Diane McKnight
Distinguished Professor • Co-Director, Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Program
Environmental Engineering • Engineering Science

Office: ECES 124


  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, MIT (1975)
  • M.S. Civil Engineering, MIT (1978)
  • Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, MIT (1979)

Honors and Distinctions:

  • John Dalton Medal, European Geophysical Union
  • American Geophysical Union, Hydrology Career Award
  • Distinguished Research Lectureship, CU-Boulder
  • US Geological Survey: Meritorious Service Award
  • American Geophysical Union: Fellow
  • National Academy of Engineering: Member
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: Fellow
  • Humic Sciences and Technology Conference XI: Honorary Chair
  • American Geophysical Union: Langbein Lecturer

Professional Affiliations:

  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  • American Geophysical Union
  • North American Benthological Society
  • American Chemical Society
  • Phycological Society of America


  • Limnology, aquatic ecology, reactive transport of metals and organic material in streams and rivers

Recent Publications:

  1. Kulkarni, H. V., Mladenov N., McKnight, D. M., Zheng, Y., Kirk, M. F., Nemergut, D. R. 2018. Dissolved fulvic acids from a high arsenic aquifer shuttle electrons to enhance microbial iron reduction. Science of the Total Environment, 615:1390-1395.
  2. McAdams, B. C., Aiken, G. R., McKnight, D. M., Arnold, W. A., Chin, Y-P. 2018. High Pressure Size Exclusion Chromatography (HPSEC) Determination of Dissolved Organic Matter Molecular Weight Revisited: Accounting for Changes in Stationary Phases, Analytical Standards, and Isolation Methods. Environ. Sci. Technol 52(2):722-730.
  3. Gooseff, M. N., Barrett, J. .E, Adams, B. J., Doran, P. T., Fountain, A. G., Lyons, W. B., McKnight, D. M., Priscu, J. C., Sokol, E. R., Takacs-Vesbach, C., Vandegehuchte, M. L., Virginia, R. A., Wall, D. H. 2017.  Decadal ecosystem response to an anomalous melt season in a polar desert in Antarctica. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1(9):1334-1338.
  4. Darling, J.P., Garland, D.D., Stanish, L.F., Esposito, R. M. M., Sokol, E. R., McKnight, D. M. 2017. Thermal autecology describes the occurrence patterns of four benthic diatoms in McMurdo Dry Valley streams. Polar Biology. doi.org/10.1007/s00300-017-2151-y.
  5. Rue, G. P., Rock, N. D., Gabor, R. S., Pitlick, J., Tfaily, M., McKnight, D. M. 2017. Concentration-discharge relationships during an extreme event: Contrasting behavior of solutes and changes to chemical quality of dissolved organic material in the Boulder Creek Watershed during the September 2013 flood. Water Resources Research. 53:5276-5297, DOI; 10.1002/2016WR019708.
  6. Khan, A. L., Wagner, S., Jaffe, R., Xian, P., Williams, M., Armstrong, R., McKnight, D. M. 2017. Dissolved black carbon in the global cryosphere: Concentrations and chemical signatures. Geophysical Research Letters. 44:6226-6234, DOI 10.1002/2017GL073485.
  7. Smith, H. J., Foster, R. A., McKnight, D. M., Lisle, J. T., Littmann, S., Kuypers, M. M. M., Foreman, C. M. 2017. Microbial formation of labile organic carbon in Antarctic glacial environments. Nature Geoscience. 10:356, D10.1038/NGEO2925.
  8. McKnight, Diane M. 2017. Debates: Hypothesis testing in hydrology: A view from the field: The value of hydrologic hypotheses in designing field studies and interpreting the results to advance hydrology. Water Resources Research. 53:1779-1783, DOI 10.1002/2016WR020050.
  9. Khan, A. L., Dierssen, H., Schwarz, J. P., Schmitt, C., Chlus, A., Hermanson, M., Painter, T. H., McKnight, D. M. 2017. Impacts of coal dust from an active mine on the spectral reflectance of Arctic surface snow in Svalbard, Norway. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 122:1767- 1778, DOI 10.1002/2016JD025757. 
  10. Miller,M. P., Boyer,E. W., McKnight, D. M. , Brown, M. G., Gabor, R. S., Hunsaker, C. T.,  Iavorivska, L., Inamdar, S., Johnson, D. W., Kaplan, L. A., Lin, H, , McDowell, W. H., Perdrial. J. N. 2016. Variation of organic matter quantity and quality in streams at Critical Zone Observatory watersheds, Water Resources Research 52, 82028216,doi:10.1002/2016WR018970.