Research Staff

Eric Davidson, Ph.D.

Adjunct Senior Scientist
Woods Hole Research Center
149 Woods Hole Road
Falmouth, MA 02540-1644


Ph.D. - North Carolina State University
1986, Department of Forestry
Dissertation: Gaseous Nitrogen Losses from Two Forested Watersheds via Nitrification and Denitrification.

NSF Graduate Fellow

B.A. - Oberlin College
1978, Highest Honors in Biology; Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Experience

  • 2011 - 2013: President and Executive Director, Woods Hole Research Center
  • 1999 - 2011: Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center
  • 1994 - 1998: Associate Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center
  • 1991 - 1993: Assistant Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center
  • 1989 - 1991: National Research Council Associate, NASA Ames Research Center
  • 1986 - 1989: Post Doctorate Research Associate in Soil Microbiology. Dept. of Plant and Soil Biology, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1979 - 1981: Peace Corps Volunteer. Public health project in Zaire.

Research Interests

Biogeochemistry and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, including the effects of management, land use change, and climatic change on soil C and N stocks, trace gas emissions from soils, and leaching of plant nutrients to streams and groundwater. Current study areas include the Brazilian Amazon Basin and Cerrado region and the forests of New England.

Books and Booklets

Sutton M.A., Bleeker A., Howard C.M., Bekunda M., Grizzetti B., de Vries W., van Grinsven H.J.M., Abrol Y.P., Adhya T.K., Billen G.,. Davidson E.A, Datta A., Diaz R., Erisman J.W., Liu X.J., Oenema O., Palm C., Raghuram N., Reis S., Scholz R.W., Sims T., Westhoek H. & Zhang F.S. 2013. Our Nutrient World: The challenge to produce more food and energy with less pollution. United Nations Environment Programme. View UNEP report.

Suddick, E.C., and E.A. Davidson. 2012. The Role of Nitrogen in Climate Change and the Impacts of Nitrogen-Climate Interactions on Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems, Agriculture, and Human Health in the United States: A Technical Report Submitted to the US National Climate Assessment. North American Nitrogen Center of the International Nitrogen Initiative (NANC-INI). Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA. View Report.

Davidson, E.A. 2000. You Can't Eat GNP. Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, MA, 247pp.

Selected publications

Savage, K.E., W.J. Parton, E.A. Davidson, S.E. Trumbore, and S.D. Frey. 2013. Long-term changes in forest carbon under temperature and nitrogen amendments in a temperate northern hardwood forest. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.12224

Savage, K.E., E.A. Davidson, and J. Tang. 2013. Diel patterns of autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration among phenological stages. Global Change Biology, 19: 1151–1159. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12108.

Neill, C., M.T. Coe, S.H. Riskin, A.V. Krusche, H. Elsenbeer, M.N. Macedo, R. McHorney, P. Lefebvre, E.A. Davidson, R. Scheffler, A.M. e Silva Figueira, S. Porder, and L.A. Deegan. 2013. Watershed responses to Amazon soya bean cropland expansion and intensification. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 368:20120425.

Davidson, E.A. 2012. Representative concentration pathways and mitigation scenarios for nitrous oxide. Environmental Research Letters 7, 024005. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024005.

Davidson, E.A., A.C. de Araújo, P. Artaxo, J.K. Balch, I.F. Brown, M.M.C. Bustamante, M.T. Coe, R.S. DeFries, M. Keller, M. Longo, J.W. Munger, W. Schroeder, B.S. Soares-Filho, C.M. Souza Jr, and S.C. Wofsy. 2012. The Amazon basin in transition. Nature, 481:321-328. View Nature Article

Davidson, E.A., M. B. David, J. N. Galloway, C. L. Goodale, R. Haeuber, J. A. Harrison, R. W. Howarth, D. B. Jaynes, R. R. Lowrance, B. T. Nolan, J. L. Peel, R. W. Pinder, E. Porter, C. S. Snyder, A. R. Townsend, and M. H. Ward. 2012. Excess nitrogen in the U.S. environment: trends, risks, and solutions. Issues in Ecology, Report Number 15, Ecological Society of America. View Issues in Ecology Report

Davidson, E.A., S. Samanta, S. S. Caramori, and K.E. Savage. 2012. The Dual Arrhenius and Michaelis-Menten (DAMM) kinetics model for decomposition of soil organic matter at hourly to seasonal time scales. Global Change Biology, 18, 371–384.

Pinder, R.W., E.A. Davidson, C.L. Goodale, T.L. Greaver, J.D. Herrick, and L. Liu. 2012. Climate change impacts of US reactive nitrogen. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109:7671-7675. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1114243109.

