Joseph Graney


Professor of Geology

PhD, 1994

University of Michigan


Office: Science 1, Room 264

Telephone:  (607) 777-6347

Email address:


Research Interests:

My research and teaching melds field and laboratory work. My approach entails collection of samples on spatial and temporal scales coupled with analysis using modern analytical techniques to trace natural and anthropogenic geochemical processes. Check out the Environmental Geology portion of our program information on how my programs mesh with other faculty members' interests within the Department of Geological Sciences at Binghamton University.


Environmental geochemistry continues to be the theme of my research interests, which involve development and application of methods for recognition of anthropogenic perturbations to natural systems. Present research activities include work coordinated through the Center for Integrated Watershed Studies (CIWS) on projects monitoring ecosystem scale processes within watersheds in urban, rural and mixed land use environments. This work includes collaborative studies with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition to assess the effects of nutrients and trace metals generated in the Southern Tier of New York on ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay. These projects mesh physical and chemical techniques for monitoring changes in water quality parameters with watershed models. The Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers merge in downtown Binghamton (check out the photo near the welcome message to the Geological Sciences Department website), so the Binghamton area is an ideal place to study the headwater regions of a major river basin!

Monitoring studies also take place on campus! Karen Salvage (Geology), Weixing Zhu (Biology) and I recently received NSF funding to establish instrumentation for long term monitoring within the Binghamton University Nature Preserve. This study area is used as a teaching, training and research tool for watershed based studies. Undergraduate and graduate students are performing field studies to characterize the geology and hydrology of the area; selecting, siting, and testing atmosphere and hydrosphere monitoring equipment, and performing ongoing automated and manual data collection and analysis. Check out The Campus Watershed for an overview.

Much of my past and present research also involves the development of techniques to trace metal pollution, specifically lead and other metals, to their source(s). Project support from the EPA has allowed for projects that include comparison between types of analytical instrumentation to measure Pb isotope ratios as well as evaluation of ICP-MS methodologies for atmospheric aerosol analysis. Samples for this work involved field studies in several locations. One in the Detroit, Michigan area involved measuring Hg and other trace elements in precipitation, ambient aerosols, dry deposition to surrogate surfaces, runoff from parking lots, and the influent and effluent from sewage treatment plants. Another involved collecting samples in southern Florida to study the importance of urban sources to the atmospheric deposition of trace metals including mercury to the Everglades. ESEM image of sulfate aerosols on teflon filter substrate.

The Binghamton area provides many opportunities to work on environmental problems at a local scale that lead to broader scale applications. For example, in the Fall of 2000, several of my graduate students and I began work on a project near Hillcrest. Hillcrest is an area located 10 miles northeast of the Binghamton University campus where a probable childhood cancer cluster is located. We have been assessing the impacts of activities in the area from a geochemical perspective by examining: 1) Hg Emissions - Local versus Regional Sources and Their Impacts 2) Determining the Past Deposition Record and Sources of Heavy Metals using Pond Sediments 3) Determining Present Day Fluxes and Sources of Heavy Metals in Surface Water Runoff Visit the Binghamton Press and Sun Article on Nature Preserve Grant, May 1st, 2000 for more information. The work on this project has lead to further research opportunities with the Defense Logistics Agency at other locations. These watershed, Pb isotope, mercury, and trace metal monitoring studies mesh well with my future plans for work on projects involving source apportionment related to power plant emissions. All of these past and present research efforts have involved multi-disciplinary teams of scientists, a method that I find to be integral and satisfying for solving complex problems.


Graduate Students:

Mikki Smith, MS candidate (expected 2015)

Jonathan Schmitkons, PhD candidate (expected 2016)

Kristina Nelson, MS candidate (expected 2016)

David Saba, MS candidate (expected 2016)



In the fall term, I offer Environmental Hydrology.  This course is crosslisted between Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies.  In the spring term I offer Environmental Measurements. This course was designed for fourth year and beginning graduate students and involves sampling, analysis, and interpretation of results acquired from environmental samples. 


