Derek D. Wright, Ph.D.

Asst. Prof. of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences

Office: 315 Crawford Hall

(906) 635-2628,

Chemistry & Environmental Sciences Living Learning Community & Club Adviser


Courses: I currently teach (or have taught) the following courses at LSSU:

For the past two summers, I have taught NSCI 116 (summer term II, 2011 & 2012) as part of the LSSU Tall Ships program. The course includes a 5 day cruise on the Inland Seas, a 77 ft. schooner operated by the Inland Seas Education Association Special thanks to Captain Tom Kelly and his crew for an excellent experience.  We look forward to joining you again next summer!


Research Interests:

I am also interested in the following regional environmental/public health issues

Instrumentation: I utilize a variety of instrumentation and analytical techniques in my research and my courses including:

Current projects:

Current Student Projects:

Recent Student Projects


Note: students interested in undergraduate research should email me or stop by my office. I am always looking for motivated students to work in my group.

Shiptime: (pictures)

2012 – Water quality sampling on Paradise Lake, MI (1 day)

2011 – Inland Seas (5 days) limnologic survey of Northern Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay

2010 – Water quality sampling on Paradise Lake, MI (2 days)

2006 – R/V Cape Hatteras (10 days), trace metal and major nutrient sampling in the Hudson River Estuary/NJ Shelf

2006 – Sediment sampling for mercury in Tivoli South Bay, NY

2005 – R/V Cape Hatteras (15 days), trace metal and major nutrient sampling in the Hudson River Estuary/NJ Shelf

2005 – M/V Karen Miller, CDOM/DOC sampling in the Raritan River Estuary, NJ

2004 – R/V Cape Hatteras (5 days), major nutrient sampling in the Hudson River Estuary/Newark Bay/NJ Shelf

2004 – R/V Cape Hatteras (8 days), trace metal and major nutrient sampling in the Hudson River and NJ shelf

2003 – R/V Oceanus (6 days), trace metal sampling (6 days) NJ Shelf and Hudson River

2000 – R/V Lake Guardian (6 days), mercury sampling in Lake Superior

2000 – Several 1 day sampling events on Whitefish Bay/Tahquamenon River, MI




American Geophysical Union  

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography    

National Environmental Health Association

Recent Publications:

Keller, B.J., Back R.C., Westrick, J., Werner, M., Evans, B., Moerke, A., Zimmerman, G., Wright, D., Grenfell, E., Courneya, J. 2011. Sediment Quality at Select Sites in the St. Marys River Area of Concern. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 37:12-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2011.02.003.

Derek D. Wright. 2011. Water Quality Study of Paradise Lake Michigan, Summer 2010 - Final Report. Paradise Lake Association. Carp Lake, MI.

Derek D. Wright, Thomas K. Frazer, John R. Reinfelder. 2010. The influence of river plume dynamics on trace metal accumulation in calanoid copepods.  Limnology and Oceanography, 55(6): 2487-2502.


Medina M., A. Chatziefthimiou, N.S. Bloom, G.W. Luther III, D.D. Wright, J.R. Reinfelder, C. Vetriani, and T. Barkay. 2009. Interactions of chemosynthetic bacteria with mercury at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Limnology and Oceanography, 54(1):  41–49 Abstract


Each fall in CHEM 342 I take my students to visit the Turkey Lakes Watershed (~45 min North of Sault ON), a research station that was established to monitor atmospheric deposition on the canadian Shield, but has expanded to include a variety of ecosystem, forestry, and climatological research.  Below are some pictures from a couple of these trips:


Last summer we took a trip to Ohio Caverns, near Bellefontaine, OH.  Ohio caverns is located within the Bellefontaine

Outlier, a formation of Devonion-age Columbus Limestone, which is surrounded by older Silurian carbonates.



Northern Michigan (and Ontario) is an excellent place to study the Earth and Environmental Sciences.  With abundant natural resources, a variery of geologic features, and beautiful landscapes, its a fascinating area to study, and a fun place to visit.

Here are some shots from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a couple of hourse west of Sault MI on the Lake Superior Shore.  The cliffs at pictured rocks are primarily Cambrian era Sandstone overlain by Ordovicion Au Train Formation dolomitic sandstone.  In areas, Precambrian Jacobsville Formation is visible near the lake level.



Perhaps my favorite area of analytical chemistry is atomic spectroscopy.  I have collected emission spectra from a variety of light sources, including flame tests of alkali metals using a home made flame emission spectrometer.

As an example, below is a spectrum that I collected from the fluorescent lights in the fume hood in CRW 334. The narrow atomic emission lines of Hg are clearly visible, as are the broad emission bands of the phosphors.