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Candice M Duncan

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor

Environmental Science & Technology 0206 H. J. Patterson Hall College Park, MD 20742-5821


  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Remediation
  • Contaminant Transport

Dr. Duncan's research falls under the interdisciplinary topics of Environmental Science and Environmental Chemistry.  Her work focuses on the transport and characterization of organic and inorganic contaminants in the vadose zone. Specifically, the removal of contaminants from the saturated and unsaturated zones of the subsurface using plants (i.e. phytoremediation).

Research Interest

Organic Contaminant transport: Gas and liquid phase transport, source zone impacts and location, transport mechanisms, remediation strategies and utilization of phytoscreening tools (i.e. phytoremediation) to remove organics from soil, water and air media (i.e. TCE, PFAS, PAHs)

Inorganic Contaminant transport: remediation of metals (e.g. Hg, As, Pb) through plant transformation, termed phytoremediation; using the physical and chemical properties of select plant species to uptake metals and subsequently remove from soil, water and air media

Interdisciplinary nature of soil chemistry and anthropology: qualitative and quantitative understanding of grave soils through non-invasive and invasive chemical analysis; using trace metals to uncover the cultural practices, activities, diet, environmental/anthropogenic influences, and lifestyle of enslaved African and African Americans through soil science


Ph.D.  2014  University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Soil, Water, and Environmental Science Major

Dissertation title:  Innovative Methods for Characterizing Chlorinated Volatile Organic Compounds in the Vadose

M.S.  2008  North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC, College of Science and Technology, Earth Science Major, Environmental Chemistry Minor

Thesis title:  The Analysis of Selected Pyrethroid Pesticides in an Environmental Sample using High Pressure Liquid Chromatography Diode Array Detection (HPLC-DAD) with Liquid Chromatography/ Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) Verification:  A Post-Column Derivatization Approach

B.S.  2005  North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC, College of Science and Technology, Environmental Science Major, Env'l Chemistry Minor

B.S.  2003 University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, College of Arts and Science, Biology Major, Chemistry Minor


Introduction to Geoscience: AGNR 320 (2021)

The course will blend four disciplines under the geoscience topic while making STEM learning meaningful and inspiring.

The inspiration will be drawn from real-life examples shared with students in the course that can be relatable to all students regardless of background. Each topic will contain relevant videos, readings and assignments designed to guide the students through 1. Exploring subdisciplines within the topics of atmospheric, geological/soil and hydrological sciences 2. Understanding the academic pathways to geoscience careers, 3. Identifying careers associated with the geoscience field 4. Creating and understanding the components of community outreach and science communication, and 5. Creating and understanding science communication documents.

Soil Chemistry: ENST 421 (2017 – 2020)

The chemistry and composition of mineral and organic colloids in soils, including ion exchange, oxidation-reduction, acidity, surface charge, and solution chemistry. The course also covers Gibbs energy, pe vs pH diagrams, speciation and sorption/desorption mechanisms.  Lectures and readings pertain to course concepts in the air, water and soil medium.

Senior Integrative Experience/Captstone: ENST 472 (2019 - present)

The project aims to look at select plant species for their remediation of mercury properties, termed phytoremediation.  The establishment of plant growth under varying and extreme conditions in the absence, then presence, of Hg will be assessed in an aquaponic system. 


Clinton, C.K., Duncan, C.M., Shaw, R.K. et al. Identification of trace metals and potential anthropogenic influences on the historic New York African Burial Ground population: A pXRF technology approach. Sci Rep 9, 18976 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41598-019-55125-7

Candice M. Duncan, Mark L. Brusseau. 2018. An assessment of correlations between chlorinated VOC concentrations in tree tissue and groundwater for phytoscreening applications. In press, Science of the Total Environment, 616-617 (2018), p.875-880.

Duncan Candice M., Mainhagu Jon, Lin Dan, Brusseau Mark L. (2018) Analysis of trichloroethene vapour in soil-gas samples using solid-sorbent tubes with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Environmental Chemistry 14, 495-501.

Candice M. Duncan, Jon Mainhagu, Kayla Virgone, Denise Moreno Ramirez, Mark L. Brusseau. 2017. Application of phytoscreening to three hazardous waste sites in Arizona.  Science of the Total Environment, 609 (2017), p. 951- 955.

J. Mainhagu, C. Morrison, M.L. Brusseau. 2015.  Using vapor phase tomography to measure the spatial distribution of vapor concentrations and flux for vadose-zone VOC sources. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 177-178 (2015), p. 54-63.

G.R. Monger, Candice Morrison Duncan, and M.L. Brusseau. 2014. Using a Gas-Phase Tracer Test to Characterize the Impact of Landfill Gas Generation on Advective-Dispersive Transport in the Vadose Zone. Water, Air and Soil Pollution (2014) 225:2226.

J. Mainhagu, C. Morrison, M. Truex, M. Oostrom, M. L. Brusseau. 2014.  Measuring spatial variability of vapor flux to characterize vadose-zone VOC sources: Flow-cell experiments.  Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 167: 32-43.

E.M. Ulrich, C.N. Morrison, M.R. Goldsmith, and W.T. Foreman.  Chiral Pesticides:  Identification, Description, and Environmental Implications.  In: Whitacre, D.M. ed. Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.Volume 217. New York, NY:Springer; 2012:1.

M. Musielak, M. L. Brusseau, M. Marcoux, C. Morrison, M. Quintard. 2014.  Determination of Chlorinated Solvent Sorption by Porous Material—Application to Trichloroethene Vapor on Cement Mortar.  Transport in Porous Media, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 77-90.

M.L. Brusseau, D.E. Matthieu III, K.C. Carroll, J. Mainhagu, C. Morrison, A. McMillan, A. Russo, and M. Plaschke. 2013.  Characterizing long-term contaminant mass discharge and the relationship between reductions in discharge and reductions in mass for DNAPL source areas.  Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 149 (2013) p.1-12


M.L. Brusseau, K.C. Carroll, T. Allen, J. Baker, W. DiGuiseppi, J. Hatton, C. Morrison, A. Russo, and J. Berkompas. 2011. Impact of In Situ Chemical Oxidation on Contaminant Mass Discharge:  Linking Source-Zone and Plume-Scale Characterizations of Remediation Performance. Environmental Science and Technology. 45(12): p5352-5358.

J.J. Bang, Y.B. Anderson, S.F. DeLauder, R. Malhotra, P. Egeghy, R. Williams, D. Whitaker, and C. Morrison. 2011. Ambient Concentration Levels of Volatile Organic Compounds and Aldehydes in Moncure, North Carolina:  An Environmental Justice Case Study.  Environmental Justice.  4(2):  p91-99.