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Rapid and Spatially Explicit Assessment of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Data Limited Watersheds

Nicol Parker, PhD Candidate, Bren School

Oct 4 2023 | 9:30 am PDT Bren Hall 1414 / Online

Headshot of Nicol Parker
Nicol Parker



Advisor: Arturo Keller
Committee: Ashley Larsen, Patricia Holden


The increasing use of chemicals in society demands accessible tools for risk assessments, yet obtaining monitoring data for calibration and validation remains challenging. Nicol’s work specializes in evaluating means to restore and preserve water resources as related to chemical hazards. This involves employing, developing, and validating methodologies to assess contemporary chemical risks, addressing concerns like quantifying risks for undetectable concentrations inducing aquatic organism mortality, identifying toxicity reduction opportunities at scale, and pinpointing primary sources and receptors of chemical hazards. Nicol has investigated chemicals ranging from nanomaterials to pharmaceuticals to flame retardants and pesticides. Her research elucidates contemporary chemical risks in California’s surface waters. Nicol’s work advances our ability to analyze risks in data-limited regions, evaluate chemical risks across large areas with precision, assess cumulative toxicity from numerous chemicals, and identify key sources and receptors of chemical impacts, ultimately enhancing our grasp of chemical risk management and mitigation strategies.


Nicol is a Bay-Delta Science Fellow and PhD Candidate at the Bren School of the University of California. With a decade of experience in chemical risk assessment, her research primarily centers on unraveling the complexities of contaminant risks and identifying their sources to improve our understanding of health hazards. Nicol's research specifically delves into chemicals of emerging concern, commonly found in everyday consumer products, homes, businesses, and agriculture. Her commitment is to provide analyses and decision-support tools that pinpoint opportunities for mitigating chemical hazards at their sources. This information is tailored to benefit a wide-ranging audience, including researchers, policymakers, legislators, and members of local communities. In her free time, Nicol is a passionate hobbyist, seeking out good tunes, surfing, spearfishing, beach volleyball, climbing, and backpacking. Her top alternate career choice would be as a competitor in the World Surf League.

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