Ethan Sontarp ’24



Project Title

Anthropogenic Impacts on Fluvial Organic-carbon Transport in Different Climates

Presentation Link

View Ethan's Presentation

Certificate(s): Environmental Studie

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) serves as a key component in the global carbon cycle: it transports organic carbon from land to ocean, while also facilitating the mobilization of toxic metals and environmental pollutants. The composition of DOM is highly variable and susceptible to alteration by microbial activity, chemical reactions caused by sunlight, and binding to minerals. Thus, anthropogenic disturbances to the surface water supply may modify the distribution and reactivity of its organic carbon. The comparison of DOM quality in varying climatic regions could improve our understanding of how human environmental manipulation and a changing climate exacerbate water quality issues. I designed a field and laboratory investigation of DOM, taking stream and irrigation water samples along rivers in temperate New Jersey and in the semi-arid Middle Rio Grande of New Mexico and Texas. I tested water samples for the amount of organic carbon present, the composition of various reactive chemical groups, and the similarity to source waters. I learned how to coordinate a successful fieldwork expedition to answer a research question, and I had the opportunity to connect with brilliant researchers at other institutions. I look forward to continue gaining firsthand experience with the complex global issues I learn about in class.

Internship Year


Project Category

Water and the Environment


Molecular Environmental Geochemistry Group, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey; Albaquerque, New Mexico; El Paso, Texas


Satish Myneni, Professor of Geosciences; Jianshu Duan, Ph.D. candidate, Geosciences