Mark Mahalingam Baskaran

Mark Mahalingam Baskaran

Professor and Chairperson


313-577-0517 (fax)

0224 Old Main
Environmental Science and Geology
4831 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201

Curriculum vitae


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Environmental Science and Geology

Mark Mahalingam Baskaran

Dr. Mark Baskaran is a tenured full-time professor and chair in the Department of Environmental Science and Geology at Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan). He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), a premier research institution in India. After his Ph.D., he spent two years at PRL as a postdoctoral fellow before he moved to the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks, Alaska). After a year, he joined Texas A&M University (Galveston, Texas) where he taught introductory Physics and Geology courses in the Department of Marine Science, while conducting research related to atmospheric fluxes of radionuclides, mobility of radionuclides in groundwater, scavenging and particle cycling in marine environment and dating of recent sediments and carbonates. After his 11 year career as a teacher and researcher in Texas, he joined Wayne State University where he became a tenured full professor in 2007. He teaches both introductory level courses in oceanography, meteorology, and physical geology as well as upper level courses including Environmental Fate and Transport of Pollutants, Isotopes: Applications in Geological and Environmental Sciences and Environmental Geochemistry.

Professor Mark Baskaran has published over 165 peer-reviewed articles (with over 10,594 Google Scholar cumulative citations, h-index 61, as of 18th September 2023), most of which are related to the applications of isotopes as tracers and chronometer in Earth sub-systems. He edited a two-volume Handbook entitled “Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry” with forty articles contributed by eminent scholars in the field in 2011, published by Springer. He also published a monograph on radon entitled "Radon: A Tracer for Geological, Geophysical and Geochemical Studies"--Springer 2016. He spent a semester as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at Ege University (Izmir, Turkey) in 2015. He was elected to the Academy of Scholars in 2021, a life-time appointment at Wayne State University. He has given invited and plenary talks/seminars at over sixty national/international conferences, workshops, universities and research institutions around the world. He served as an associate editor for two Elsevier journals, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity and Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 

Dr. Baskaran’s research work includes all subsystems of the Earth system. He has extensively collaborated with a large number of researchers from universities and institutions around the world. His work with marine systems (estuarine, coastal, shelf and open-ocean) on the investigations of particular organic carbon export, particle cycling and remineralization and colloidal thorium scavenging in the Arctic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, North Atlantic and East Pacific were funded by several funding agencies in the U.S. including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Energy (DOE). He has been funded by NSF as a part of the U.S. GEOTRACES group in four phases (Intercalibration, section studies in the North Atlantic, East Pacific and Western Arctic Ocean). He has served as a Chief Scientist in six major oceanographic expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico and Arctic Ocean.

He convened a national workshop entitled “Recent Changes in the Biogeochemistry of the Great Lakes System” in March 2013 at Wayne State University. He also had convened a number of sessions and meetings at both national and international conferences and workshops. He served as the inaugural Chair (2017-2021) of the Devendra Lal Memorial Medal Selection Committee, a union-level award at the American Geophysical Union. He also served as a member of the National Fulbright Screening Committee (2019-2021). Currently, he serves as a member in AGU's Honors and Recognition Committee.

Dr. Baskaran resides in Troy, Michigan with his wife, Rachel Baskaran. They have three grown-up children.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Applications of short-lived radionuclides as tracers and chronometer
  • Dating of sediments, carbonates (corals, speleothem, mollusk shells, etc)
  • Investigations on the distribution of Po-210 and Pb-210 for particle cycling, particle export, and remineralization in marine environment
  • Investigations of sea ice, ice-rafted sediments and snow from the Arctic for the age of ice-rafted sediments, ice core dating and accumulation-ablation rates of sea ice
  • Radium, radon as submarine groundwater exchange tracers in freshwater systems
  • Isotope Geochemistry


