Richard Gersberg

Division of Environmental Health, Professor and Division Head

Dr. Richard M. Gersberg is currently a Professor (and Head of the Division) of Environmental Health in the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU). He has an M.S. degree in biology from the University of Houston, and a Ph.D degree in microbiology from the University of California, Davis (1977).

Dr. Gersberg specializes in water quality research and limnology, and has broad experience working with both chemical and microbiological pollutants and risk assessments. He has over 70 scientific publications in these areas.

Dr. Gersberg has conducted a number of studies on the fate of bacterial indicators and toxics in both freshwater and estuarine ecosystems. Dr. Gersberg has served as scientific director of an EPA-funded project on the use of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment at Santee, CA , and is now considered one of the pioneers in the field of constructed wetland treatment.  He currently serves as a technical advisor and doctoral mentor on several research programs on Constructed Wetlands and Bioretention for Stormwater Treatment at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and also has a similar international research exchange at the University of Applied Sciences in Magdeburg, Germany. He has served as technical consultant on aquatic and human health risk issues in impaired waters all over the nation and internationally, including the Venice Lagoon, Italy, the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Victoria, Canada, the Tijuana River Watershed, Mexico, the Elbe River, Germany, Fountain Creek, Colorado, and numerous water bodies in California including the San Francisco Bay Delta, Mission Bay, Newport Bay, San Diego Bay, and Santa Monica Bay.

Dr. Gersberg is currently a member of the County of San Diego’s Environmental Health Advisory Board, the Technical Advisory Committee for the Santa Monica Coastkeeper Watershed Study, and the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Port of San Diego.

Download CV (PDF)

  • PhD, Microbiology, University of California-Davis (1977)
  • MS, Biology, University of Houston (1968)
  • BS, Biology, City University of New York (1966)
  • Constructed wetlands for wastewater and stormwater treatment, including the removal of emerging contaminants such as pharmaceutical compounds
  • Restoration and pollutant remediation (including selenium) of the Salton Sea, CA
  • Advanced Wastewater Reclamation for Indirect Potable Reuse of highly treated sewage
  • The effect of sea level rise (SLR) on coastal wetlands and their habitat: Use of SLAMM (Sea Level Affects Marshes Model) modeling for predicting SLR effects
  • Pathogens and indicators in water, and human health risk assessment for drinking and/or bathing in contaminated waters
  • Aquatic toxicity testing and ecological risk assessment for contaminants in water and sediments, including the aquatic toxicity of remnant cigarette butts in the environment and the role of pyrethroid pesticides in stream sediment toxicity
  • Transboundary water pollution concerns for the U.S. -Mexico border, including the Tijuana River and New River watersheds
  • Bioremediation of toxic organic compounds in groundwaters and sediments
  • Nutrient cycling and the cultural eutrophication of bays, lagoons and estuaries.

For an up to date publications list see Google Scholar.