Professor of Environmental Science and Presidential Chair,
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire
Research in the McDowell lab focuses on understanding controls on biogeochemical cycles in streams, forests, and watersheds. Specifically, we study long-term changes in the water quality of forested, suburban, and urban watersheds in both temperate and tropical watersheds. Our primary long-term study sites include the Lamprey River and other suburban watersheds in southern New Hampshire, the Luquillo Experimental Forest and urban sites in Puerto Rico, and forested watersheds in New England and the Czech Republic. Understanding the impact of people on water quality, especially impacts on the nitrogen cycle, is a long-term goal in many of our research projects. Primary funding comes from the National Science Foundation, the EPA Clean Air Division, the USDA, and other Federal agencies.
2017 (In Review)
Designing a network of critical zone observatories to explore the living skin of the terrestrial Earth. Brantley, S.L., McDowell, W.H., Dietrich, W.E., White, T.S., Kumar, P., Anderson, S., Chorover, J., Lohse, K.A., Bales, R.C., Richter, D., Grant, G., and Gaillardet, J. (2017): Earth Surface Dynamics Cross-CZO National
Tropical river suspended sediment and solute dynamics in storms during an extreme drought. Clark, K.E., Shanley, J.B., Scholl, M.A., Perdrial, N., Perdrial, J.N., Plante, A.F., McDowell W.H. (2017): Water Resources Research
Limited uptake of nutrient input from sewage effluent in a tropical landscape. Figueroa-Nieves D., McDowell, W.H., Potter, J.D., Martínez, G. (2016): Freshwater Science
Variation of organic matter quantity and quality in streams at Critical Zone Observatory watersheds. Miller, Matthew P., Boyer, Elizabeth W., McKnight, Diane M., Brown, Michael G., Gabor, Rachel S., Hunsaker, Carolyn T., Iavorivska, Lidiia, Inamdar, Shreeram, Johnson, Dale W., Kaplan, Louis A., Lin, Henry, McDowell, William H., Perdrial, Julia N. (2016): Water Resources Research, 52 (10): 8202–8216 Cross-CZO
Impact of long-range transported African dust on cloud water chemistry at a tropical montane cloud forest in northeastern Puerto Rico. Valle-Díaz, C.J., E. Torres-Delgado, S.M. Colón-Santos, T. Lee, J.L. Collett Jr., W.H. McDowell, and O.L. Mayol-Bracero (2016): Aerosol and Air Quality Research
Reducing bias and quantifying uncertainty in watershed flux estimates: The R package loadflex . Appling A.P., Leon M.C., McDowell W.H. (2015): Ecosphere
Limited uptake on nutrient input from sewage effluent in a tropical landscape. Figueroa Nieves, D, McDowell, W. H., Potter. J.D. and Martinez, G. (2015): Freshwater Science
Urban Evolution: The Role of Water. Kaushal, S.S., McDowell, W.H., Wollheim, W.M., Newcomer Johnson, T.A., Mayer, P.M., Belt, K.T. and Pennino, M.J. (2015): Water
2015 (In Review)
African dust deposition in Puerto Rico; analysis of a 20 year rainfall chemistry record and comparison with models. McClintock, M.A., McDowell, W.H., Gonzalez, G., Schulz, M., and PettRidge, J.C. (2015): Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Chapter 2 – The Role of Critical Zone Observatories in Critical Zone Science. White T., Brantley S., Banwart S., Chorover J., Dietrich W., Derry L., Lohse K., Anderson S., Aufdendkampe A., Bales R., Kumar P., Richter D., McDowell B. (2015): Developments in Earth Surface Processes 19: 15–78 Cross-CZO National
Macrosystems ecology: understanding ecological patterns and processes at continental scales. Heffernan, J.B., Soranno, P.A., Angilletta, M.J., Buckley, L.B., Gruner, D.S., Keitt, T.H., Kellner, J.R., Kominoski, J.S., Rocha, A.V., Xiao, J., Harms, T.K., Goring, S.J., Koenig, L.E., McDowell, W.H., Powell, H., Richardson, A.D., Stow, C.A., Vargas, R. and Weathers, K.C. (2014): Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
