Patrick L. Brezonik

Patrick L. Brezonik

Patrick L. Brezonik

Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering


Civil Engineering Building
Room 260
500 Pillsbury Drive Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455
  • B.S., 1963, Chemistry, Marquette University
  • M.S., 1965, Water Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Ph.D., 1968, Water Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Professional Background
  • Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor, Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, 1966-81
  • Guest Professor, EAWAG-Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland, 1971-72 and summer, 1980
  • Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1981-2010.
  • Program Director for Environmental Engineering, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, 2004-2007
Research Interests

Research during my academic career focused on the impacts of human activity on water quality, including the biogeochemical cycles of important elements such as nitrogen and phosphorus in large natural systems (watersheds and lakes) and the behavior of trace metal contaminants in such systems. Field and laboratory studies, including experimental manipulations in large systems, were emphasized. Recent research projects were in four main areas: (1) mercury biogeochemistry; (2) applications of remote sensing (mainly satellite imagery) to evaluate lake quality; (3) coupled biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in urban and agricultural systems; and (4) small-scale nutrient cycling processes in soil-sediment-water systems. I continue to have small active research programs in the first two areas, but I do not accept graduate students for advising anymore. My mercury research has been concerned with chemical transformations of mercury in wetland-lake ecosystems, with emphasis on photochemical processes and interactions between mercury forms and natural organic matter (humic substances) in these water bodies. My work in remote sensing has focused on regional analyses and long-term trend assessments of water clarity and water quality conditions in lakes by use of Landsat and newer satellite platforms. Much of my past research was conducted through large multi-disciplinary projects. For example, the experimental acidification of a whole lake in northern Wisconsin was done in cooperation with limnologists, fisheries biologists, and hydrologists from several institutions and agencies, and watershed-level research in the Minnesota River Basin was conducted with colleagues from several departments at the University of Minnesota.


Brezonik, P. L. and W. A. Arnold. 2011. Water Chemistry: An Introduction to the Chemistry of Natural and Engineered Aquatic Systems, Oxford University Press, New York, 782 p.

Brezonik, P. L. 1994. Chemical Kinetics and Process Dynamics in Aquatic Systems. Lewis Publ.-CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 754 p.

Selected Publications

Olmanson, L. G., P. L. Brezonik and M. E. Bauer. 2011. Evaluation of medium to low resolution satellite imagery for regional lake water quality assessments. Water Resources Res. DOI: 10.1029/2011WR011005, 2011.

Khwaja, A. R., P. R. Bloom and P. L. Brezonik. 2010. Binding strength of methylmercury to aquatic NOM. Environ. Sci. Technol. 44: 6151-6156.

Dadaser-Celik, F., J. S. Coggins, P. L. Brezonik, and H. G. Stefan. 2009. The projected costs and benefits of water diversion to and from the Sultan Marshes (Turkey). Ecol. Econ. 68: 1496-1506.

Dadaser-Celik, F., P. L. Brezonik, and H. G. Stefan. 2008. Agricultural and environmental changes after irrigation management transfer in the Develi Basin, Turkey. Irrig. Drainage Syst. 22: 47-66.

Olmanson, L. G., M. E. Bauer, and P. L. Brezonik. 2008. A 20-year Landsat record of water clarity in Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. Remote Sens. Environ. 112: 4086-97.

Rockne, K. J. and P. L. Brezonik. 2006. Nutrient removal in a cold-region wastewater stabilization pond: importance of ammonia volatilization. J. Environ. Eng. (ASCE) 132 (4): 451-459.

Hines, N. A. and P. L. Brezonik. 2007. Input-output analysis of mercury forms for a small lake in northern Minnesota. Biogeochem. 84: 265-84.

Khwaja, A. R. P. R. Bloom, and P. L. Brezonik. 2006. Binding constants of divalent mercury (Hg2+) in soil humic acids and soil organic matter. Env. Sci. Technol. 40: 844-849.

Menken, K., P. L. Brezonik, and M. E. Bauer. 2006. Influence of chlorophyll and humic color on reflectance spectra of lakes: implications for measurement of lake-water properties by remote sensing. Lake Reserv. Manage. 22: 179-190.

Pilgrim, K. M. and P. L. Brezonik. 2005. Treatment of lake inflows with alum for phosphorus removal. Lake Reserv. Manage. 21: 1-11.

Fang, F., K. W. Easter, and P. L. Brezonik. 2005. Point-nonpoint source water quality trading: a case study in the Minnesota River basin. J. Am. Wat. Resources Assoc. 41: 645-58.

Brezonik, P. L., K. Menken, and M. E. Bauer. 2005. Landsat-based remote sensing of lake water quality characteristics, including chlorophyll and colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM). Lake Reserv. Manage. 21: 373-382.

Brezonik, P. L., C. E. Mach, and C. J. Sampson. 2003. Geochemical controls for Al, Fe, Mn, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn during experimental acidification and recovery of Little Rock Lake, Wis., U.S.A. Biogeochem. 62: 119-143.

Fang, F., P. L. Brezonik, D. J. Mulla, and L. K. Hatch. 2002. Estimating runoff phosphorus loss in the Minnesota River Basin. J. Env. Qual. 31: 1918-1929.

Stadelmann, T. H. and P. L. Brezonik. 2002. Analysis and predictive models of stormwater runoff volumes, loads, and pollutant concentrations from watersheds in the Twin Cities (Minnesota, USA) metropolitan area. Water Res. 36: 1743-1757.

Kloiber, S. M., P. L. Brezonik, L. G. Olmanson, and M. E. Bauer. 2002. A procedure for regional lake water clarity assessment using Landsat multispectral data. Remote Sens. Environ. 82: 38-47.

Kloiber, S. M., P. L. Brezonik, and M. E. Bauer. 2002. Application of Landsat imagery to regional-scale assessments of lake clarity. Water Research 36: 4330-4340.

Fang, F., P. L. Brezonik, D. J. Mulla, and L. K. Hatch. 2002. Estimating runoff phosphorus loss in the Minnesota River Basin. J. Env. Qual. 31: 1918-29.

Urban, N. R., C. J. Sampson, P. L. Brezonik, and L. A. Baker. 2001. Sulfur cycling in the water column of Little Rock Lake, Wisconsin. Biogeochem. 52: 41-77.<

Stadelmann, T. H. and P. L. Brezonik. 2001. Seasonal patterns of chlorophyll a and Secchi disk transparency in lakes of east-central Minnesota: implications for design of ground- and satellite-based monitoring programs. Lake Reserv. Manage. 17: 299-314.