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Neal Blair

Professor, Joint Appointment in Civil & Environmental Engineering

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


My research focuses on the biogeochemical transformations of carbon with an emphasis on the sources and fates of organic carbon on the Earth’s surface. Current projects involve the characterization and tracking of organic matter as it moves across landscapes to sites of sequestration such as floodplains, reservoirs and the ocean. Our group is currently a participant in the Intensively Managed Landscape Critical Zone Observatory that seeks to understand the impacts of humans on the Critical Zone. Biogenic methane production is also a specialty of our lab and microbial cycling of carbon in soils and sediments is of interest.


EARTH 106: The Ocean, The Atmosphere and Our Climate
CIV_ENV 203: Earth in the Anthropocene
EARTH 314: Organic Geochemistry
EARTH 371: Biogeochemistry (previously EARTH 317)

Selected Publications

The Intensively Managed Landscape Critical Zone Observatory: A Scientific Testbed for Understanding Critical Zone Processes in Agroecosystems. Vadose Zone J., (2018) doi:10.2136/vzj2018.04.0088. (Wilson, C., Abban, B., Keefer, L., Wacha, K., Dermisis, D., Giannopoulos, C., Zhou, S.,  Goodwell, A.E., Woo, D.K., Yan, Q., Ghadiri, M., Stumpf, A., Pitcel, M., Lin, Y-F., Marini, L., Storsved, B., Goff, K., Vogelgsang, J., Dere, A., Schilling, K.E., Muste, M., Blair, N.E., Rhoads, B., Bettis, A., Pai, H., Kratt, C.,  Sladek, C., Wing, M., Selker, J., Tyler, S., Lin, H., Kumar, P., and Papanicolaou, A.N.T.)

Critical Transition in Critical Zone of Intensively Managed LandscapesAnthropocene (2018) (Kumar, P., Le, P.V.V., Papanicolaou, T., Rhoads, B.L., Anders, A.M., Stumpf, A., Wilson, C.G., Bettis, E.A. III, Blair, N., Ward, A.S., Filley, T., Lin, H., Keefer, L., Keefer, D.A., Lin, Y-F., Muste, M., Royer, T.V., Foufoula-Georgiou, E., Belmont, P.).

The C-biogeochemistry of a Midwestern USA agricultural impoundment in context: Lake Decatur in the Intensively Managed Landscape Critical Zone Observatory.  Biogeochemistry (2018) 138:171-195. (Blair, N.E., Leithold, E.L., Papanicolaou, A.N.T., Wilson, C.G., Keefer, L., Kirton, E., Vinson, D., Schnoebelen, D., Rhoads, B., Yu, M., Lewis, Q.).

Centers of Organic Carbon Burial and Oxidation at the Land-Ocean Interface. Organic Geochemistry (2017) (Bianchi, T.S., Cui, X., Blair, N.E., Burdige, D.J., Eglinton, T.I., Galy, V.).

Microbial methane from in situ biodegradation of coal and shale: A review and reevaluation of hydrogen and carbon isotope signatures. Chemical Geology (2017) 453: 128-145doi: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 GarnetAmerican 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.

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