Christopher Neill Ph.D.

  • Senior Scientist
Chris Neill

Dr. Christopher Neill studies natural and restored ecosystems around the globe. He is interested in how changes in land use affect ecosystem function, particularly water and nutrient cycling, and in our ability to restore impaired systems.

In the Amazon, Dr. Neill uses a range of experimental techniques to investigate how deforestation and intensifying agriculture alter the flow of water and materials from the land into—and then within—streams and rivers. In Massachusetts, he studies how the choices we make along our coasts and in our own backyards affect water quality and biodiversity. He also works with local conservation organizations to design and assess improved methods of ecosystem protection and restoration.

Chris Neill in a stream while conducting water fieldwork.

above: Dr. Neill collecting water samples.

photo © Jesse Costa/WBUR

Dr. Neill works collaboratively with a diverse array of partners. In the Amazon, he works with the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) to study how the intensification of farming practices change greenhouse gas emissions and runoff from watersheds into streams.

In Massachusetts, he works with the Buzzards Bay Coalition on monitoring the impacts of nutrient pollution in coastal waters, and with BiodiversityWorks on backyard biodiversity. Dr. Neill serves on advisory committees for Mass Audubon and Native Plant Trust. His work on the science behind restoring cranberry bogs to natural habitat involves state and federal agencies, the Town of Falmouth, the Coonamessett River Trust, and the Buzzards Bay Coalition. He is also part of a coastal grasslands restoration initiative that includes The Nature Conservancy, The Trustees of Reservations, Albany Pine Bush Commission, the Central Pine Barrens Commision, BiodiversityWorks, Sheriffs Meadow Foundation, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.

Dr. Neill is dedicated to giving ecology a voice in public discourse. He is a sought-after speaker, is frequently quoted by the media, and writes a monthly column for the Falmouth Enterprise—a habit he first developed writing columns for the Cornell Daily Sun as an undergraduate. His writing often features birds, which are a personal passion.


richly colored arctic landscape with orange grasses, a few tents in the foreground, and a light blue lake reflecting clouds of a dynamic array of greys

Evolving Meta-Ecosystems Institute

Investigating the resilience of Arctic organisms and ecosystems to rapid climate change
small waves on the surface of the water


Continuous Oxygen Monitoring in Buzzards Bay
Katama wetlands, Martha's Vineyard

Climate Smart MV

Supporting climate-smart land management and risk reduction strategies.

Buttonwood Brook-Apponagansett Bay Restoration Project

Improving water quality from brook to bay through data collection, analysis, and restoration.
Two human figures darkly silhouetted against an orange sunset

Woodwell Climate @ Tanguro Field Station

Probing tropical ecosystem dynamics at the world’s largest agricultural frontier