal of the Geochemical Society in recognition of her “…innovative breakthrough of fundamental significance in environmental geochemistry” related to her research on the aqueous geochemistry of lanthanide series elements in the environment.

Her research focuses on the chemical speciation and biogeochemical cycling of trace elements in the environment. She has worked extensively in groundwater flow systems over the years, and more recently in estuarine and coastal marine systems. She is particularly interested in how microbial processes influence the mobilization and transport of trace elements in environmental systems. She studies these processes with her graduate students using innovative field studies, state-of-the-art analytical methods, and by constructing numerical models to simulate microbial respiration, chemical speciation, and transport of reactive solutes in environmental systems. Please see below Karen's Google Scholar page: