Man with tie, beard and glasses

1975 Willow Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1103

Phone: 608-262-0905

James Hurley

Institute Director

What I do at Sea Grant

I became director of Wisconsin Sea Grant on May 1, 2012. Throughout my time with Sea Grant, I have chaired several regional and national committees. Most recently, I served a two-year term as president of the Sea Grant Association, from 2017 to 2019. I also served on the 2018-22 Sea Grant National Strategic Planning Committee.

In addition to my commitment to Sea Grant, I hold a 25 percent faculty appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I chair the graduate program in Environmental Chemistry and Technology and maintain an active research program as well as teaching graduate-level courses. I have published more than 90 research articles in my field–I earned a Ph.D. in water chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My recent research has centered on cycling of mercury in the Great Lakes, especially with regard to factors affecting bioaccumulation in plankton and fish. I use stable isotopic techniques to study transport and transformations of trace metals in the environment. I was a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, which developed a risk assessment for U.S. mercury emissions in 2011 and co-chair of the Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant in 2006.

I am also the director of the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute. Like Sea Grant, it is a federal-state partnership that supports research, outreach and education in the service of sustainable use of our state’s natural resources.

Year Joined

B.S., Nasson College, chemistry and environmental science

M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, water chemistry

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, water chemistry

Awards, Honors and Memberships
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, 2017
  • Sea Grant Association President’s Award for Outstanding Service, 2014
  • Distinguished Service Award, American Water Resources Association, Wisconsin Chapter, 2009
  • Assembly of Sea Grant Extension Program Leaders Chairman’s Award, 2006
  • Steve Serns Award for Outstanding Research, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2001
  • Janssen, S.E., R.F. Lepak, M.T. Tate, J. Ogorek, J.F. DeWild; C.L. Babiarz, J.P. Hurley and D.P. Krabbenhoft. 2019. Rapid Pre-Concentration of Mercury in Solids and Water for Isotopic Analysis. Analytica Chimica Acta (in press).
  • Yin, R., Z. Guo, L. Hu, W. Liu, J.P. Hurley, R.F. Lepak, T. Lin, X. Feng and X. Li. 2018. Mercury Inputs to Chinese Marginal Seas – Impact of Industrialization and Development of China. Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans doi:10.1029/2017JC013691
  • Lepak, R.F., S.E. Janssen, R. Yin, D.P. Krabbenhoft, J.M. Ogorek, J.F. DeWild, M.T. Tate and J.P. Hurley. 2018. Factors Affecting Mercury Stable Isotopic Distribution in Piscivorous Fish of the Great Lakes. Environmental Science and Technology. 52:2768–2776. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06120
  • Yin, R., W. Zhang, G. Sun, Z. Feng, J.P. Hurley, L. Yang, L. Shang and X. Feng. 2017. Mercury risk in poultry in the Wanshan Mercury Mine, China. Environmental Pollution. 230:810-816. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2017.07.027
  • Yin, R., L. Xu, R.F. Lepak, J. P. Hurley, B. Lehmann, J. Mao, X. Feng, and R. Hu. 2017. Anomalous mercury enrichment in Early Cambrian black shales of South China: Mercury isotopes indicate a seawater source. Chemical Geology. 467:159-167. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2017.08.010.
  • Xu, C., R. Yin, J. Peng, J.P. Hurley, R.F. Lepak, J. Gao, X. Feng, R. Hu, and X. Bi. 2017. Mercury isotope constraints on the source for sediment-hosted lead-zinc deposits in the Changdu area, southwestern China. Mineralium Deposita. 23 May 2017:1-14. doi:10.1007/s00126-017-0743-7.
  • Rothenberg, S.E., R. Yin, J.P. Hurley, D.P. Krabbenhoft, Y. Ismawati, C. Hong and A. Donohue. 2017. Stable Mercury Isotopes in Polished Rice (Oryza sativa L.) and Hair from Rice Consumers. Environmental Science and Technology. 51:6480-6488. doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b01039.
