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Christine Goodale

Associate Professor

photo of Christine Goodale

Dale R Corson Bio Science Wing, Room E215

Educational Background

Postdoctoral Scientist, The Woods Hole Research Center (2001-2003)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford (1999-2001)

Ph.D., University of New Hampshire (1999)

M.S., University of New Hampshire (1995)

B.A., Dartmouth College (1992)



I am an ecosystem ecologist, studying how carbon, water, and nutrients - especially nitrogen - cycle through forest ecosystems and affect processes such as forest carbon storage and catchment retention of nitrogen. I also examine how these processes are impacted by a range of human activities, including air pollution, climate change, and land-use change. Tools include whole-ecosystem experiments, stable isotopes, and ecosystem and global models.  I also direct Cornell’s multi-departmental Graduate Program in Cross-Scale Biogeochemistry and Climate (, supported by NSF-IGERT and Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. I teach or co-teach in BioEE 1610 Introduction to Ecology and the Environment, BioEE 4780 Ecosystem Biology and Global Change, and BioEE 6680 Principles of Biogeochemistry.


Acid deposition, biogeochemistry, carbon cycle, climate change, ecosystem ecology, forest ecosystems, land-use change, nitrogen retention, watersheds


  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Soil and Crop Sciences


My research centers on understanding the effects of human activities on forest ecosystems, as well as the role of forests in sustaining clean water and regulating atmospheric greenhouse gases. I study processes that affect forest cycling and storage of carbon and nitrogen, focusing on how these cycles interact and respond to human-driven changes in climate, land use, and atmospheric chemistry, with particular emphasis on the response of ecosystems to atmospheric deposition of N from air pollution. Nitrogen emitted through fossil fuel combustion and agricultural activities eventually deposits onto downwind ecosystems: much of the work in my lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which ecosystems retain or remove these elevated N inputs, and the consequences of these N inputs on ecosystem processes. These consequences include acidification of soils and streams, shifts in species composition, changes in the rates of growth and decomposition, and production of smog and multiple greenhouse gases that have large effects on future climate. Working with a range of collaborators, my lab group uses a range of tools to address many of these processes, at scales ranging from microbial decomposition in soil cores, to plot-scale measurements of isotopic tracers, to whole-catchment recovery from acid rain, to modeled dynamics of N effects on regional carbon storage and the earth climate system.



  • Goodale, CL. In press. Multi-year fate of a 15N tracer in a mixed deciduous forest: retention, redistribution, and differences by mycorrhizal association. Global Change Biology.
  • Goodale, CL, G Fredriksen, MS Weiss, CE McCalley, JP Sparks, and SA Thomas. 2015. Soil processes drive seasonal variation in retention of 15N tracers in a deciduous forest catchment. Ecology 96(10):2653-2668.
  • Wexler, S, CL Goodale, K McGuire, SW Bailey, and PM Groffman. 2014. Isotopic signals of summer denitrification in a northern hardwood forested catchment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - USA 411(46):16413-16418.
  • Tonitto, C, CL Goodale, MS Weiss, SD Frey, and SV Ollinger. 2014. The effect of nitrogen addition on soil organic matter dynamics:  a model analysis of the Harvard Forest Chronic Nitrogen Amendment Study and soil carbon response to anthropogenic N deposition. Biogeochemistry 117:431-454.
  • Melvin, AM, JW Lichstein, and CL Goodale. 2013. Forest liming increases forest floor carbon and nitrogen stocks in a mixed hardwood forest.  Ecological Applications 23(8):1962-1975.
  • Thomas, RQ, GB Bonan, and CL Goodale. 2013. Insights into mechanism governing forest carbon response to nitrogen deposition: a model-data comparison using observed responses to nitrogen addition. Biogeosciences 10:3869-3887.
  • Thomas, RQ, S Zaehle, PH Templer, and CL Goodale. 2013. Global patterns of nitrogen limitation: confronting two global biogeochemical models with observations. Global Change Biology 19(10):2986-2998.
  • Pinder, RW, EA Davidson, CL Goodale, TL Greaver, JD Herrick, and L Liu. 2012. Climate change impacts of US reactive nitrogen. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - USA. 109(20):7671-7675.
  • Stone, MM, MS Weiss, CL Goodale, MB Adams, IJ Fernandez, DP German, S Allison. 2012. Temperature sensitivity of soil enzyme kinetics under N-fertilization in two temperate forests. Global Change Biology 18(3):1173-1184.
  • Templer, PH, RW Pinder, and CL Goodale. 2012. Impacts of nitrogen deposition on greenhouse gas fluxes for terrestrial ecosystems of North America.  Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10(10):547-553.
  • Thomas, RQ, CD Canham, KC Weathers, and CL Goodale. 2010. Increased tree carbon storage in response to nitrogen deposition in the US.  Nature Geoscience 3:13-17