Tao Ji

Investigating groundwater discharge into the Great Lakes and groundwater's relation to water quality on the beaches

Groundwater discharge is considered a significant pathway for nutrients, heavy metals, and other contaminants into the Great Lakes, which leads to increased fecal pollution and algal fouling at the beaches of the Great Lakes. The traditional approach of focusing on point pollution sources has been insufficient in addressing the degrading beach water quality as non-point sources. As a result, we need to regard the processes (hydrological, biogeochemical, and microbial) underlying the fate of the pollutants.

I am now a part of the Great Lake Beaches Research Project with Dr. Clare Robinson. The goal of this project is to develop a fundamental understanding of the contribution of groundwater and the way in which the interacting hydrological, biogeochemical, and microbial processes occurring near the sediment-water interface impact fecal and nutrient pollution at beaches of the Great Lakes. My work is to design and implement field sampling and monitoring systems for quantifying groundwater discharge to the Great Lakes, on a large scale.

Personal Background

I obtained my bachelor's degree from China University of Geosciences, where I was endowed with fundamental information and practical skills in Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering. I then continued my studies in State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research at East China Normal University. My research was concentrated on the examination of Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD) in the coastal zones via geochemical and physical methods. Here, I found fulfillment in my research, which reinforced my determination to further my education in a research-focused environment. I joined the RESTORE group in August 2013.

Travel and Awards

  • ECNU Outstanding Master's Thesis - 2013
  • Awarded Shanghai Outstanding Graduate - 2013
  • Awarded China National scholarship - 2012
  • Awarded "Excellent Student Leader of East China Normal University" - 2011
  • Awarded ECNU University Scholarship - 2009-2012
  • Participated in the 8th Sino-German Summer School: "Short and Long-term Variability of Biogeochemical Cycles in the Ocean-atmosphere Climate System: Imprints on Biological and Geological Processes" in Germany - 2012
  • Participated in the 5th China-Japan-Korea IMBER (International Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research) Symposium and Training in Shanghai - 2012


Articles published or accepted in refereed journals

Tao Ji, Jinzhou Du, Willard S Moore, Guosen Zhang, Ni Su and Jing Zhang (2013) Nutrient inputs to a Lagoon through submarine groundwater discharge: the case of Laoye Lagoon, Hainan, China, Journal of Marine Systems, 111-112:253-262

Ni Su, Jinzhou Du, Tao Ji, Jing Zhang, 226Ra, and 228Ra (2010) Tracer study on nutrient transport in east coastal waters of Hainan Island, China, Water Science and Engineering,4(2): 157-169