Faculty Directory
Neal Blair

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth and Planetary Sciences


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech A228
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-491-8790Email Neal Blair


Blair Lab Group


Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Ph.D. Organic Chemistry Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

B.S. Chemistry University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Research Interests

Research interests focus on the behavior of carbon on the Earth's surface. The pathways of organic carbon decomposition and sequestration as mediated by biological and physical processes in soils and sediments. This information is integrated into a conceptual model that describes the transformations of organic carbon as it moves across landscapes and the seafloor. Human impacts on this lateral portion of the C-cycle are considered.

Selected Publications

    Critical Transition in Critical Zone of Intensively Managed Landscapes.  Anthropocene (2018) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2018.04.002 (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.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-018-0439-9 (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) doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2017.09.008 (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: 128-145.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.

    Signals of watershed change preserved in organic carbon buried on the continental margin seaward of the Waipaoa River, New Zealand. Mar. Geol. (2013) 346: 355-365, (Leithold, E.L., Blair, N.E., Childress, L.B., Brulet, B.R., Marden, M., Orpin, A., Kuehl, S.A., and Alexander, C.R.),

    The Fate of Terrestrial Organic Carbon in the Marine Environment. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. (2012) 4, 401-423, doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-120709-142717 (N.E. Blair and R.C. Aller).

    Terrestrial Sources and Export of Particulate Organic Carbon in the Waipaoa Sedimentary System: Problems, Progress and Processes. Mar. Geol. (2010) 270, 108-118, doi:10.1016 /j.margeo.2009.10.016  (N.E. Blair, E.L. Leithold, H. Brackley, N. Trustrum, M. Page, and L. Childress).

    Dispersal and transformation of organic carbon across an episodic, high sediment discharge continental margin, Waipaoa sedimentary system, New Zealand. Mar. Geol. (2010) 270, 202-212, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2009.11.001 ( H.L. Brackley, L. Carter, N.A. Trustrum, N.E. Blair, E.L. Leithold, E.A. Canuel, J. Johnston and K.R. Tate).