Tracking evolution of urban biogeochemical cycles: past,present, and future. Kaushal, S.S., McDowell, W.H. and Wollheim, W.M. (2014): Biogeochemistry
Improving automated phosphorus measurements in freshwater: an analytical approach to eliminating silica interference. Koenig, L.E., A.J. Baumann, and W.H. McDowell (2014): Limnology and Oceanography: Methods. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods
NEON and STREON: opportunities and challenges for the aquatic sciences. McDowell, W.H. (2014): Freshwater Science
New high precision approach for measuring 15N–N2 gas fluxes from terrestrial ecosystems. Yang, W. H., W. C. McDowell, P. D. Brooks, and W. L. Silver (2014): Soil Biology and Biochemistry
When Wet Gets Wetter: Decoupling of Moisture, Redox Biogeochemistry, and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in a Humid Tropical Forest Soil. Hall, S.J., McDowell W.H., Silver W.L. (2013): Ecosystems
Interactions between lithology and biology drive the long-term response of stream chemistry to major hurricanes in a tropical landscape. McDowell, W.H., Brereton R.L., Scatena F.N. Shanley J.B., Brokaw N.V., Lugo A.E. (2013): Biogeochemistry
Incorporating urban infrastructure into biogeochemical assessment of urban tropical streams in Puerto Rico. Potter J.D., McDowell W.H., Helton A.M., Daley M.L. (2013): Biogeochemistry
Twelve testable hypotheses on the geobiology of weathering. Brantley, S.L., Megonigal, J.P., Scatena, F.N., Balogh-Brunstad, Z., Barnes, R.T., Bruns, M.A., Van Cappellen, P., Dontsova, K., Hartnett, H.E., Hartshorn, A.S., Heimsath, A., Herndon, E., Jin, L., Keller, C.K., Leake, J.R., McDowell, W.H., Meinzer, F.C., Mozdzer, T.J., Petsch, S, Pett-Ridge, J., Pregitzer, K.S., Raymond, P.A., Riebe, C.S., Shumaker, K., Sutton-Grier, A., Walter, R., and Yoo, K. (2011): Geobiology 9(2): 140-165, Cross-CZO National
Effects of chronic nitrogen additions on above- and belowground carbon dynamics in two tropical forests. Cusack, D. F., Silver, W. L., and McDowell, W. H. (2011): Biogeochemistry
Disturbance and long-term patterns of rainfall and throughfall nutrient fluxes in a subtropical forest in Puerto Rico. Heartsill-Scalley, T., Scatena, F.N., Estrada, C., McDowell, W.H., Lugo, A.E. (2007): Journal of Hydrology, 33:472-485
Effects of hurricane disturbance on stream water concentrations and fluxes in eight tropical forest watersheds of the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. Schaefer, D.A.; McDowell, W.H.; Scatena, F.N., and Asbury, C.E. (2000): Journal of Tropical Ecology
A nitrogen budget for late-successional hill slope tabonuco forest, Puerto Rico. Chestnut, T.J., D.J. Zarin, W.H. McDowell and M. Keller (1999): Biogeochemistry
Papers and books that explicitly acknowledge a CZO grant are highlighted in PALE ORANGE.
AGU Chapman Conference on Extreme Climate Event Impacts on Aquatic Biogeochemical Cycles and Fluxes. Inamdar, A. McDowell W.H., Shanley J.B., Minor E., Park, J. (2017): https://sites.google.com/a/udel.edu/chapmanece/home
Conference Program - AGU Chapman Conference on Extreme Climate Event Impacts on Aquatic Biogeochemical Cycles and Fluxes. Inamdar, S., McDowell W.H., Shanley J. B., Minor E., Park J. (2017): AGU Chapman Conference, San Juan, PR 2017 Cross-CZO National
Annual Report 2016 Luquillo CZO: The role of hot spots and hot moments in tropical landscape evolution and functioning of the critical zone. McDowell, W.H., González, G., Plante, A.F., Silver W.L. (2016): University of New Hampshire
Critical Zone Observatories: Platforms for Collaborative Science. White, T.S., McDowell, W.H., and Brantley, S.L. (2016): 2016 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA, 12-16 Dec.
