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David Velinsky

David Velinsky, PhD

Department Head and Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science
VP for Academy Science, ANS
Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Office: ANS, 2nd Floor
Phone: 215.299.1147

Additional Sites: Environmental Biogeochemistry Group


  • BS, Oceanography, Minor in chemistry, Florida Institute of Technology, 1977
  • PhD, Chemical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, 1987

Curriculum Vitae:

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Research Interests:

  • Fate and transport of chemical contaminants
  • Stable isotope and nutrient biogeochemistry
  • Sediment geochemistry and deposition
  • Water quality


David Velinsky, PhD, is Head of the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science at Drexel University and Vice President of Academy Science at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. He obtained a BS Degree from the Florida Institute of Technology in Oceanography with a minor in Chemistry and was awarded his PhD degree from Old Dominion University in Chemical Oceanography.

For his doctorate, Velinsky studied the cycling of trace elements in coastal marshes of the Delaware Estuary for his dissertation. He then continued his studies as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware and at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington. He used stable isotopes to study nutrient sources in anoxic environments around the world (e.g., Black Sea and Framvaren Fjord, Norway).

Velinsky is currently studying the movement and cycling of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in estuarine and freshwater environments in the mid-Atlantic region. A focus of his work are aspects of water quality and wetland ecosystem services in the Delaware and Barnegat Bays. Velinsky is the author of 50 peer-reviewed publications and has delivered more than 70 presentations at local, national and international scientific meetings. He is a member of the Toxics Advisory Committee at the Delaware River Basin Commission and a member of the Science Advisory Board for the State of New Jersey.

Selected Publications:

  • Unger, V., T. Elsey-Quirk, C. Sommerfield and D. Velinsky. 2016. Stability of organic carbon accumulating in Spartina alterniflora-dominated salt marshes of the mid-Atlantic US. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science. 182: 179-189.
  • Nyphus. R. and others. 2016. Environmental Deans and Directors Call for NSF Climate Funding. Science. Science 352: 755-756.
  • Ashley, J.T.F, R. Soroka, Y. Cintron, A. Sarno, L. Zaoudeh, D. J. Velinsky and J. Baker. 2016. Can polychlorinated biphenyls be removed from Chesapeake Bay by a commercial fishery? Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 2(12); 397–406
  • Paudel, B., T. Belton, H. Pang and D.J. Velinsky. 2016 Spatial variability of estuarineenvironmental drivers and response by phytoplankton: A model based approach. Ecological Informatics 34 (2016) 1–12
  • Velinsky, D.J., H. Holland, and F.N Scatena. 2015. 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science presented to Robert Arbuckle Berner. Journal of the Franklin Institute 352(7): 2591-2595.
  • Rowell, H.C, R.F. Bopp, F. Peng, D.J.Velinsky, and J.A. Bloomfield. 2015. Annually LaminatedSediments in Onondaga Lake, NY: high resolution stratigraphy for interpreting lake degradation and recovery. Journal of Paleolimnology 53: 107-121 (DOI 10.1007/s10933-014-9811-5)
  • Weston, N.B, S.C. Neubauer, D.J. Velinsky and M.A. Vile. 2014. Net Ecosystem Carbon Exchange an the Greenhouse Gas Balance of Tidal Marshes along an Estuarine Salinity Gradient. Biogeochemistry:120: 163-189. (August)
  • Pearson, S.H., S.S. Kilham, D.J. Velinsky, J.R. Spotila, and H.W. Avery. 2013 Stable isotopes of C and Nreveal habitat dependent dietary overlap between native and introduced turtles Pseudemys rubriventrisand Trachemys scripta. PLOS One 8(5): e62891 (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062891)
  • Smith, A.J., R.L. Thomas, J.K. Nolan, D.J. Velinsky, S. Klein, and B.T. Duffy. 2013. Regional nutrientthresholds in wadeable streams of New York State protective of aquatic life. Ecol. Ind. 29: 455-467.
  • Elsey-Quirk, T., A. Smyth, M. Piehler, J. Mead and D.J. Velinsky 2013. Exchange of nitrogen through anurban tidal freshwater wetland in Philadelphia, PA. Jour. Environ. Qual. 42: 1-12.
  • Ismail, N.S., D.J. Velinsky, J.T.F. Ashley and R.W. Sanders. 2013. Chorioallantoic membrane as a non lethal sampling method for polychlorinated biphenyls analysis in the northern diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin). Chemistry and Ecology 29(5): 391-4023.
  • Velinsky, D.J., G.R. Riedel, J.T. Ashley and J. Cornwell 2011. A contamination history of the Anacostia River, Washington, D.C. Environmental Assessment and Monitoring (published online).
  • Weston, N.B., M.A. Vile, S.C. Neubauer and D.J. Velinsky. 2011. Accelerated microbial organic matter mineralization following salt-water intrusion into tidal freshwater marsh soils. Biogeochemistry 102 (1-3):135-151.
  • Stansley, W., D.J. Velinsky and R. Thomas. 2010. Mercury and halogenated organic contaminants in river otters (Lontra Canadensis) in New Jersey USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; 29: 2235-2242.
  • Ashley, J.T.F., J.S. Ward, M.W. Schafer, H.M. Stapleton, and D.J. Velinsky. 2010 Polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in fish oil supplements: Evaluating exposure and health risks. Food Additives and Contaminants 27(8): 1177-1185.
  • Ashley, J.T.F., M.L. Webster, J.E. Baker, R. Horwitz, and D.J. Velinsky. 2009. Polychlorinated biphenyls in sediment and biota from the Delaware River estuary. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences. 158: 89-105.
  • McGee, B.L, A.E. Pinkney, D.J. Velinsky, J.T.F. Ashley, D.J. Fisher, L.C. Ferrington and T.J Norberg-King. 2009. Using the sediment quality triad to characterize baseline conditions in the Anacostia River, Washington, DC. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment: 156: 51-67.