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Ronald Harvey

Research Hydrologist

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Short Biography

Ronald Harvey earned his PhD in Environmental Sciences from Stanford in 1981.  Following an NRC postdoctoral fellowship, he conducted research for USGS National Research Program in Menlo Park, CA (1982-1990) and in Boulder, CO (1991-present).  From 2002 to 2005 he served as the first president of the International Society for Subsurface Microbiology (ISSM).  He is a former chair of the Environmental (Q) Division of the American Society for Microbiology and is an adjunct professor in Environmental Engineering at the Univ. Colorado. His research focuses on subsurface microbial transport and ecology.  He has authored/co-authored over 100 papers in his field.  Field studies involve microbial transport and ecology of granular, fractured-rock, and karst-limestone aquifers throughout the country.

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Bradford, S.A., Morales, V.L., Zhang, W., Harvey, R.W., Packman, A.I., Mohanram, A., and Welty, C., 2013, Transport and fate of microbial pathogens in agricultural settings. Crit. Rev. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43:775-893. [Link]

Haack, S.K., Metge, D.W., Fogarty, L.R., Meyer, M.T., Barber, L.B., Harvey, R.W., LeBlanc, D.R. & Kolpin, D.W., 2012, Effects on groundwater microbial communities to 30-day in-situ exposure to the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole. Environ. Sci. Technol. 46:7478-7486. [Link]

Wang, D., Bradford, S.A., Harvey, R.W., Hao, X., and Zhou, D., 2012, Effect of ionic strength on the transport of ARS-labeled hydroxyapatite nanoparticles in saturated granular media in the presence of humic acid. J. Hazard. Mat. 230:170-176. [Link]

Toepfer, J.A., Ford, R.M., Metge, D., & Harvey, R.W., 2012, Impact of fluorochrome stains used to study bacterial transport in shallow aquifers on motility and chemotaxis of Pseudomonas species. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 81:163-171. [Link]

Wang, D., Bradford, S.A., Harvey, R.W., Gao, B., Long, C., and Zhou, D., 2012, Humic acid facilitates the transport of ARS-labeled hydroxyapatite nanoparticles in iron oxyhydroxide-coated sand. Environ. Sci. Technol. 46:2738-2745. [Link]

Mohanram, A., Ray, C., Metge, D.W., Barber, L.B., Ryan, J.N., and Harvey, R.W., 2012, Effect of dissolved organic carbon on the transport and attachment behaviors of Cryptopsoridium parvum oocysts and carboxylate-modified microspheres advected through temperate and tropical agricultural soils. Environ. Sci. Technol. 46:2088–2094. [Link]

Underwood, J.C., Harvey, R.W., Metge, D.W., Repert, D.A., Baumgartner, L.K., Smith, R.L., Roane, T.M., and Barber, L.B., 2011, Effects of the antimicrobial sulfamethoxazole on groundwater bacteria enrichment. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45:3096-3101. [Link]

Williams, L.B., Metge, D.W., Eberl, D.D., Harvey, R.W., Turner, A.G., Prapaipong, P., and Poret-Peterson, A.T., 2011, What makes clay antibacterial? Environ. Sci. Technol. 45:3768–3773. [Link]

Metge, D.W., Harvey, R.W., Aiken, G.R., Anders, R., Lincoln, G., and Jasperse, J., 2011, Effects of sediment-associated extractable metals, degree of sediment grain sorting, and dissolved organic carbon upon Cryptosporidium parvum removal and transport within riverbank filtration sediments, Sonoma County, California. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45:5587-5595. [Link]

Harvey, R.W., Metge, D.W., Mohanram, A., Gao, X., and Chorover, J., 2011, Differential effects of dissolved organic carbon upon re-entrainment and surface properties of groundwater bacteria and bacteria-sized microspheres during transport through a contaminated, sandy aquifer. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45:3252–3259. [Link]

Harvey, R., Metge, D., Sheets, R., and Jasperse, J., 2011, Fluorescent microspheres as surrogates in evaluating the efficacy of riverbank filtration for removing Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts and other pathogens. In Ray, C. and Shamruck, M., eds., Riverbank Filtration for Water Security in Desert Countries: Amsterdam, Springer Science, pp. 81-96. [Link]

Mohanram, A., Ray, C., Harvey, R.W., Metge, D.W., Ryan, J.N., Chorover, J., and Eberl, D., 2010, Comparison of transport and attachment behaviors of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts and oocyst-sized microspheres being advected through three mineralogically different granular porous media. Water Res. 44:5334-5344. [Link]

Metge, D.W., Harvey, R.W., Aiken, G.R., Anders, R.A., Lincoln, G., Jasperse, J., 2010, Influence of organic carbon loading and sediment-associated metal oxide content distributions upon Cryptosporidium parvum removal during bank filtration operations, Sonoma County, CA. Water Res. 44:1126-1137. [Link]

Harvey, R.W., Metge, D.W., Barber, L.B., Aiken, G.R., 2010, Effects of altered groundwater chemistry upon the pH-dependency and magnitude of bacterial attachment during transport within an organically contaminated sandy aquifer. Water Res. 44: 1062-1071. [Link]

Abudalo, R.A., Ryan, J.N., Harvey, R.W., Metge, D.W., Landkamer, L., 2010, Influence of organic matter on the transport of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in a ferric oxyhydroxide-coated quartz sand saturated porous medium, Water Res. 44:1104-1113. [Link]

Prior journal publications for RW Harvey may be found on ( or on Research Gate (


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Ecology and Environmentaquatic ecosystems
Ecology and Environmentestuarine ecosystems
Ecology and Environmentfreshwater ecosystems
Water Resourcesground-water quality
Environmental Issuescontamination and pollution
Environmental Issuesground-water quality
Environmental Issueshealth and disease
Environmental Issueshuman impacts
Environmental Issueswater quality

Subsurface Microbial Transport

Much of my project’s recent research has focused on subsurface transport of microorganisms because of its importance in the fate of groundwater contaminants and because transport of pathogens to water-supply wells has, for the last few decades, accounted for over half of the waterborne disease outbreaks in the US.  Recent interdisciplinary, collaborative research has resulted in new information on the roles of mineralogy, chemotaxis, and physical/geochemical heterogeneities in the subsurface fate and transport of microorganisms in fractured-rock, karst-limestone, and granular aquifers.  In particular, the importance of ecosystem-level controls (e.g., environmental carrying capacity, growth, and predation) has yielded important information about processes that were not previously considered in bacterial transport models.  The use of dual-radiolabeled viruses (32P-labeled genome, 35S-labeled protein capsid) in aquifer injection-and-recovery tests, coupled with more mechanistic laboratory studies, resulted in new information about the nature of natural disinfection for viruses in aquifers, including the relative importance of capsid disintegration versus the simple loss of host specificity.  Field and laboratory research involving transport of the protozoan pathogen Cryptosporidium parvum in Biscayne Aquifer limestone demonstrated the inadequacy of current time-of-travel protection zones for Florida’s largest municipal well field.  This work is impacting land use decisions in South Florida and the decision for major upgrades for Miami water-treatment facilities.  The most recent microbial transport research has involved transport of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in riverbank filtration settings, where because of its environmental persistence, low infective-dose rate, and resistance to chlorination, it is the major pathogen of concern. 

Contact Information

Ronald Harvey
3215 Marine St, Bldg 6
Boulder, CO 80309
303-541-3084 - Fax
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