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 803: Watershed Water Quality Mgt
  • NR 947: Ecosystem Science

Selected Publications

Wymore, A. S., Johnes, P. J., Bernal, S., Brookshire, E. N. J., Fazekas, H. M., Helton, A. M., . . . McDowell, W. H. (n.d.). RH: Stream nitrogen composition Gradients of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment alter N composition and DOM stoichiometry in freshwater ecosystems. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. doi:10.1029/2021gb006953

Wang, G., Xia, X., Liu, S., Zhang, S., Yan, W., & McDowell, W. H. (2021). Distinctive Patterns and Controls of Nitrous Oxide Concentrations and Fluxes from Urban Inland Waters.. Environ Sci Technol, 55(12), 8422-8431. doi:10.1021/acs.est.1c00647

Gómez-Gener, L., Rocher-Ros, G., Battin, T., Cohen, M. J., Dalmagro, H. J., Dinsmore, K. J., . . . Sponseller, R. A. (2021). Global carbon dioxide efflux from rivers enhanced by high nocturnal emissions. Nature Geoscience, 14(5), 289-294. doi:10.1038/s41561-021-00722-3

Grande, A., Schmidt, A. H., Bierman, P. R., Corbett, L. B., López-Lloreda, C., Willenbring, J., . . . Caffee, M. W. (2021). Landslides, hurricanes, and sediment sourcing impact basin-scale erosion estimates in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 562, 116821. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2021.116821

Wymore, A. S., Shattuck, M. D., Potter, J. D., Snyder, L., & McDowell, W. H. (2021). The Lamprey River Hydrological Observatory: Suburbanization and changing seasonality. Hydrological Processes, 35(4). doi:10.1002/hyp.14131

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