Assistant Professor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Welcome! I’m an environmental geochemist who strives to understand the fundamental processes that control nutrient and contaminant cycling within Earth’s critical zone. To address these questions, I pair numerical models with novel data streams — airborne geophysical surveys and custom-built in situ sensors — and analyze the results using a suite of data science and machine learning techniques. Read more about research here.

This broad topic includes research projects in several different areas:

  1. Understanding focused groundwater recharge processes through stochastic modeling
  2. Identifying controls on seasonal nutrient cycling in arid floodplains
  3. Using custom-built in situ sensors to monitor the impacts of transient floods on groundwater quality
  4. Developing new sensor hardware to measure trace contaminants in water
  5. Combining numerical models and sensor data to create data-driven water quality forecasts
  • PhD, Earth System Science, 2023

    Stanford University

  • BS, Geology, 2015

    Middlebury College


Manuscripts under review
  1. K. Maher and Z. Perzan. Reactive transport as a scientific framework. In A. Shahar (Ed.), Treatise on Geochemistry (3rd edition). Elsevier: Amsterdam.

  2. T. Babey, Z. Perzan, S. Pierce, D.B. Rodgers, L. Wang, R. Carroll, J.R. Bargar, K. Boye and K. Maher. Spatiotemporal response of soil-gravel bed connectivity to hydrological transitions in an intermountain floodplain aquifer.

Peer-reviewed publications
  1. Z. Perzan and K. Maher. Transport, dispersion and degradation of nonpoint source contaminants during flood managed aquifer recharge. Vadose Zone Journal. [link]

  2. Z. Perzan, G. Osterman and K. Maher. (2023) Controls on flood managed aquifer recharge through a heterogeneous vadose zone: hydrologic modeling at a site characterized with surface geophysics. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. [link]

  3. Z. Perzan and T. Chapin. (2023) WellSTIC: A cost-effective sensor for performing point dilution tests to measure groundwater velocity in shallow aquifers. Water Resources Research. [link]

  4. T. Babey, K. Boye, B. Tolar, M. Engel, V. Noel, Z. Perzan, et al. (2022) Simulation of anoxic lenses as exporters of reactivity in alluvial aquifer sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. [link]

  5. Z. Perzan, T. Babey, J. Caers, J.R. Bargar and K. Maher. (2021) Local and global sensitivity analysis of a reactive transport model simulating floodplain redox cycling. Water Resources Research. [link]

  6. Q. Li, L. Wang, Z. Perzan, J. Caers, et al. (2021) Global sensitivity analysis of a reactive transport model for mineral scale formation during hydraulic fracturing. Environmental Engineering Science. [link]

  7. J. Damerow, C. Varadharajan, K. Boye, et al. (2021) Sample identifiers and metadata to support data management and reuse in multidisciplinary ecosystem sciences. Data Science Journal. [link]

  8. J. Munroe, Z. Perzan and W. Amidon. (2016) Cave sediments constrain the latest Pleistocene advance of the Laurentide ice sheet in the Champlain Valley, Vermont, USA. Journal of Quaternary Science. [link]

  9. A. Schroth, C. Giles, P. Isles, Y. Xu, Z. Perzan and G. Druschel. (2015) Dynamic coupling of iron, manganese and phosphorus behavior in water and sediment of shallow ice-covered eutrophic lakes. Environmental Science & Technology. [link]