Ph.D., Physical Research Laboratory, India 1985

Awards and grants

  • PI: “GEOTRACES Arctic section: Application of 210Po and 210Pb distribution at contrasting interface regimes of Western Arctic”, October 15, 2014 – September 30, 2019, National Science Foundation
  • PI: “RAPID: Investigating the incorporation of elements into ice in Lake St. Clair during extreme weather conditions: an analogy for chemical cycling in the Arctic Ocean”, Co-PI: Gi-Hoon Hong, 1 March 2019 – 29 February 2022, National Science Foundation
  • PI: “Assessment of sources and accumulation rates of sediments accumulating in a range of aquatic environments using Be-7, Pb-210 and Po-210, January 2020 – September 2020, USACE
  • Co-PI: “Sediment Yield and Dam Capacity in the Great Lakes Watershed”, PI: Carol Miller, USACE, September 2014 – April 2016
  • “Assessment of Changes in the Environmental Lead levels from Demolition of Houses from a Systematic Sampling of Air and Soil at Demolition Sites”, September 12, 2013 – 30 June 30, 2014, NextEnergy Center
  • PI: “Workshop to Assess the Recent Changes in the Biogeochemistry of the Great Lakes System (BOGLS)”, February 1, 2013 – January 31, 2014, National Science Foundation
  • PI: “Dating of Sediments from Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay”, March – December 2013, CILER (NOAA via University of Michigan)
  • PI: ‘Collaborative Research: GEOTRACES – 210Po and 210Pb distribution at Eastern Pacific Interface Regimes”, August 1, 2012 – July 31, 2015 – National Science Foundation
  • Co-PI: “Sediment Yield and Dam Capacity in the Great Lakes Watershed: Reconnaissance and Laboratory Analysis”, PI: Carol Miller, USACE, September 2010 – August 2012
  • PI: “Acquisition of Additional Counting Instruments for Radiochemical Research at Wayne State University”, August 31, 2010 – August 31, 2011 – National Science Foundation
  • PI: “Collaborative Research: GEOTRACES-Application of 210Pb and 210Po distribution at North Atlantic Interface regimes”, April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2014 - National Science Foundation
  • PI: “Geochronological study of sediment cores using excess Pb-210”, 12 November 2021 – 31 May 2022, Anchor QEA, Seattle, Washington
  • PI: “Investigation of Rn-222 and its progeny (Pb-210 and Po-210) in Environmental samples in proximity to the gas development industry in Southern Pennsylvania,” 21 February 2021 – 20 February 2023, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pennsylvania

Selected publications

Since 2019:

