Christopher Neill

ChrisNeillWho am I?

In addition to being an MBL Fellow, I am a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. I am the former Director of the Ecosystems Center and of the Brown-MBL Partnership. I have an appointment in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University. I teach in the MBL’s Semester in Environmental Science and I directed the environmental section of the Logan Science Journalism program from 2001 to 2014. I was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of São Paulo in 2007 and a Harvard University Bullard Fellow in 2010. My NSF-sponsored research in Brazil includes collaborators at MBL, the University of São Paulo, the Woods Hole Research Center, Brown University and the Institute for Amazon Environmental Research. I also led an NSF Partnership in International Research and Education project that forged collaboration among Brown, MBL and the Earth Institute at Columbia University to examine how the intensification of agriculture in East Africa influences human well-being, land use and the environment.

What do I do?

I investigate the ecological consequences of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, including how clearing alters runoff and the hydrologic cycle, soil fertility, emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from soils to the atmosphere and the water chemistry and ecological health of streams. I currently focus on trying to understand how the rapid intensification of cropland agriculture in regions of former Amazon forest will influence soils, stream waters and the global climate, and how agricultural practices could be modified to reduce environmental impacts through fertilizer management and protection of forest buffers along streams. I oversee the water quality analysis for the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Baywatchers program. I also investigate how biodiversity of coastal grasslands can be conserved and enhanced by conservation management and ecological restoration.

Why do I come to the MBL?

I maintain laboratory activities and active collaborations in the Ecosystems Center focused on the role of coastal land use, quantifying nitrogen runoff to Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts coastal waters, and conservation management of coastal grasslands.

What do I plan to do/work on at the MBL

I plan to collaborate with scientists at the Ecosystems Center to investigate controls on nitrogen loading to coastal ecosystems and how changes to river flows and rising estuarine temperatures influence estuarine water quality.