Stanford University                Geological and Environmental Sciences                     Ph.D., 2010
Brown University                    Environmental Science                                                     Sc.B., 2002
School for Int’l Training       Ecuador-Comparative Ecology Program                     Spring 2001

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • 2012-Present
    • Assistant Prof., Environmental Science, American University, Washington, DC
  • 2012-Present
    • Affiliated Researcher, Smithsonian Environmental Res. Center, Edgewater, MD
  • 2011-2012 
    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Res. Center, Edgewater, MD
  • 2010-2011 
    • Fulbright Scholar, Ecuador
  • 2009
    • AAAS Science and Engineering Mass Media Fellow, Philadelphia Inquirer, PA
  • 2004-2010
    • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Memberships in Professional and Scholarly Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America
  • Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography


Current: Colin Casey (M.S., Environmental Science). Jenna Keany (M.S., Environmental Science), Jessica Balerna (B.S., Environmental Science)

Former: Jacob Melone (M.S., Environmental Science, 2015), John Gardner (M.S., Environmental Science, University of Maryland). Undergraduates: Alexandra Hitchens, Alexa Bolden, Robin Winz, Rebecca Wolf, Gabriel Santos, Anna Robinson

Courses Taught

  • Ecohydrology (ENVS 500; Fall 2012 and 2015)
  • Water Resources (ENVS 375 and ENVS 470/670; Spring 2013 and 2014)
  • Environmental Methods (ENVS 396; Spring 2013 and Fall 2014)
  • Introduction to Environmental Science (ENVS 160; Fall 2014)
  • Sustainable Earth (ENVS 150; Spring 2015)
  • National Parks: History/Policy (GNED-250 FA5 002; Spring 2014)
  • Internship in Environmental Science (ENVS 491/691; AY 2014-15)

Research Support


  • Hydrology of Meadowood special recreation management area (Lorton, VA): Implications for stormwater management and biodiversity. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 7/01/2014-5/30/2017, $49,739.


  • CAREER: Assessing the prevalence of stream pollution from unconventional natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale using spatial and temporal patterns in water chemistry and isotopic tracers. NSF: Environmental Engineering. 01/01/2017-12/31/2021, $530,789


  • Does hydraulic fracturing pose a threat to DC’s water supply? A field and modeling study. District of Columbia Water Resources Research Institute (DCWRRI), 03/01/2015-02/28/2016, $9,955.
  • Impacts of hydraulic fracturing in watersheds overlying the Marcellus Shale on stream water quality. Faculty Research Support Grant (FRSG), 05/01/2015-04/30/2016, $9,604.

University Service

2015-2016       College Research Committee

2014-present   Committee member for 4 AU ENVS masters students

2014-2015       Academic Integrity Council

2014-2015       Women in Science faculty mentor

2012-2015       Regular volunteer at Freshman Day and Preview Day events

2012-2013       Sustainability Fund panel member

Outreach, Education and Professional Activities

  • Invited Presenter and Directed Study Instructor, National Youth Science Camp and West Virginia Youth Science Camp, 2011-2014.
  • The Scientist is In volunteer, American Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, 2011-2013.
  • Maryland Sea Grant Review Panel, 2015
  • Requested Reviewer for Marine Pollution Bulletin, Water Research, Journal of Environmental Management, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Marine Chemistry, Limnology and Oceanography, Estuaries and Coasts, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

Selected talks and presentations

2015    Invited talks at University of Alabama and University of Delaware; Co-author on invited presentation at Amercian Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting; Oral presentation at Ecological Society of America; Abstract submitted to Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation

2014    Two poster presentations (one first author, one co-author) at AGU

2013    Poster presentation at American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, co-author on one poster and one oral presentation at AGU

Peer-Reviewed Publications

15 publications, 13 in peer-reviewed journals, 266 citations, H-index 8, I-10 index 7 (Google Scholar)
* indicates a student mentored by K. Knee

In preparation

  1. Knee, K.L. and A. Hitchens*. Water quality in streams overlying the Marcellus Shale: Correlation to density of oil and gas wells. In preparation for River Research and Applications.
  2. Knee, K.L., D. Brenner, J. Miklas, J. Gardner*, T. Fisher and T. Jordan. Assessing the concentration and evasion rate of biogenic N2 gas in streams: Comparison of natural and artificial dissolved gas tracers. In preparation for Limnology and Oceanography: Methods.


