Neal Blair

Neal Blair

Joint Appointment in Civil
& Environmental Engineering
Email: n-blair at
Location: Tech A228

Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, Stanford University
B.S. Chemistry, University of Maryland

Research Website


The cycling of the element carbon is fundamentally important to the functioning of our planet. My research has focused on the biogeochemical transformations of carbon with an emphasis on process-oriented studies of the evolution and fate of organic matter in surficial environments. Methanogenesis, methane oxidation, and the influence of macrofauna on organic carbon turnover are some of the processes that have been investigated in field areas ranging from the North Carolina slope to the Amazon shelf.

Delineating the transformations of carbon from source (mountains) to sink (marine sediments) in small watershed systems ranging from Northern California to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand is a recent focus of research. Understanding what controls the persistence and/or breakdown of organic species in the environment is the major impetus for this work.


EARTH 106: The Ocean, The Atmosphere and Our Climate
EARTH 314: Organic Geochemistry
EARTH 317: Biogeochemistry

Selected Publications

Contribution of fungal macromolecules to soil carbon sequestration. In Soil Carbon (2014), Book Series: Progress in Soil Science, (Eds: Alfred Hartemink and Kevin McSweeney), doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-04084-4_16 (Schreiner, K.M., Blair, N.E., Egerton-Warburton, L., Levinson, W.J.), Springer Press, pp 155-161.

Impacts of watershed processes on exported riverine organic carbon. In Biogeochemical Dynamics at Large River-Coastal Interfaces: Linkages with Global Climate Change (2014)
(Eds: Thomas S. Bianchi, Mead A. Allison, and Wei-Jun Cai), (N. Blair and E. Leithold), Cambridge University Press.

Signals of watershed change preserved in organic carbon buried on the continental margin seaward of the Waipaoa River, New Zealand. Mar. Geol. (2013) 346: 355-365, (Leithold, E.L., Blair, N.E., Childress, L.B., Brulet, B.R., Marden, M., Orpin, A., Kuehl, S.A., and Alexander, C.R.),

The Fate of Terrestrial Organic Carbon in the Marine Environment. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. (2012) 4, 401-423, doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-120709-142717 (N.E. Blair and R.C. Aller).

Carbon remineralization in the Amazon-Guianas tropical mobile mudbelt: a sedimentary incinerator. Continent. Shelf Res.(2006) doi 10.1016/j.csr.2006.07.016 (R.C. Aller and N.E. Blair).

Research Interests

  • Development of novel stable isotope and radiocarbon tools to study carbon-cycling processes


>> See all events

October 28, 2016, 3:00 PM
EPS Fall Seminar Series: It’s a Gas! Gas! Gas! A New Look at the Role of Iron in the Ancient Greenhouse

November 4, 2014