  • Niedermiller, J. and M. Baskaran, 2019. Comparison of the scavenging intensity, remineralization and residence time of 210Po and 210Pb at key zones (biotic, sediment-water and hydrothermal) along the East Pacific GEOTRACES transect. J. Environ. Radioact. 198, 165-188
  • Kurz, A.Y., J.D. Blum, S.P. Washburn, M. Baskaran, 2019. Changes in the mercury isotopic composition of sediments from a remote alpine lake in Wyoming, USA. Science of the Total Environment 669, 973-982
  • Wang, Jinlong, Q. Zhong, M. Baskaran and J.Z. Du, 2019. Investigations on the time-series partitioning of 210Pb, 207Bi and 210Po between marine particles and solution under different salinity and pH conditions. Chem. Geology 528 (2019) 119275
  • Howard, J., J. Weyhrauch, G. Loriaux, B. Schultz and M. Baskaran, 2019. Contributions of artifactual materials to the toxicity of anthropogenic soils and street dusts in a highly urbanized terrain. Environmental Pollution 255 (2029) 113350
  • Du, J., M. Baskaran and J. Du, 2019. Atmospheric deposition of 7Be, 210Pb and 210Po during typhoons and thunderstorm in Shanghai, China and global data synthesis. Science China Earth Sciences, 62,
  • Kim, T.-J., G.H. Hong, D.G. Kim and M. Baskaran, 2019. Iron fertilization with enhanced phytoplankton productivity under minimal sulfur compounds and grazing control analysis in HNLC region. American Journal of Climate Change 8, 14-39
  • Bam, W., K. Maiti, M. Baskaran, K. Krupp, P.J. Lam and Y. Xiang, 2020. Variability of 210Pb and 210Po partition coefficients (Kd) along the US GEOTRCES Arctic Transect. Marine Chemistry 219(2020)103749
  • Baustian, M., Y. M. Brooks, M. Baskaran, P.R. Leavitt, B. Liu, N. Ostrom, R.J. Stevenson and J.B. Jose, 2020. Paleo-environmental evidence of ecosystem change in Lake St. Clair region of Laurentian Great Lakes basin: contrasting responses to land-use change and invasive mussels. J. Paleolimnology
  • Baskaran, M., R. Mudbidre and L. Schweitzer, 2020. Quantification of Po-210 and Pb-210 as tracer of sediment resuspension rate in a shallow riverine system: case study from Southeast Michigan, USA. Journal Environmental Radioactivity,
  • Wang, J., M. Baskaran, A. Kumar, et al., 2020. Reconstruction of temporal variations of metal concentrations using radiochronology (239+240Pu and 137Cs) in sediments from Kizilirmak River, Turkey. J. Paleolimnology 10.1007/s10933-020-00154-W
  • Behbehani, A., S. Uddin and M. Baskaran, 2020. 210Po concentration in different size fractions of aerosol likely contribution from industrial sources. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 222 (2020) 106323
  • Knight, C.A., M. Baskaran, M.J. Bunting, M. Champagne, M.D. Potts, D. Wahl, J. Wanket and J.J. Battles, 2021. Linking modern pollen accumulation rates to biomass: Quantitative vegetation reconstruction in the western Klamath Mountains, NW California, USA. The Holocene 1-16, doi: 10.1177/0959683620988038
  • Zhang, F., Jinlong Wang, M. Baskaran, Q. Zhong, Y. Wang, J. Paatero and J.Z. Du, 2021. A global dataset of atmospheric 7Be and 210Pb measurements: annual air concentration and depositional flux. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 13, 296-2994
  • Baskaran, M. and K. Krupp, 2021. Novel application of 210Po-210Pb disequilibria to date snow, melt pond, ice core, and ice-rafted sediments in the Arctic Ocean. Front. Mar. Sci. 8:692631, doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.692631
  • Bam, W., K. Maiti and M. Baskaran, 2021. 210Po and 210Pb as tracers of particle cycling and export in the Western Arctic Ocean. Front. Mar. Sci. 8:697444, doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.697444
  • Baskaran, M., K. Krupp, W. Bam and K. Maiti, 2022. Climate change impacts to the Arctic Ocean revealed from high resolution GEOTRACES 210Po-210Pb-226Ra disequilibria studies. Journal of Geophysical Research:Oceans, 127, e2021JC018359,
  • Denny, D., M.Baskaran, C. Walsh and V. Ibrahim, 2022. Investigation of self-attenuation of 210Pb (46 keV) gamma ray in sediment, certified reference material and high-density minerals: Implcation to precise measurement of 210Pb. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 249 (2022) 106888
  • Denny, M., M. Baskaran, S. Burdick, C. Tummula and T. Dittrich, 2022. Investigation of pollutant metals in road dust in a post-industrial city: Case study from Detroit, Michigan. Front. in Environ. Sci. 10:974237, doi:10.3389/fenvs2022.974237
  • Wang, J., M. Baskaran, N. Cukrov and J.Z. Du, 2022. Geochemical mobility of 137Cs in marine environments based on laboratory and field studies. Chemical Geology 614 (2022) 121179
  • Denny, M. and M. Baskaran, 2023. Investigation of chemical partitioning of 7Be, 210Pb and 137Cs and novel dating of road sediment by 210Po:210Pb disequilibrium method

Citation index

Courses taught by Mark Mahalingam Baskaran

Winter Term 2024

Fall Term 2023

Winter Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022