Photo of Eric Davidson

Administrator / Faculty

Eric Davidson

Director and Professor
Eric Davidson
Director and Professor
Appalachian Laboratory


Eric A. Davidson is Director and Professor at the Appalachian Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Frostburg, MD. 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. He served as the Coordinator of the North American Center for the International Nitrogen Initiative and is the leader of a Research Coordination Network on Reactive Nitrogen in the Environment. Davidson has written a popular book, You Can’t Eat GNP, which explores the links between economics and ecology for students and laypersons.

Areas of Expertise

  • 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

Recent Publications

Lab News

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.