  1. Knee, K.L., D. Crook, J.L. Hench, J.J. Leichter, and A. Paytan. 2016. Assessment of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) as a source of dissolved radium and nutrients to Moorea (French Polynesia), coastal waters. Estuaries and Coasts 1-18.
  2. Gardner, J.*, T. Jordan, L. Knee, and T. Fisher. 2016. Balancing watershed nitrogen budgets: Accounting for biogenic gases in streams. Biogeochemistry 127: 231-253
  3. Null, K.A., L. Knee, E.D. Crook, N.R. de Sieyes, M. Rebolledo-Vieyra, L. Hernández-Terrones, and A. Paytan. 2014. Composition and fluxes of submarine groundwater along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Continental Shelf Research 77: 38-50.
  4. Knee, K.L. and A. C. Encalada. 2013. Land use and water quality in a rural cloud forest region (Intag, Ecuador). River Research and Applications, doi: 10.1002/rra.2634.
  5. Knee, K.L. and T.E. Jordan. 2013. Spatial distribution of dissolved radon in the Choptank River and its tributaries: Implications for groundwater discharge and nitrate inputs. Estuaries and Coasts Online First, doi:10.1007/s12237-013-9619-y
  6. Null, K.A., N.T. Dimova, L. Knee, B.K. Esser, P.W. Swarzenski, M.J. Singleton, M. Stacey and A. Paytan. 2012. Submarine groundwater discharge-derived nutrient loads to San Francisco Bay: Implications to future ecosystem changes. Estuaries and Coasts 35:1299-1315.
  7. Knee, K.L. and A. Paytan. 2011. Submarine Groundwater Discharge: A Source of Nutrients, Metals, and Pollutants to the Coastal Ocean. Chapter 8 in Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science 4: 205-233.
  8. Knee, K.L., E. Garcia-Solsona, J. Garcia-Orellana, A. Boehm, and A. Paytan. 2011. Using radium isotopes to characterize water ages and coastal mixing rates: A sensitivity analysis. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 9: 380-395.
  9. Knee, K.L., J.H. Street, E.E. Grossman, A.B. Boehm, and A. Paytan. 2010a. Nutrient inputs to the coastal ocean from submarine groundwater discharge in a groundwater-dominated system: Relation to land use (Kona Coast, Hawai`i, USA). Limnology and Oceanography 55: 1105-1122.
  10. Knee, K.L., Gossett, A.B. Boehm, and A. Paytan. 2010b. Caffeine and agricultural pesticide concentrations in surface water and groundwater on the north shore of Kauai (Hawaii, USA). Marine Pollution Bulletin 60: 1376-1382.
  11. Boehm, A.B., K.M. Yamahara, S.P. Walters, B.A. Layton, D.P. Keymer, R.S. Thompson, L. Knee, and M. Rosener. 2010. Dissolved inorganic nitrogen, soluble reactive phosphorus, and microbial pollutant loading from tropical rural watersheds in Hawai`i to the coastal ocean during non-storm conditions. Estuaries and Coasts 34: 925-936.
  12. Black, F.J., A. Paytan, L. Knee, N.R. de Sieyes, P.M. Ganguli, E.T. Gray, and A.R. Flegal. 2009. Submarine groundwater discharge of total mercury and monomethyl mercury to central California coastal waters. Environmental Science and Technology 43: 5652-5659.
  13. Knee, K.L., B.A. Layton, J.H. Street, A.B. Boehm, and A. Paytan. 2008a. Sources of nutrients and fecal indicator bacteria to nearshore waters on the north shore of Kaua`i (Hawai`i, USA). Estuaries and Coasts 31: 607-622.
  14. Knee, K.L., R.L. Leopold, E.R. Madsen, and A. Paytan. 2008b. Assessing the importance of sand as a source of fecal indicator bacteria (Escherichia coli and Enterococcus). Oceanography 21: 72-80.
  15. Knee, K.L., J.H. Street, E.E. Grossman, and A. Paytan. 2008c. Submarine ground-water discharge and fate along the coast of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, island of Hawai`i. Part 2, Spatial and temporal variations in salinity, radium-isotope activity, and nutrient concentrations in coastal waters, December 2003-April 2006. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5128, 38 pp.
  16. Street, J.H., L. Knee, E.E. Grossman, and A. Paytan. 2008. Submarine groundwater discharge and nutrient addition to the coastal zone and coral reefs of leeward Hawai`i. Marine Chemistry 109: 355-376.
  17. Derse, E., L. Knee, S.D. Wankel, C. Kendall, C.J. Berg, Jr., and A. Paytan. 2007. Identifying sources of nitrogen to Hanalei Bay, Kauai, utilizing the nitrogen isotope signature of macroalgae. Environmental Science and Technology 41: 5217-5223.