Lucas J. Beversdorf 

Lucas J. Beversdorf

Degree Program: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Faculty Supervisor: Trina D. McMahon
Phone: (608) 262-3542




Current Research

Lake Mendota is an eutrophic lake that harbors an abundant and diverse array of bloom-forming cyanobacteria. The cyanobacterial community composition (CCC) is highly variable, contains numerous nitrogen fixing and non-nitrogen fixing genera, and has multiple genotypes capable of forming ephemeral, and possibly toxic, blooms. Nutrients play an integral role in the CCC, but it is unclear how phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), and trace metal limitation might influence intra annual community dynamics on the time scales we are interested in. My current research focuses on N and P dynamics and CCC within the Yahara Lakes surrounding Madison, Wisconsin. I am studying the physical, chemical, and biological factors controlling blooms and toxicity of cyanobacteria using modern computational, analytical, and molecular tools. I am particularly interested in nitrogen fixation as a potential driver of CCC and toxin production.


For my Biotechnology Training Program (BTP) internship experience, I worked at Primorigen Biosciences in Madison, WI. My primary research was to help develop biomarkers to be used for stem cell research. More specifically, we identified new and/or improved antigen-antibody pairs for the identification of transcriptional regulators involved in induced pluripotency of stem cells and proteins involved in stem cell differentiation. Not only did I have amazing colleagues and a tremendous overall experience, I think my time at Primorigen Biosciences really exemplified what it means to be a BTP trainee. Though this work was in no way related to my own thesis research, I was able to learn several new skills that could be applied within my field. It was truly an interdisciplinary adventure that has contributed to my PhD experience.


Beversdorf LJ, White AE, Björkman KM, Letelier RL, Karl DM. Phosphonate metabolism by Trichodesmium IMS101 and the production of greenhouse gases. Limnology and Oceanography 2010, 55(4), 1768-78.

White AE, Karl DM, Björkman KM, Beversdorf LJ, Letelier RL. Production of organic matter by Trichodesmium IMS101 as a function of phosphorus source. Limnology and Oceanography 2010, 55(4), 1755-1767.

Karl DM, Beversdorf LJ, Björkman KM, Church MJ, Martinez A, Delong EF. Aerobic production of methane in the sea. Nature Geosciences 2008, 1: 473-478.

Beversdorf LJ, Bornstein-Forst SM, McLellan SL. The potential for beach sand to serve as a reservoir for Escherichia coli and the physical influences on cell die-off. Journal of Applied Microbiology 102: 1372-1381.

Abstract (PDF)

Resume (PDF)





Biochemistry Department
433 Babcock Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1544

Brian Fox, Director