Diane McKnight
Professor • Director of Center for Water, Earth Science and Technology

Department: Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering

Education: B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1975, 1978, 1979)
Teaching: CVEN 3434 Applied Ecology, CVEN 5323 Applied Stream Ecology
Research: Aquatic Ecology, Limnology, Reactive transport of metals and organic material in streams and rivers

Office: S254C

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
  • John Dalton Medal, European Geophysical Union
  • Hydrology Career Award, American Geophysical Union
  • Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado-Boulder
  • Robert Horton Medal, American Geophysical Union
  • Society of Freshwater Science
  • International Humic Substances Society

Recent Publications:
** denotes work done in collaboration with graduate students
* denotes work done in collaboration with undergraduate students

  • Egan, J. K., McKnight, D. M., Bowman, M. M., SanClements, M. D., Gallo, A. C., Hatten, J. A., & Matosziuk, L. M. (2023). Identifying photochemical alterations of dissolved pyrogenic organic matter using fluorescence spectroscopy. Aquatic Sciences, 85(2). doi:10.1007/s00027-022-00919-7
  • Chin, Y. -P., McKnight, D. M., D’Andrilli, J., Brooks, N., Cawley, K., Guerard, J., . . . Reckhow, D. (2023). Identification of next-generation International Humic Substances Society reference materials for advancing the understanding of the role of natural organic matter in the Anthropocene. Aquatic Sciences, 85(1). doi:10.1007/s00027-022-00923-x
  • Sherwell, S., Kalra, I., Li, W., McKnight, D. M., Priscu, J. C., & Morgan-Kiss, R. M. (2022). Antarctic lake phytoplankton and bacteria from near-surface waters exhibit high sensitivity to climate-driven disturbance. ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, 16 pages. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.16113
  • Torrens, C. L., Gooseff, M. N., & McKnight, D. M. (2022). Dissolved Organic Carbon Chemostasis in Antarctic Polar Desert Streams. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-BIOGEOSCIENCES, 127(7), 17 pages. doi:10.1029/2021JG006649
  • Gaiser, E. E., Kominoski, J. S., McKnight, D. M., Bahlai, C. A., Cheng, C., Record, S., . . . Sutter, L. A. (2022). Long-term ecological research and the COVID-19 anthropause: A window to understanding social-ecological disturbance. ECOSPHERE, 13(4), 21 pages. doi:10.1002/ecs2.4019
  • Schulte, N. O., Khan, A. L., Smith, E. W., Zoumplis, A., Kaul, D., Allen, A. E., . . . McKnight, D. M. (2021). Blowin' in the wind: Dispersal, structure, and metacommunity dynamics of aeolian diatoms in the McMurdo Sound region, Antarctica. JOURNAL OF PHYCOLOGY, 58(1), 36-54. doi:10.1111/jpy.13223
  • Petach, T. N., Runkel, R. L., Cowie, R. M., & McKnight, D. M. (2021). Effects of hydrologic variability and remedial actions on first flush and metal loading from streams draining the Silverton caldera, 1992-2014. HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES, 35(11), 15 pages. doi:10.1002/hyp.14412
  • Straight, B. J., Castendyk, D. N., McKnight, D. M., Newman, C. P., Filiatreault, P., & Pino, A. (2021). Using an unmanned aerial vehicle water sampler to gather data in a pit-lake mining environment to assess closure and monitoring. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, 193(9), 15 pages. doi:10.1007/s10661-021-09316-3
  • Matula, E. E., Nabity, J. A., & McKnight, D. M. (2021). Supporting Simultaneous Air Revitalization and Thermal Control in a Crewed Habitat With Temperate Chlorella vulgaris and Eurythermic Antarctic Chlorophyta. FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, 12, 14 pages. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2021.709746
  • 10.  Khan, A. L., Sokol, E. R., McKnight, D. M., Saunders, J. F., Hohner, A. K., & Summers, R. S. (2021). Phytoplankton Drivers of Dissolved Organic Material Production in Colorado Reservoirs and the Formation of Disinfection By-Products. FRONTIERS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, 9, 13 pages. doi:10.3389/fenvs.2021.673627
  • **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.
  • *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.
  • *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.
  • *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.
  • **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.
  • **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.
  • **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. 
  • 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. 2016Variation of organic matter quantity and quality in streams at Critical Zone Observatory watershedsWater Resources Research 52,82028216,doi:10.1002/2016WR018970.
  • Cawley, K. M., *V. Koerfer, D. M. McKnight. 2013.The role of dissolved organic matter (DOM) quality in the growth enhancement of Alexandrium fundyense (Dinophyceae) in laboratory culture. Journal of Phycology 49:546-554, DOI: 10.1111/jpy.12063.
  • Lyons, W. B., D. L. Leslie, R. S. Harmon, K. Neumann, K. A. Welch, *K. Bisson, D. M. McKnight. 2013. The carbon stable isotope biogeochemistry of streams, Taylor Valley, Antarctica. Applied Geochemistry 32: 26-36, DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2012.08.019 
  • Esposito, R. M. M., *S. L. Horn, D. M. McKnight, *M. J. Cox, M. C. Grant, S. A. Spaulding, P. T. Doran, and K. D. Cozzetto. 2006. Antarctic climate cooling and response of diatoms in glacial meltwater streams. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, LXXXXX, doi:10.1029/2006GL025903.