Lead PI: Bayani Cardenas (CV)
I study the broad topic of flow and transport dynamics of natural hydrologic systems. I am primarily trained as a hydrogeologist and all my degrees are from Earth science departments. The scales of my studies span from a few microns inside pores to thousands of kilometers of rivers, watersheds, and basins. Our dynamic research group uses a variety of approaches including conventional hydrologic and water quality monitoring, geophysical surveys, remote-sensing, analogue experiments, and mathematical modeling including high-performance computational models. I am particularly motivated by problems that cross disciplinary boundaries which require drawing ideas and approaches from different fields.

Post-doctoral Researchers

Lichun Wang (Lichun’s website)

BS China University of Geosciences-Beijing, MS China University of Geosciences, PhD The University of Texas at Austin
My current research mainly focuses on subsurface fluid flow and transport processes through single rough-walled fractures, particularly on multiphase flow (super-critical C02 and brine) through fractured media. Dispute on the effect of local fracture aperture variations within a single 2D rough-walled fracture leads to difficulty in quantifying hydraulic and transport properties such as permeability (k) and dispersion coefficient(D), as well as indicators for non-Fickian transport. However, detailed mapping information of fractures through X-Ray computed tomography enables the application of detailed computational fluid dynamics simulations allowing for direct quantification of k and D numerically. In relation to this, I am also developing and testing ideas for theoretically-derived k, D, and parameters in continuous-time random walk models considering the effect of roughness and tortuosity.


PhD Students including visitors


Matt Kaufman (Matt’s website)

BS Keene State College

I study fundamental questions about the physical, chemical, and biological processes which work together to control all aspects of groundwater and surface water.  In particular, I am interested in the the dynamic processes present at the interfaces between groundwater and surface water.


Eric Guiltinan (Eric’s website)

BS University of California-Santa Barbara, MS California State University-Long Beach
My research interests include single and multiphase fluid flow in fractured rock and porous media.  I am currently investigating how pressure and temperature affect multiphase fluids on the porescale with plans to upscale my experiments in the future.



Mike O’Connor (Mike’s website)

BS Amherst College (Geology and Music), MS University of Texas-Austin

I am most interested in the hydrologic and biogeochemical processes occurring at and near the surface of the Earth.  I use field and laboratory techniques as well as numerical modeling to understand and represent these complex systems.  My current research focuses on the variably saturated flow and nutrient transport dynamics of Arctic permafrost systems.  I hope to use this work to help describe the mechanisms for terrestrial Arctic carbon export.  I am also very interested in the intersection between water science and policy, especially in Texas, and am a co-author for the blog “Texas Water Policy” (here).  In my spare time, you could find me swimming, climbing, or playing keyboard.



Stephen Ferencz (Stephen’s website)

BA University of California-Berkeley, MA University of California-Berkeley

I am interested in understanding surface water-groundwater processes in dynamic systems such as rivers and drainage basins and relating these processes to surface water and groundwater availability and quality.  I am also interested in exploring the influence of varying geological and geographical settings on surface water-groundwater processes as well as the potential effects of climate change, urbanization, and increased demand for water resources due to population growth.


Anna Turetcaia (Anna’s website is coming soon)

BA Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (Finance), BS Queens College, City University of New York (Envi. Science)

Near surface geological processes are mostly attributed to physical and chemical changes in the environment, and often pay little to no attention to the crucial part played by microorganisms. My interest is studying geochemical, physical and biological aspects involved in the nutrient cycle at the groundwater / surface water interaction boundary called the hyporheic zone.  The implications resulting from a more profound understanding of processes involved in the nutrient cycle in this zone could lead us towards improvements in management of various fresh water reservoirs.



Jiaqing Zhou (Jiaqing’s ResearchGate website)

BS Wuhan University, MS Wuhan University

I am interested in fluid flow and solute transport in porous and fracture media. I am currently investigating the physical mechanism of non-Darcy flow and non-Fickian transport from micro-scale, and developing continuum-scale characterization of these anomalous phenomena.


MS Students

none at the moment

Undergraduate Honors Students and Research Assistants


Sebastian Muñoz

Class of 2018, BS Environmental Science- Geology, BA Plan II

I am interested in river basins and surface and ground water interactions.  My research focuses on quantifying heterogeneity and understanding surface and ground water mixing in dam regulated systems. In my free time I am a volunteer citizen scientist, taking water quality samples as part of The Longhorn Stream Team. I like chasing water, both academically and recreationally. When not on campus I can be found kayaking or canoeing Texas waterways.

Kindra Nicholaides
Lane Cockrell

Former PhD Students and Post-doctoral Fellows

Parentheses show immediate position after UT or last known position

  • Wen Deng, Postdoc, 2010-2014 (Assistant Professor, Missouri University of Science and Technology)
  • Lizhi Zheng, PhD Geological Sciences, 2017
  • Lichun Wang, PhD Geological Sciences, 2015 (Postdoctoral fellow, UT Austin)
  • Kevin Befus,  PhD Geological Sciences, 2015 (Assistant Professor, University of Wyoming)
  • Peter Zamora, PhD Geological Sciences, 2015 (Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina- Wilmington)
  • Kuldeep Chaudhary,  PhD Geological Sciences, 2013 (Assistant Professor, Kent State University)
  • Audrey Sawyer, PhD Geological Sciences, 2011 (Assistant Professor,  Ohio State University)

Former MS/MA Students

Parentheses show immediate position after UT or last known position

  • Jeffery Watson, MS Geological Sciences, 2016 (Hays-Trinity Groundwater Conservation District)
  • Raquel Flinker, MS Geological Sciences, 2014 (Schlumberger, Brazil)
  • Alyse Briody, MS Geological Sciences, 2014 (USGS New Mexico)
  • Mike Kanarek, MS Geological Sciences, 2013 (Intera)
  • F. Alexander Norman, MS Geological Sciences, 2013
  • John Nowinski, MS Geological Sciences, 2010 (Pastor, Behling, & Wheeler)
  • Travis Swanson, MS Geological Sciences, 2010 (PhD student at UT)
  • Blair Stanley, MS Geological Sciences, 2009 (BP, Houston)
  • Wai Sum Chan, MA Science and Math Education, 2011 (high school teacher)
  • Meredith Mackey, MA Science and Math Education, 2008 (middle school teacher)
  • Ashleigh Barber-Bomar, MA Science and Math Education, 2008 (high school teacher)

Former Undergraduate Students and REU/RET Fellows

Parentheses show immediate position after UT or last known position

  • Lauryn Martinez, REU student, 2017, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
  • Aimee Ford, BS Geological Sciences, 2015 (law school, University of Michigan)
  • Hannah Leiberg, REU student, BS Environmental Engineering (University of Maryland-Baltimore County), 2013 (grad school, University of Nevada-Reno)
  • Julianne Wooten, BS Geological Sciences, 2012
  • Ben Bass, BS Geological Sciences, 2011 (grad school, Rice University)
  • Michael Markowski, BS Geological Sciences, 2010
  • Anne Dunckel, BS Geological Sciences, 2010 (grad school, University of Virginia; StreamWatch)
  • Nancy Pattyn, RET fellow, 2010, Anderson High School
  • Laura Merner, REU student, BS Geography (Clark Univ), 2008 (grad school, University of Maryland-Baltimore County)