Dragos G. Zaharescu

PhD, Biogeochemistry and Climate Change, Vigo University, Spain, 2011
MS, Marine Biology, Vigo University, Spain, 2004
Title & Affiliation: 
Former Postdoctoral Research Associate, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona
Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, Georgia Institute of Technology


Dr. Zaharescu is a researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and a long-time collaborator of Biosphere 2. He has mastered the art of creating experiments that are both, innovative in the scientific approach to the study of life-rock interactions, while also providing an excellent platform for public engagement and outreach. He corroborates experiments at micron- to organismal scale with exploratory landscape-scale studies to help better understand the coevolution of Biosphere and its life-support system. He has recently embarked on an unprecedented effort to experimentally test the origin of oxidative weathering by cyanobacteria- the first photosynthetic organisms, and the raise of an oxygen-based atmosphere during the Archean Earth (3.5 billion years ago). In his free time he loves as much diving as incorporating sustainable solutions in his daily life.

For collaboration

Research GateAcademia and LinkedIn 


Model Systems



2020 (Published)

Biological Weathering in the Terrestrial System . Zaharescu, D., Burghelea, C., Dontsova, K., Reinhard, C., Chorover, J., Lybrand, R. (2020): In Biogeochemical Cycles (eds K. Dontsova, Z. Balogh‐Brunstad and G. Le Roux).

2019 (Published)

Ecosystem-bedrock interaction changes nutrient compartmentalization during early oxidative weathering . Zaharescu, D. G., Burghelea, C. I., Dontsova, K., Presler, J. K., Hunt, E. A., Domanik, K. J., Amistadi, M. K., Sandhaus, S., Munoz, E. N., Gaddis, E. E., Galey, M., Vaquera-Ibarra, M. O., Palacios-Menendez, M. A., Castrejón-Martinez, R., Roldán-Nicolau, E. C., Li, K., Maier, R. M., Reinhard, C. T., Chorover, J. (2019): Scientific Reports 9: 15006.

2018 (Published)

Trace element mobilization during incipient bioweathering of four rock types . Burghelea, C. I., Dontsova, K., Zaharescu, D. G., Maier, R. M., Huxman, T., Amistadi, M. K., Hunt, E., Chorover, J. (2018): Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 234: 98-114.

2017 (Published)

Ecosystem Composition Controls the Fate of Rare Earth Elements during Incipient Soil Genesis . Zaharescu, D. G., Burghelea, C. I., Dontsova, K., Presler, J. K., Maier, R. M., Huxman, T., Domanik, K. J., Hunt, E. A., Amistadi, M. K., Gaddis, E. E., Palacios-Menendez, M. A., Vaquera-Ibarra, M. O. and Chorover, J. (2017): Scientific Reports 7: 43208.

2017 (Published)

Riparian vegetation in the alpine connectome: Terrestrial-aquatic and terrestrial-terrestrial interactions . Zaharescu, D. G., Palanca-Soler, A., Hooda, P. S., Tanase, C., Burghelea, C. I., Lester, R. N. (2017): Science of The Total Environment 601-602: 247-259.

2016 (Published)

Climate change enhances the mobilisation of naturally occurring metals in high altitude environments . Zaharescu, D. G., Hooda, P. S., Burghelea, C. I., Polyakov, V., Palanca-Soler, A. (2016): Science of The Total Environment 560: 73-81.

2016 (Published)

Small lakes in big landscape: Multi-scale drivers of littoral ecosystem in alpine lakes . Zaharescu, D. G., Burghelea, C. I., Hooda, P. S., Lester R. N., Palanca-Soler, A. (2016): Science of The Total Environment 551: 496–505.

2016 (Published)

A Multiscale Framework for Deconstructing the Ecosystem Physical Template of High-Altitude Lakes . Zaharescu, D.G., Hooda, P.S., Burghelea, C.I., Palanca-Soler, A. (2016): Ecosystems 19:1064.

2015 (Published)

Mineral nutrient mobilization by plants from rock: influence of rock type and arbuscular mycorrhiza . Burghelea, C., Zaharescu, D. G., Dontsova, K., Maier, R., Huxman, T., Chorover J. (2015): Biogeochemistry 124(1): 187-203.

2014 (Published)

Impact of organic carbon on weathering and chemical denudation of granular basalt . Dontsova, K., Zaharescu, D., Henderson, W., Verghese, S., Perdrial, N., Hunt, E., Chorover, J. (2014): Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 139: 508–526.

2014 (Published)

Cracking the Code of Soil Genesis. The Early Role of Rare Earth Elements . Zaharescu, D., Dontsova, K., Burghelea, C., Maier, R., Huxman, T., Chorover, J. (2014): Abstract B32D-03 presented at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 15-19 Dec.