Professional Education

  • Ph.D., University of Rennes, France, Earth Sciences (Hydrogeology) (2016)
  • M.S., University of Rennes, France, Earth Sciences (2013)
  • B.A., University of Rennes, France, Earth Sciences (2011)

All Publications

  • Export of Organic Carbon from Reduced Fine-Grained Zones Governs Biogeochemical Reactivity in a Simulated Aquifer. Environmental science & technology Aeppli, M., Babey, T., Engel, M., Lacroix, E. M., Tolar, B. B., Fendorf, S., Bargar, J. R., Boye, K. 1800


    Sediment interfaces in alluvial aquifers have a disproportionately large influence on biogeochemical activity and, therefore, on groundwater quality. Previous work showed that exports from fine-grained, organic-rich zones sustain reducing conditions in downstream coarse-grained aquifers beyond the influence of reduced aqueous products alone. Here, we show that sustained anaerobic activity can be attributed to the export of organic carbon, including live microorganisms, from fine-grained zones. We used a dual-domain column system with ferrihydrite-coated sand and embedded reduced, fine-grained lenses from Slate River (Crested Butte, CO) and Wind River (Riverton, WY) floodplains. After 50 d of groundwater flow, 8.8 ± 0.7% and 14.8 ± 3.1% of the total organic carbon exported from the Slate and Wind River lenses, respectively, had accumulated in the sand downstream. Furthermore, higher concentrations of dissolved Fe(II) and lower concentrations of dissolved organic carbon in the sand compared to total aqueous transport from the lenses suggest that Fe(II) was produced in situ by microbial oxidation of organic carbon coupled to iron reduction. This was further supported by an elevated abundance of 16S rRNA and iron-reducing (gltA) gene copies. These findings suggest that organic carbon transport across interfaces contributes to downstream biogeochemical reactions in natural alluvial aquifers.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.1c04664

    View details for PubMedID 35072465

  • Competition within low-density bacterial populations as an unexpected factor regulating carbon decomposition in bulk soil SOIL BIOLOGY & BIOCHEMISTRY Coche, A., Babey, T., Rapaport, A., Gonod, L., Garnier, P., Nunan, N., de Dreuzy, J. 2022; 164
  • What do we need to predict groundwater nitrate recovery trajectories? The Science of the total environment Vautier, C., Kolbe, T., Babey, T., Marcais, J., Abbott, B. W., Laverman, A. M., Thomas, Z., Aquilina, L., Pinay, G., de Dreuzy, J. 2021; 788: 147661


    Nitrate contamination affects many of the Earth's aquifers and surface waters. Large-scale predictions of groundwater nitrate trends normally require the characterization of multiple anthropic and natural factors. To assess different approaches for upscaling estimates of nitrate recovery, we tested the influence of hydrological, historical, and biological factors on predictions of future nitrate concentration in aquifers. We tested the factors with a rich hydrogeological dataset from a fractured bedrock catchment in western France (Brittany). A sensitivity analysis performed on a calibrated model of groundwater flow, denitrification, and nitrogen inputs revealed that trends in nitrate concentration can effectively be approximated with a limited number of key parameters. The total mass of nitrate that entered the aquifer since the beginning of the industrial period needs to be characterized, but the shape of the historical nitrogen input time series can be largely simplified without substantially altering the predictions. Aquifer flow and transport processes can be represented by the mean and standard deviation of the residence time distribution, offering a tractable tool to make reasonable predictions at watershed to regional scales. Apparent sensitivity to denitrification rate was primarily attributable to time lags in oxygen depletion, meaning that denitrification can be simplified to an on/off process, defined only by the time needed for nitrate to reach the hypoxic reactive layer. Obtaining these key parameters at large scales is still challenging with currently available information, but the results are promising regarding our future ability to predict nitrate concentration with integrated monitoring and modeling approaches.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147661

    View details for PubMedID 34034194

  • Simulated Aquifer Heterogeneity Leads to Enhanced Attenuation and Multiple Retention Processes of Zinc. Environmental science & technology Engel, M., Boye, K., Noel, V., Babey, T., Bargar, J. R., Fendorf, S. 2021


