Konrad Kulacki
Konrad J. Kulacki, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Ecological & Biological Sciences

Dr. Kulacki specializes in aquatic ecology and ecotoxicology. He has 10 years of experience in studying the effects of anthropogenic stressors on aquatic organisms and ecosystems. Dr. Kulacki is familiar with the risks associated with numerous environmental pollutants, including biological, chemical, and physical stressors, and with the various methods available to evaluate their effects. He has performed standard versions of many aquatic toxicological bioassays, and has also modified existing protocols to provide additional important ecological information. In addition to laboratory work, Dr. Kulacki has experience in field-based analysis of the environmental quality of lakes and streams.

Dr. Kulacki’s doctoral research investigated the effects of room-temperature ionic liquids—an emerging class of industrial solvents—on freshwater primary producers and consumers. His post-doctoral work focused on the effects of engineered nanoparticles on benthic and pelagic primary producers and consumers, and on the relative effects of anthropogenic stressors, including eutrophication, biodiversity loss, and herbicides, on the structure and function of stream communities. He has worked effectively on multidisciplinary teams that included chemical engineers, mathematical modelers, microbial ecologists, and watershed planners.


  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, 2009
  • B.S., Environmental Science and Management, Michigan State University, 2002


OSHA Certified 40-Hours of Training in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response


Ziccardi, L. A. Edgington, K. Hentz, K. Kulacki, and S.K. Driscoll. Microplastics as vectors for bioaccumulation of hydrophobic organic chemicals in the marine environment: A State-of-the-Science review. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2016; 35:1667-1676.

Kulacki KJ, Cardinale BJ. Effects of nano-titanium dioxide on freshwater algal population dynamics. PLoS-ONE 2012; 7(10): e47130. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047130.

Kulacki KJ, Cardinale BJ, Bier RA, Dickson HM. How do stream organisms respond to, and influence, the concentration of TiO2 nanoparticles? A mesocosm study with algae and herbivores. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2012; 31:2414–2422.

Kulacki KJ, Chaloner DT, Larson JH, Costello DM, Evans-White MA, Docherty KM, Bernot RJ, Brueseke MA, Kulpa CF, Lamberti GA. Proactive aquatic ecotoxicological assessment of room-temperature ionic liquids. Current Organic Chemistry 2011; 15:1918–1927.

Sena, D.W., Kulacki KJ, Chaloner DT, Lamberti GA. The role of the cell wall in the toxicity of ionic liquids to the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Green Chemistry 2010; 12:1066–1071.

Docherty KM, Joyce MV, Kulacki KJ, Kulpa CF. Microbial degradation and metabolite toxicity of three pyridinium-based cation ionic liquids. Green Chemistry 2010; 12:701–712.

Kulacki KJ, Lamberti GA. Toxicity of imidazolium ionic liquids to freshwater algae. Green Chemistry 2008; 10:104–110.

Kulacki KJ, Chaloner DT, Costello DM, Docherty KM, Larson JH, Bernot RJ, Brueseke MA, Kulpa Jr. CF, Lamberti GA. Aquatic ecotoxicology and biodegradation of ionic liquids: A synthesis. Chemistry Today 2007; 25(6):(supp)32–36.


Kulacki K, He N, Parent PJ, McCarthy ME, Costello DM, Tiegs SD, Fritschie KJ, Cardinale BJ. Stressed out streams: Ranking the effects of stressors on stream periphyton. ESA, Portland, OR, August 6–10, 2012.

Kulacki K, Bennett S, Cardinale B. Effects of n-TiO2 on freshwater phytoplankton. SETAC Boston, MA, November 13–17, 2011.

Kulacki K. Proactive aquatic ecotoxicology: Evaluating tomorrow’s stressors today. Chapman University, March 11, 2011.

Kulacki K, Bier R, Dickson H, Cardinale B, Keller A, Nisbet R, Holden P, Klanjscek T, Priester J, Clark K, Thio R. Effects of nano-TiO2 on the structure and function of stream ecosystems: An ongoing experiment in freshwater mesocosms. ICEIN, Los Angeles, CA, May 11–13, 2010.

Kulacki KJ, Costello DM, Lamberti GA. Predicting the toxicity of novel chemicals to benthic and pelagic organisms using experimentation and mathematical modeling. NABS, Salt Lake City, UT, May 26–29, 2008.

Lamberti GA, Kulacki KJ, Docherty KM, Costello DM, Bernot RJ, Matsuo AYO, Larson JH, Brueseke MA, Dixon JK, Brennecke JF, Maginn EJ, Stadtherr MA, Chaloner DT, Kulpa Jr. CF. Ecotoxicity and biodegradability of ionic liquids for aquatic organisms. EMD-Merck Workshop, Notre Dame, IN, July 17, 2007.

Kulacki KJ, Bernot RJ, Chaloner DT, Lamberti GA. Combining experiments and modeling to evaluate ionic liquid toxicity to freshwater planktonic communities. BATIL, Berlin, Germany, May 6–8, 2007.

Kulacki KJ, Drake JM, Lodge DM. Developing a framework for invasive species risk assessment: Chemical risk assessment as a possible model. SETAC, Montreal, Canada, November 5–9, 2006.

Kulacki KJ, Lodge DM, Lamberti GA. Effects of novel ‘green’ chemicals on freshwater plankton. SETAC – OVC, Fort Wayne, IN, April 21, 2006.

Prior Experience

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Michigan, 2011–2013

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California Santa Barbara, 2009–2011

Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant, University of Notre Dame, 2003–2009

Limnology Laboratory Technician, Michigan State University, 2002–2003

Professional Affiliations

Society of Freshwater Science—SFS

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry—SETAC

  • National and Regional Ohio Valley Chapter

Project Experience

Designed and oversaw project that developed rankings for the effects of seven different chemical, biological, and physical stressors on stream structure and function, using 100+ laboratory mesocosms.

Investigated the mechanisms underlying the toxic effects of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (n TiO2) to freshwater phytoplankton. Examined algal physiology, competition with bacteria, and interactions with UV light and the effects of n-TiO2 on algal chlorophyll content.

Studied fate and effects of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in artificial stream mesocosms, and the relationships between concentrations of n-TiO2 in algal biofilms, algal biomass, and species diversity.

In collaboration with other scientists, reviewed the effects of room-temperature ionic liquids on aquatic organisms and published an invited paper on the topic.

Used standard acute toxicity tests to determine the toxicity of several room-temperature ionic liquids to freshwater algae, and examined the role of cell wall structure in determining toxicity.

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

American Midland Naturalist

Chemical Research in Toxicology


Ecological Applications

Ecology Letters

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Green Chemistry

News & Events


  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, 2009
  • B.S., Environmental Science and Management, Michigan State University, 2002


OSHA Certified 40-Hours of Training in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response