P. Suresh Rao

Lee A. Rieth Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering and Agronomy

Purdue University
Lyles School of Civil Engineering
550 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2051

Office: HAMP 3145B
Phone: (765) 496-6554

Specialty Area(s)

Research Summary
My inter-disciplinary research and graduate education programs in environmental/ecological sciences and engineering have covered diverse research interests that have spanned from lab-scale, process-level studies.

Current research and educational interests are focused on: (1) multi-scale modeling and analysis of landscape hydrologic and biogeochemical process linkages across human-impact gradients, including intensively managed croplands, urban catchments, and wetlandscapes, with pristine catchments serving as the reference; (2) resilience-based analysis of coupled natural and engineered complex systems, including food-bioenergy-water sustainability issues.

Past projects have involved development and use of models for research purposes and for decision making, with applications in catchment-scale water-quality analyses, and aquifer-scale studies on industrial land uses. assessments, groundwater vulnerability, contaminated site remediation, and watershed management.

Ph.D., University of Hawaii, 1974
M.S., Colorado State University, 1970
B.S., Agriculture University, India, 1967

Honors & Awards

  • Soil Science Research Award, Soil Science Society of America (1998)

  • Appointed University of Florida Research Foundation Professor (1998)

  • Sir Frederick McMaster Fellow, Council of Industrial and Research Organizations, Australia (1996)

  • Appointed Graduate Research Professor, University of Florida (1993)

  • Distinguished Faculty Service Award, University of Florida (1992)

  • Environmental Quality Research Award, American Society of Agronomy (1991)

  • Scientific & Technology Achievement Award, U.S. EPA (1990)

  • Research Achievement Award, University of Florida (1990)

  • Fellow, Soil Science Society of America (1989)

  • Fellow, American Society of Agronomy (1989)

  • Appointed Lee A. Rieth Distinguished Professor, Purdue University (1991)

  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union (2007)

  • Distinguished Alumni Research Award, College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, University of Hawaii (May 2009)


  • Basu, N.B., G. Destouni, J.W. Jawitz, S.E. Thompson, N.V. Loukinova, A. Darracq, S. Zanardo, M. Yaeger, M. Sivapalan, A. Rinaldo, and P.S.C. Rao. 2010. "Nutrient Loads Exported from Managed Catchments Reveal Emergent Biogeochemical Stationarity" (2010GL045168), Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 37, GL045168

  • Basu, N.B., P.S.C. Rao, H.E. Winzler, P. Owens, and V. Merwade. 2010. Parsimonious modeling of hydrologic responses in engineered watersheds: Structural heterogeneity versus functional homogeneity. Water Resources Research, Vol. 46, W04501

  • Botter, G., NB Basu, S Zanardo, PSC Rao, and A Rinaldo, 2010. Climatic, hydrologic and biogeochemical controls on nutrient losses in streams, Water Resources Research, Vol. 46, W08509

  • Mu DY, Seager T, Rao PSC, Park, J, and Zhao, F, 2010. Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Ligno-cellulosic Ethanol Production: Biochemical Versus Thermochemical Conversion, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, 46(4), 565-578.

  • Mu DY, Seager T, Rao PSC, and Zhao, F, 2010. A Resilience Perspective of Biofuels Production, INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT & MANAGEMENT (In Press)

  • Brooks, MC, Wood, AL, Annable, MD, Hatfield, K, Cho, J, Holbert, C, Rao, PSC, Enfield, C, Lynch, K, and Smith, R. 2008. Changes in contaminant mass discharge from DNAPL source mass depletion: Evaluation at two field sites. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 102(1-2): 140-153.

  • Basu, NB, Rao, PSC, Poyer, IC, Nandy, S, Mallavarupu, M, Naidu, R, Davis, GB, and Patterson, B. 2009. Integration of traditional and innovative characterization techniques for flux-based assessment of dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) sites. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 105(3-4):161-172.

  • Basu, NB, Rao PSC, Falta RW, Annable, MD, Jawitz, JW, and Hatfield, K. 2008. Temporal evolution of DNAPL source and contaminant flux distribution: Impacts of source mass depletion. JOURNAL OF CONTAMINANT HYDROLOGY, 95(3-4): 93-109.