Photo of Eric Davidson


Eric Davidson

Eric Davidson
Appalachian Laboratory


Eric A. Davidson is Professor at the Appalachian Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Frostburg, MD. He served as Director from 2015 to 2021. Previously, he was a Senior Scientist and served a term as President and Executive Director at the Woods Hole Research Center, Woods Hole, MA. His research in biogeochemistry includes the exchange of plant nutrients from the land to streams and groundwater and the exchange of greenhouse gases between the soil and the atmosphere. He works in a variety of ecosystems, including forests and agricultural lands in North and South America. Davidson holds a Ph.D. in forestry from North Carolina State University and held post-doctoral positions in soil microbiology and biogeochemistry at the UC-Berkeley and the NASA Ames Research Center. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and he is Fellow and Past-President of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He is the AGU Ethics Chair and a senior editor of AGU Advances. In addition to his earlier book, You Can’t Eat GNP, which explores the links between economics and ecology for students and laypersons, Davidson has published a new book in 2022, Science for a Green New Deal: Connecting Climate, Economics, and Social Justice. He completed a Jefferson Science Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences, for which he worked as a science advisor to the Office of Environmental Quality at the U.S. Department of State.

Areas of Expertise

  • Science input to environmental policy at the U.S. State Department
  • Biogeochemical effects of land-use change and land management
  • The global nitrogen cycle, including the global nitrous oxide budget
  • Soil microbial processes of nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas fluxes
  • Leaching of plant nutrients to streams and groundwater
  • Interdisciplinary studies of nitrogen management in agriculture
  • Interactions of C, N, P, and other nutrient cycles in terrestrial ecosystems
  • Land-water-atmosphere exchanges of greenhouse gases and nutrients
  • Temperature sensitivity of soil organic matter decomposition
  • Modeling soil microbial processes


  • North Carolina State University, 1986, Ph.D., Forestry
  • Oberlin College, 1978, B.A., Biology

Lab News

Potent greenhouse gas produced by industry could be readily abated with existing technologies

Researchers have found that one method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is available, affordable, and capable of being implemented right now. Nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance, could be readily abated with existing technology applied to industrial sources.

Eric Davidson named Jefferson Science Fellow

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Professor and Appalachian Laboratory Director Eric A. Davidson, an international leader in global nitrogen cycle research, has been named a Jefferson Science Fellow.

Improving our understanding of greenhouse gases consumed and produced in soils

With soils contributing almost one quarter of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, researchers expanded the DAMM model to better understand microsite soil production and consumption of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, is on the rise

A new study from an international group of scientists finds we are releasing more of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide into the atmosphere than previously thought. Agricultural practices and nitrogen-rich fertilizers have significantly increased the amount of nitrous oxide emissions in the atmosphere.

Avoiding Pollution Swapping while Reducing Agricultural Runoff of Nitrogen to the Chesapeake Bay

A team of UMCES researchers are trying to figure out the best management practices for reducing runoff from farm land.