Bill McDowell

Phone: (603) 862-2249
Office: Natural Resources & the Environment, James Hall Rm 170, Durham, NH 03824

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 biomes. 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, the Czech Republic, and Siberia. 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 USGS, the USDA, and other Federal agencies.

Faculty Award Winner

Award Type:  Distinguished Professor
Year:  2017

Award Type:  Presidential Chair
Year:  2008


  • Ph.D., Ecology, Cornell University
  • B.A., Biology, Amherst College

Research Interests

  • Aquatic Ecosystem
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Environmental Sciences

Courses Taught

  • NR 703/803: Watershed Water Quality Mgt
  • NR 795W: Inv/Watershed Management
  • NR 947: Ecosystem Science

Selected Publications

Coble, A. A., Wymore, A. S., Potter, J. D., & McDowell, W. H. (2022). Land Use Overrides Stream Order and Season in Driving Dissolved Organic Matter Dynamics Throughout the Year in a River Network.. Environ Sci Technol. doi:10.1021/acs.est.1c06305

Wymore, A. S., Bourakovsky, A., Fazekas, H. M., Marks, J. C., & McDowell, W. H. (2022). Influence of watershed suburbanization on leaf litter decomposition and microbial activity. HYDROBIOLOGIA, 849(1), 245-260. doi:10.1007/s10750-021-04724-5

Rodriguez-Cardona, B. M., Wymore, A. S., Argerich, A., Barnes, R. T., Bernal, S., Brookshire, E. N. J., . . . McDowell, W. H. (2022). Shifting stoichiometry: Long-term trends in stream-dissolved organic matter reveal altered C:N ratios due to history of atmospheric acid deposition. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY, 28(1), 98-114. doi:10.1111/gcb.15965

Fazekas, H. M., McDowell, W. H., Shanley, J. B., & Wymore, A. S. (2021). Climate Variability Drives Watersheds Along a Transporter-Transformer Continuum. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 48(21). doi:10.1029/2021GL094050

Pesantez, J., Birkel, C., Mosquera, G. M., Pena, P., Arizaga-Idrovo, V., Mora, E., . . . Crespo, P. (2021). High-frequency multi-solute calibration using an in situ UV-visible sensor. HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES, 35(9). doi:10.1002/hyp.14357

Cole, J. J., Prairie, Y. T., Caraco, N. F., McDowell, W. H., Tranvik, L. J., Striegl, R. G., . . . Melack, J. (2007). Plumbing the global carbon cycle: Integrating inland waters into the terrestrial carbon budget. ECOSYSTEMS, 10(1), 171-184. doi:10.1007/s10021-006-9013-8

Downing, J. A., Prairie, Y. T., Cole, J. J., Duarte, C. M., Tranvik, L. J., Striegl, R. G., . . . Middelburg, J. J. (2006). The global abundance and size distribution of lakes, ponds, and impoundments. LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, 51(5), 2388-2397. doi:10.4319/lo.2006.51.5.2388

McClain, M. E., Boyer, E. W., Dent, C. L., Gergel, S. E., Grimm, N. B., Groffman, P. M., . . . Pinay, G. (2003). Biogeochemical hot spots and hot moments at the interface of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. ECOSYSTEMS, 6(4), 301-312. doi:10.1007/s10021-003-0161-9

Peterson, B. J., Wollheim, W. M., Mulholland, P. J., Webster, J. R., Meyer, J. L., Tank, J. L., . . . Morrall, D. D. (2001). Control of nitrogen export from watersheds by headwater streams. SCIENCE, 292(5514), 86-90. doi:10.1126/science.1056874

Aber, J., McDowell, W., Nadelhoffer, K., Magill, A., Berntson, G., Kamakea, M., . . . Fernandez, I. (1998). Nitrogen saturation in temperate forest ecosystems - Hypotheses revisited. BIOSCIENCE, 48(11), 921-934. doi:10.2307/1313296

Most Cited Publications