Messer Research Group

Welcome to the Messer Research Website!

Messer Portrait

Tiffany L. Messer, PhD

Water Quality Engineer, Assistant Professor
Biological Systems Engineering
School of Natural Resources
College of Engineering
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

217 L.W. Chase Hall, P.O. Box 830730
Lincoln, NE 68583-0730
Phone: (402) 472-2232



We live in a culture that imagines water as an unlimited and invincible natural resource. However, the impacts of drought and increased pollutant (e.g., pesticides, nutrients, antibiotics, metals) loads from non-point source pollution from both agricultural and urban landscapes continue to threaten important aquatic dependent industries, drinking water, and recreational water-based ecosystems. Because over 80% of water use is in agriculture (in the US and worldwide), transforming water management in a meaningful way means changing how it is used and managed – and engineered. Therefore, my team's research interests are at the often-ignored intersection of agricultural engineering, ecology, and chemistry of emerging contaminants. 

The Messer Research Team focuses on: 

1. Fate and transport of contaminants of emerging concern and nutrients in surface waters

2. Innovative sensor technologies for water quality monitoring

3. Ecosystem based Best Management Practices (i.e., wetland and rivers adjacent to agroecosystems)



Congrats to Mary Keilhauer for placing third at the Nebraska Water Symposium poster competition!


The Messer Research Group recently had one new publication accepted in the journal Water! The publication compares four commonly used kinetic models in two distinct wetland systems at the mesocosm scale. The publication can be found at the following link:

Comparison of Four Nitrate Removal Kinetic Models in Two Distinct Wetland Restoration Mesocosm Systems


The Messer Research Group recently had two publications accepted in the Journal of Ecological Engineering! The publications focus on utilizing wetlands to treat agricultural drainage water and identifying nitrogen removal processes occuring within two distinct wetlands systems. The publications can be found at the following links.

Nitrate Removal Potential of Restored Wetlands Loaded with Agricultural Drainage Water: A Mesocosm Scale Experimental Approach

Tracking the Fate of Nitrate through Pulse-Flow Wetlands: A Mesocosm Scale 15N Enrichment Tracer Study

Research Interests

    • Emerging Sensor Technologies
    • Hydrologic and Stable Isotope Tracer Techniques
    • Nutrient and Pesticide Cycling, Fate, and Transport
    • Agricultural Systems
    • Surface Water Hydrology Modeling
    • Ecosystem Restoration
    • Engineering Education
    • Environmental Impacts in Developing Countries
    • Groundwater Hydrology Modeling
    • Restoration Assessments of Ecosystem Services
    • Environmental Policy