  • Grasby, S.E., W. Shen, R. Yin, J.D. Gleason, J.D. Blum, R.F. Lepak, J.P Hurley and B. Beauchamp. 2017. Isotopic signatures of mercury contamination in latest Permian oceans. Geology 45: 55-58. doi:10.1130/G38487.1.
  • Yin R., D.P. Krabbenhoft, B.A. Bergquist, W. Zheng, R.F. Lepak and J.P. Hurley. 2016. Effects of Mercury and Thallium Concentrations on High Precision Determination of Mercury Isotope Composition by Neptune Plus Multiple Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, doi:10.1039/C6JA00107F.
  • Yin R., X. Feng, J.P. Hurley, D.P. Krabbenhoft, R.F. Lepak, S. Kang, H. Yang and X. Li. 2016. Historical Records of Mercury Stable Isotopes in Sediments of Tibetan Lakes. Scientific Reports. 6:23332. doi:10.1038/srep23332
  • Yin R., X. Feng, J.P. Hurley, D.P. Krabbenhoft, R.F. Lepak, R.Z. Hu, Q. Zhang, Z.G. Li, and X.W. Bi. 2016. Mercury Isotopes as Proxies to Identify Sources and Environmental Impacts of Mercury in Sphalerites. Scientific Reports. 6:18686. doi:10.1038/srep23332
  • Yin R., R.F. Lepak, D.P. Krabbenhoft and J.P. Hurley. 2016. Sedimentary Records of Mercury Stable Isotopes in Lake Michigan. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene1: 000086. doi:10.12952/journal.elementa.000086
  • Yin, R., C. Gu, X. Feng, J.P. Hurley, D.P. Krabbenhoft, R.F. Lepak, W. Zhu, L. Zheng, and T. Hu. 2016. Distribution and Geochemical Speciation of Soil Mercury in Wanshan Hg Mine: Effects of Cultivation. 272:32-38. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.03.003
  • Lepak, R.F., R. Yin, R., D.P Krabbenhoft, J.M. Ogorek, J.F. DeWild, T.M. Holsen, and J.P. Hurley. 2015. Use of Stable Isotope Signatures to Determine Mercury Sources in the Great Lakes. Environmental Science and Technology Letters 2:335–341. doi:10.1021/acs.estlett.5b00277
  • Lepak, R.F. DP. Krabbenhoft, J.M. Ogorek, M.T. Tate, H.A. Bootsma and J.P. Hurley. 2015. Influence of Cladophora-Quagga Mussel Assemblages on Nearshore Methylmercury Dynamics in Lake Michigan. Environmental Science and Technology. 49:7606–7613. doi:10.1021/es506253v
  • Rolfhus, K.R., J.P. Hurley, R.A. Bodaly and G. Perrine. 2015. Production and Retention of Methylmercury in Inundated Boreal Forest Soils. Environmental Science and Technology 49:3482–3489. doi:10.1021/es505398z.
  • Chadwick, S.P., C.L. Babiarz, J.P. Hurley and D.E. Armstrong. 2013. Importance of Hypolimnetic Cycling in Aging of "New" Mercury in a Northern Temperate Lake. Science of the Total Environment. 448:176–188. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.10.069
  • Babiarz C.L., S.R. Hoffmann, A. Wieben, J.P. Hurley, A.W. Andren, M.M. Shafer and D.E. Armstrong. 2012. Watershed and Discharge Influences on the Phase Distribution and Tributary Loading of Total Mercury and Methylmercury into Lake Superior. Environmental Pollution. 161: 299-310. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2011.09.026
  • Keenan, H., Bangkedphol, A. Babajide, C. Davidson, J. Guimeraes, M. Horvat, J. Hurley, J.Leaner, R. Mason, A. Songsasen, T. Takashi  and E.Vasileva-Veleva. 2011. Mercury in the Aquatic Environment: Sources, Releases, Transport and Monitoring. The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of the Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), Working Group 37. United Nations Environment Programme. Geneva, Switzerland. 114 p.
  • Betz, C., Asplund, T and J. Hurley. 2011. Water Resources Working Group Report. Wisconsin’s Changing Climate; Impacts and Adaptation. Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
More About Me

University of Wisconsin commitees and offices:

  • University of Wisconsin System Representative, Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council, 2012-present
  • University of Wisconsin System Representative, Wisconsin Coastal Management Council, 2003-2010; 2012-present
  • Co-Chair, Science Advisory Board, Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, 2014-present
  • Lead Representative, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System, 2013-present
  • Member, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Board on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate, 2015-present
  • Member, Reserve Advisory Board, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, 2011-present
  • Member, Board on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, 2015-present