Other Interests:

My past research projects have included field and laboratory studies of precious-metal mineralization in fossil geothermal systems within volcanic/lacustrine environments; and use of lead isotopes and trace metals as tracers of anthropogenic pollution as recorded in lake sediments. Past research projects included use of gas ratio mass spectrometers to analyze the stable isotope ratios of C, O, H, and S. I have also used quadrupole mass spectrometry for determining gas concentrations. Much of this work was developmental and involved devising analytical techniques to quantitatively sample micromoles of water and gas from fluid inclusions.


Select publications:

  • Johnson*, J.D., Graney, J.R., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W. (2015). Identification and quantification of basin brine and road salt sources in watersheds along the New York / Pennsylvania border, USA. Applied Geochemistry. v. 60, 37-50.
  • Stewart, B.W., Chapman, E.C., Capo, R.C., Johnson*, J.D., Graney, J.R., Kirby, C.S., Schroeder, K.T. (2015). Origin of brines, salts and carbonate from shales of the Marcellus Formation: Evidence from geochemical and Sr isotope study of sequentially extracted fluids. Applied Geochemistry. v. 60, 78-88.
  • Phan, T.T., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Graney, J.R., Johnson, J.D., Sharma, S., Toro, J. (2015). Trace metal distribution and mobility in drill cuttings and produced waters from Marcellus shale gas extraction: uranium, arsenic, barium. Applied Geochemistry v. 60, 89-103.
  • Johnson*, J.D., Graney, J.R., (2015). Fingerprinting Marcellus Shale waste products from Pb isotope and trace metal perspectives. Applied Geochemistry. v. 60, 104-155.
  • *Kearney MA, Zhu W, Graney J. (2013) Inorganic nitrogen dynamics in an urban constructed wetland under base-flow and storm-flow conditions. Ecological Engineering 60: 183-191.
  • Graney, J.R. and Landis, M.S. (2013) Coupling meteorology, metal concentrations and Pb isotopes for source attribution in archived precipitation samples, Science of the Total Environment 448: 141-150.
  • Graney, J. R., Landis, M.S. and Krupa, S. (2012) Coupling lead isotopes and element concentrations in epiphytic lichens to track sources of air emissions in the Athasbasca Oil Sands Region in "Alberta Oil Sands: Energy, Industry and the Environment" Elsevier, Developments In Environmental Science v. 11 343 – 372.
  • E. S. Edgerton, J. M. Fort, K. Baumann, J.R. Graney, M.S. Landis, S. Berryman and S. Krupa (2012) Method for Extraction and Multi-element Analysis of Hypogymnia Physodes Samples from the Athabasca Oil Sands Region in"Alberta Oil Sands: Energy, Industry and the Environment" Elsevier, Developments In Environmental Science v. 11 315 – 342.
  • M.S. Landis, J.P. Pancras, J.R. Graney, R.K. Stevens, K.E. Percy and S. Krupa (2012) Receptor Modeling of Epiphytic Lichens to Elucidate the Sources and Spatial Distribution of Inorganic Air Pollution in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region in"Alberta Oil Sands: Energy, Industry and the Environment" Elsevier, Developments In Environmental Science v. 11 427 – 467.
  • E. S. Edgerton, J. Fort, K. Baumann, S. Berryman, J. Graney, M.S. Landis, S. Krupa (2010) Multi-Element Analysis of Epiphytic Lichen Samples from the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. Journal of the Air Waste Management Association, Conference Proceedings
  • Graney, J. Salvage, K. Zhu, W. (2008) A Watershed Based Approach to Environmental Education Integrating Ecology, Hydrology and Geochemistry. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education v. 138, 22-28.
  • Zhu, W., Graney, J. and Salvage, K. (2008) Land-use Impact on Water Pollution: Elevated Pollutant Input and Reduced Pollutant Retention. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education v. 138, 15-21.
  • Yi, S.K, Totten, L.A., Thota, S., Yan, S., Offenberg, J.H., Eisenreich, S.J., Graney, J.R. and Holsen, T.M. (2006) Atmospheric dry deposition of trace elements measured around the urban and industrially impacted NY-NJ harbor. Atmospheric Environment, v. 40, 6626-6637.
  • Gildemeister, A.E., Graney, J, and Keeler, G.J. (2005) Source proximity reflected in spatial and temporal variability in particle and vapor phase Hg concentrations in Detroit, MI. Atmospheric Environment, v. 39, 353-358.

Last Updated: 10/6/15