    Alluvial aquifers serve as one of the main water sources for domestic, agricultural, and industrial purposes globally. Groundwater quality, however, can be threatened by naturally occurring and anthropogenic metal contaminants. Differing hydrologic and biogeochemical conditions between predominantly coarse-grained aquifer sediments and embedded layers or lenses of fine-grained materials lead to variation in metal behavior. Here, we examine processes controlling Zn partitioning within a dual-pore domain-reconstructed alluvial aquifer. Natural coarse aquifer sediments from the Wind River-Little Wind River floodplain near Riverton, WY, were used in columns with or without fine-grained lenses to examine biogeochemical controls on Zn concentrations, retention mechanisms, and transport. Following the introduction of Zn to the groundwater source, Zn preferentially accumulated in the fine-grained lenses, despite their small volumetric contributions. While the clay fraction dominated Zn retention in the sandy aquifer, the lenses supported additional reaction pathways of retention-the reducing conditions within the lenses resulted in ZnS precipitation, overriding the contribution of organic matter. Zinc concentration in the groundwater controlled the formation of Zn-clays and Zn-layered double hydroxides, whereas the extent of sulfide production controlled precipitation of ZnS. Our findings illustrate how both spatial and compositional heterogeneities govern the extent and mechanisms of Zn retention in intricate groundwater systems, with implications for plume behavior and groundwater quality.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.0c06750

    View details for PubMedID 33570404

  • Stratification of reactivity determines nitrate removal in groundwater. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Kolbe, T., de Dreuzy, J. R., Abbott, B. W., Aquilina, L., Babey, T., Green, C. T., Fleckenstein, J. H., Labasque, T., Laverman, A. M., Marçais, J., Peiffer, S., Thomas, Z., Pinay, G. 2019


    Biogeochemical reactions occur unevenly in space and time, but this heterogeneity is often simplified as a linear average due to sparse data, especially in subsurface environments where access is limited. For example, little is known about the spatial variability of groundwater denitrification, an important process in removing nitrate originating from agriculture and land use conversion. Information about the rate, arrangement, and extent of denitrification is needed to determine sustainable limits of human activity and to predict recovery time frames. Here, we developed and validated a method for inferring the spatial organization of sequential biogeochemical reactions in an aquifer in France. We applied it to five other aquifers in different geological settings located in the United States and compared results among 44 locations across the six aquifers to assess the generality of reactivity trends. Of the sampling locations, 79% showed pronounced increases of reactivity with depth. This suggests that previous estimates of denitrification have underestimated the capacity of deep aquifers to remove nitrate, while overestimating nitrate removal in shallow flow paths. Oxygen and nitrate reduction likely increases with depth because there is relatively little organic carbon in agricultural soils and because excess nitrate input has depleted solid phase electron donors near the surface. Our findings explain the long-standing conundrum of why apparent reaction rates of oxygen in aquifers are typically smaller than those of nitrate, which is energetically less favorable. This stratified reactivity framework is promising for mapping vertical reactivity trends in aquifers, generating new understanding of subsurface ecosystems and their capacity to remove contaminants.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1816892116

    View details for PubMedID 30692250

  • Inherent relevance of MRMT models to concentration variance and mixing-induced reactivity ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES Babey, T., de Dreuzy, J., Rapaport, A., Rojas-Palma, A. 2017; 110: 291–98
  • Spatiotemporal simulations of 2,4-D pesticide degradation by microorganisms in 3D soil-core experiments ECOLOGICAL MODELLING Babey, T., Vieuble-Gonod, L., Rapaport, A., Pinheiro, M., Garnier, P., de Dreuzy, J. 2017; 344: 48–61
  • From conservative to reactive transport under diffusion-controlled conditions WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH Babey, T., de Dreuzy, J., Ginn, T. R. 2016; 52 (5): 3685–3700
  • Multi-Rate Mass Transfer (MRMT) models for general diffusive porosity structures ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES Babey, T., de Dreuzy, J., Casenave, C. 2015; 76: 146–56
  • Influence of porosity structures on mixing-induced reactivity at chemical equilibrium in mobile/immobile Multi-Rate Mass Transfer (MRMT) and Multiple INteracting Continua (MINC) models WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH de Dreuzy, J., Rapaport, A., Babey, T., Harmand, J. 2013; 49 (12): 8511–30