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

Curriculum Vitae | Research Website


My research focuses on the biogeochemical transformations of carbon with an emphasis on the fate of organic carbon in surface environments such assoils and sediments. Current projects involve the characterization and tracking of organic matter across landscapes with an emphasis on resolving the fate of eroded material. One application is the study of the evolution of organic carbon as particles move from exposed bedrock on land to burial in reservoirs and the ocean. Novel applications of carbon isotopic measurements, pyrolysis and spectroscopic methods are key elements of this research. The role of soil fungi in the sequestration of organic matter is being investigated. Isotopic probes of methanogenic pathways are another focus of research.


EARTH 106: The Ocean, The Atmosphere and Our Climate
EARTH 203: Energy and the Environment
EARTH 314: Organic Geochemistry
EARTH 317: Biogeochemistry

Selected Publications

Microbial methane from in situ biodegradation of coal and shale: A review and reevaluation of hydrogen and carbon isotope signatures. Chemical Geology (2017) 453: 128-145. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2017.01.027 (Vinson, D.S., Blair, N.E., Martini, A., Larter, S., Orem, W.H., McIntosh, J.C.).

A Source to Sink Perspective of the Waipaoa River Margin.  Earth-Science Reviews (2016) doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2015.10.001. (Kuehl, S.A., Alexander, C.R., Blair, N.E., Harris, C.K., Marsaglia, K.M., Ogston, A.S., Orpin, A.R., Roering, J.J., Bever, A.J., Bilderback, E.L., Carter, L., Cerovski-Darriau, C., Childress, L.B., Corbett, D.R., Hale, R.P., Leithold, E.L., Litchfield, N., Moriarty, J.M., Page, M.J., Pierce, L.E.R., Upton, P. and Walsh, J.P.).

Source to Sink Sedimentary Systems and Global Organic Carbon Burial: A River Runs Through It. Earth-Science Reviews (2016) doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2015.10.011 (Leithold, E.L., N. E. Blair, K.W. Wegmann).

Quantification of Water in Majorite Garnet. American Mineralogist (2015) 100:1084-1092, (Thomas, S.-M., Wilson, K., Koch-Müller, M., Hauri, E.H., McCammon, C., Jacobsen, S.D., Lazarz, J., Rhede, D., Ren, M., Blair, N., Lenz, S.).

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.

Research Interests

  • Development of novel stable isotope and radiocarbon tools to study carbon-cycling processes
March 28, 2017