Daniel Obrist

( Desert Research Institute )


(775) 674-7008
  • Institution:Desert Research Institute
  • Departments: Atmospheric Biogeoscience
  • Research Fields: Mercury, Pollutants, Surface-atmosphere Exchange, Biogeochemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Disciplines: Atmospheric Chemistry and Climatology, Geochemistry, Physical Sciences
  • Location:Washoe County
  • Funding:EPSCoR - Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Space Grant - National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program


Dr. Obrist’s research interests include atmospheric chemistry, transport, and biogeochemistry of pollutants and quantification of surface exchange processes of atmospheric constituents between soils, plants, and the atmosphere. A special emphasis includes cycling of mercury in the environment and how global change and disturbances affect these processes. Current research projects include (i) systematic quantification of mercury loads in forest across the United States to assess atmospheric loadings sequestered in terrestrial systems; (ii) study of biogeochemical processes of mercury sequestered in soils and litter to assess it’s fate during organic carbon decomposition; (iii) assessment of long-range transport of atmospheric pollutants (e.g., Asian pollution events) and tropospheric oxidation of mercury at DRI’s high-elevation research Station, Storm Peak Laboratory in the Rocky Mountains; (iv) development of a novel real-time sensor based on Cavity-Ring-Down spectroscopy to measure atmospheric mercury concentrations; and (v) study of mercury depletion events in the halogen-rich atmosphere at the Dead Sea, Israel to determine oxidation pathways and kinetics for mercury oxidation in temperate areas. Other interests include effects of wildfires and global change (e.g., elevated CO2, increasing tropospheric ozone) on hydrology and carbon and nutrient cycling processes in terrestrial ecosystems.