K.L. Knee

Associate Professor and Chair, Environmental Science

K.L. Knee is an environmental scientist focusing on topics including ecohydrology, groundwater-surface water interactions, human impacts on water quality, and using natural tracers to understand environmental flows and processes. She grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, studied Environmental Science at Brown University, and later went on to earn a Ph.D. in Geological and Environmental Science from Stanford University. She was a AAAS Mass Media Fellow with the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, a Fulbright scholar in Ecuador, and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center before joining the AU faculty in 2012. Knee lives in Greenbelt, Maryland, with her wife, daughter, stepchild, two dogs, and cat. When she is not at work she enjoys swimming, hiking, reading, traveling, cooking, volunteering, listening to podcasts, and spending time in nature.

Current Projects

• Restoration of Soil Microbial Communities in Grasslands (led by graduate student Hannah Alizz and Dr. Bert Harris of Clifton Institute)

• Hydraulic and hydrologic regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from forest soils and trees and detection with radon as a novel tracer (NSF-funded collaborative project, lead PI)

• Investigating the role of groundwater in pollutant transport to Nu`uuli Pala Lagoon, American Samoa (NOAA-funded collaborative project, lead PI)

• Working with Columbus Community Bill of Rights group through AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange to understand how oil and gas wastewater injection affects stream water quality.


Affiliated Researcher, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center