Optimizing watershed flux estimates: the R package ‘loadflex’ . Appling A.P., Leon M.C., McDowell W.H. (2015): Society for Fresh Water Science
Common Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) Infrastructure and Measurements. J. Chorover, S. Anderson, A. K. Aufdenkampe, R. C. Bales, S. L. Brantley, W. Dietrich, P. Kumar, K. A. Lohse, W. McDowell, D. Richter, T. White (2015): A Guide Prepared By CZO PIs, May 05, 2015 Cross-CZO National
Annual Report 2015 Luquillo CZO: The role of hot spots and hot moments in tropical landscape evolution and functioning of the critical zone. McDowell, W.H., González, G., Plante, A.F., Silver W.L. (2015): University of New Hampshire
Identifying the Sources of Dissolved Organic Matter in Streams Using Elemental Analysis Isotopic Ratio Mass Spectroscopy (EA-IRMS) Across a Land Use Gradient. Adam Wymore,K arsten Kalbitz, Michelle Daley, Lauren Koenig,Shannen Miller,William McDowell (2014): AGU Fall Meeting. San Fransisco, CA
The impacts of urbanization on dissolved organic and inorganic carbon fluxes in a tropical watershed (oral presentation). Koenig, L.E., A. Ramirez, and W.H. McDowell (2014): Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2014 Portland, Oregon.
Linking CZO, LTER, and NEON- Putting Biology into the Critical Zone. William McDowell (2014): AGU Fall Meeting. San Fransisco, CA
Critical Zone Science and Observatories. Brantley, S.L., White, T.S., Anderson, S.P., Bales, R.C., Chorover, J., McDowell, W.H. (2013): Abstract TH15D-01 presented at 2013 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 9-13 Dec. Cross-CZO National
Chemical speciation of water soluble ions and metals of cloud and rain eater during the Puerto Rico African Dust and Clouds Study (PRADACS) Campaigns. Delgado, E.T. C.J. Valle Diaz, T. Lee, J. Collett, E. Fitzgerald, L. Cuadra, K.A. Prather, M.J. Sanchez, W.H. McDowell and O.L. Mayol-Bracer R. (2013): AGU Spring meeting
Soils and stream chemistry: When, where and why are they linked? . McDowell, W.H. (2013): European Geophysical Union Annual Meeting, Vienna, Austria
Carbon losses from the Critical Zone: Quantifying the effects of lithology and urbanization on concentrations of organic and inorganic carbon in coastal montane tropical rivers. McDowell, W.H., Scatena, F.N., Ramirez, A., Potter, J.D. (2013): SE Section Annual Meeting, Geological Society of America
Effects of catastrophic hurricane disturbance on the biogeochemistry of forested watersheds. McDowell, W.H. (2012): Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Just passing through --- high Hg deposition to Puerto Rico forest moves quickly off the landscape. Shanley, J. B, J.K. Willenbring, J. Kaste, M. Occhi, W.H. McDowell (2012): AGU Annual fall meeting
River incisition, sediment and solute transport
Linking Climate and fluxes at the landscape, channel and reach scales
01 May 2017 - CZO Newsletter CZNews: Spring 2017
11 Oct 2016 - CZO Newsletter CZNews: Fall 2016
09 Oct 2015 - About 60 Chinese and American critical zone scientists met in Guiyang, China for two days of discussions and presentations on the significance of...
01 Oct 2015 - The CZO National Office Newsletter CZNews: Fall 2015
10 Jun 2015 - CZO and AGI distribute a hands-on learning exercise on the "Connectivity of Global Ecosystems: The Influence of Dry Deserts on Tropical Rain Forests"
12 Sep 2014 - Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) is a long-term and in-depth look at the many factors that affect...
06 Jun 2013 - During the week of May 19, five faculty members interested in Critical Zone science traveled to Northfield, MN to participate in an InTeGrate...
01 Apr 2013 - CZO education and outreach team receives funding from NSF-sponsored InTeGrate project to develop an undergraduate course in Critical Zone science.
AGU Chapman Conference on Extreme Climate Event Impacts on Aquatic Biogeochemical Cycles and Fluxes
San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Town Hall: Critical Zone Observatories: Platforms for Collaborative Science
AGU Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Critical Zone Observatories/Long Term Ecological Research Network Collaboration
2015 LTER All Scientists Meeting- Estes Park, CO.