Reay, D.S., E.A. Davidson, K.A. Smith, P. Smith, J.M. Melillo, F. Dentener, and P.J. Crutzen. 2012. Global agriculture and nitrous oxide emissions. Nature Climate Change 2:410–416. doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1458

Schipper, L.A., A.J. Gold, and E.A. Davidson. 2010. Managing denitrification in human-dominated landscapes. Ecological Engineering, 36: 1503–1506.

Bobbink, R. Hicks, K., Galloway, J., Spranger, T., Alkemade, R., Ashmore, M., Bustamante, M., Cinderby, S., Davidson, E., Dentener, F., Emmett, B., Erisman, J.W., Fenn, M., Gilliam, F., Nordin, A., Pardo, L., and De Vries, W. 2010. Global assessment of nitrogen deposition effects on terrestrial plant diversity: a synthesis. Ecological Applications, 20:30–59.

Almeida, A.S. de, Stone, T.A., Vieira, I.C.G., and Davidson, E.A., 2010. Non-frontier deforestation in the eastern Amazon. Earth Interactions, 14:1. DOI: 10.1175/2009EI290.1

Davidson, E.A. 2009. Contribution of manure and fertilizer nitrogen to increasing atmospheric nitrous oxide since 1860. Nature Geoscience, 2:659-662.

Savage, K.E., Davidson, E.A., Richardson, A. and Hollinger, D. Y. 2009. Three scales of temporal resolution from automated soil respiration. Agr. Forest Meterol. 149: 2012-2021.

Davidson EA, Dail BD, Chorover J. 2008. Iron interference in the quantification of nitrate in soil extracts and its effect on hypothesized abiotic immobilization of nitrate. Biogeochemistry, 90:65–73.

Davidson, E.A., Nepstad, D.C., Ishida, F.Y., and Bando. P.M. 2008. Effects of an experimental drought and recovery on soil emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and nitric oxide in a moist tropical forest. Global Change Biology, 14, 2582–2590.

Davidson, E. A., G. P. Asner, T. A. Stone, C. Neill, and R. O. Figueiredo. 2008. Objective indicators of pasture degradation from spectral mixture analysis of Landsat imagery, J. Geophys. Res., 113, G00B03, doi:10.1029/2007JG000622.

Davidson, E.A., T.D. de A. Sá, C. J.R. Carvalho, R.O. Figueiredo, M.S.A. Kato, O.R. Kato, F.Y. Ishida. 2008. An integrated greenhouse gas assessment of an alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture in eastern Amazonia. Global Change Biology 14:998–1007.

Davidson, E.A., C.J.R. de Carvalho, A.M. Figueira, F.Y. Ishida, J.P.B. Ometto, G.B. Nardoto, R.T. Sabá, S.N. Hayashi, E.C. Leal, I.C.G. Vieira, and L.A. Martinelli. 2007. Recuperation of nitrogen cycling in Amazonian forests following agricultural abandonment. Nature 447:995-998.

Davidson, E.A. and I. Janssens. 2006. Temperature sensitivity of soil carbon decomposition and feedbacks to climate change. Nature 440:165-173.

Davidson, E.A. and S. Seitzinger. 2006. The enigma of progress in denitrification research. Ecol. Appl. 16:2057-2063.

Davidson, E.A., I. Janssens, and Y. Luo. 2006. On the variability of respiration in terrestrial ecosystems: moving beyond Q10. Global Change Biology 12:154-164.

Davidson E. A., A. D. Richardson, K. E. Savage, and D. Y. Hollinger. 2006. A distinct seasonal pattern of the ratio of soil respiration to total ecosystem respiration in a spruce-dominated forest. Global Change Biology 12: 230-239.

Davidson, E.A., Neill, C. Krusch, A.V., Ballester, V.V.R., Markewitz, D. and Figueiredo, O. 2004. Loss of nutrients from terrestrial ecosystems to streams and the atmosphere following land use change in Amazonia. pp. 147- 158 In: DeFries, R., Asner, G., and Houghton R. (eds.), Ecosystems and Land Use Change. Geophysical Monograph Series 153, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.

Achievements and Awards

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science -- 2011

President, Biogeosciences section of the American Geophysical Union -- 2013 to present

North American Coordinator, International Nitrogen Initiative, 2010 to present

Senior Subject Editor, Global Change Biology, June 2001-2011

Project Scientist, NASA-LBA-ECO project, 2008-2011

Lead PI – NSF Research Coordination Network on Denitrification, 2008 to 2011

Lead PI – NSF Research Coordination Network on Reactive Nitrogen, 2011 to present

ISI Highly Cited Researcher, 2007

Blogs as WHRC President