Charles T. Driscoll

University Professor of Environmental Systems and Distinguished Professor, National Academy of Engineering Member

Civil and Environmental Engineering

335A Link Hall


  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 1980.
  • M.S., Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 1976.
  • B.S. (with distinction), Civil Engineering, University of Maine 1974.

Lab/Center Affiliation:

  • Center for Environmental Systems Engineering

Areas of expertise

  • Biogeochemistry
  • Climate change science and engineering
  • Environmental quality modeling
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Limnology

Current Research:

My scholarly work addresses the effects of disturbance on forest, urban, freshwater and marine ecosystems, including air pollution (acid, nitrogen and mercury deposition), land-use, and climate change. Current research focuses on recovery of eastern forest watersheds from acidic deposition; health and environmental justice co-benefits of decarbonization of the electricity sector; ecosystem restoration; ecosystem response to changing climate; mitigation of harmful algal blooms; and atmospheric deposition, watershed and surface water transport and transformations, and biotic exposure of mercury. The Driscoll laboratory has published more than 530 articles in peer-reviewed journals. According to Google Scholar, these works have been cited over 55,000 times, with an h-index of 117. I have been designated as a highly cited researcher by Clarivate Analytics. I am a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Clarke Prize Laureate.

Courses Taught:

  • Aquatic Chemistry
  • Climate Change: Law, Science, Perception and Policy
  • Field methods in Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Fundamentals of Engineering Review

I teach undergraduate and graduate-level classes in environmental engineering, sustainable civil and environmental systems, aquatic chemistry and biogeochemistry.  Graduate students, undergraduate students and even some high school students who work in my laboratory. These students have a keen interest in research. They are encouraged to interpret their results in the context of environmental problems and issues, to interact with the research community beyond Syracuse University, present the findings of their research at professional meetings and publish in peer-reviewed journals.


  • Critical Review author, Air & Waste Management Association, 2024
  • Clarke Prize Laureate, 2023
  • Syracuse University Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, 2020.
  • Lead author, United Nations Environmental Programme, Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report on Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment, 2016-2018.
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 2018.
  • Batsheva de Rothschild Fellowship, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Lectureship at Israel University, 2015
  • Member, National Research Council, Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology, 2011-2017
  • Member, National Committee for Soil Science, The National Academies, 2008-2010
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering, 2007

Selected Publications:

Driscoll, C. T., J. B. Milford, D. K. Henze and M. D. Bell. In press. Atmospheric reduced nitrogen: sources, transformations, effects, and management. Journal of Air & Waste Management Association. doi: 10.1080/10962247.2024.2342765.

Marchese, M. J., J. R Gerson, A. J. Berky, C. T. Driscoll, L. E. Fernandez, H. Hsu-Kim, K. N. Lansdale, E. Letourneau, M. R. Montesdeoca, W. K. Pan, E. Robie, C. Vega and E. S Bernhardt. 2024. Human health risks of mercury exposure in gold mining regions of Peru depend on diet choices. Environmental Health Perspectives. doi: 10.1088/2752-5309/ad3d79.

Adams, E., J. E. Gulka, Y. Yang, M. E. Burton, D. A. Burns, V. Buxton, L. Cleckner, C. Desorbo, C. T. Driscoll, D. C. Evers, N. Fisher, O. Lane, H. Mao, K. R. Murray, G. Millard, R. Razavi, W. Richter, A. Sauer and N. Schoch. 2023. Distribution and trends of mercury in aquatic and terrestrial biota of New York, USA: a synthesis of 50 years of research and monitoring. Ecotoxicology, 32:959-976. doi: 10.1007/s10646-023-02704-0.

Brannon, M., A. C. A. Scholz, C. T. Driscoll. 2023. Shallow sediments as a phosphorus reservoir in an oligotrophic lake: Linkages to harmful algal blooms. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 128:e2022JG007029. doi:10.1029/2022JG007029.

Caron, S., S. M. Garvey, J. Gewirtzman, K. Schultz, J. M. Bhatnagar, C. T. Driscoll, L. Hutyra, P. H. Templer. 2023. Urbanization and fragmentation have opposite effects on soil nitrogen availability in temperate forest ecosystems. Global Change Biology, 29:2156-2171. doi:10.1111/gcb.16611.

Contosta, A., J. Battles, J. L. Campbell, C. T. Driscoll, S. Garlick, R. T. Holmes, G. Likens, N. Rodenhouse, S. Rogers, P. Templer, M. Vadeboncoeur and P. Groffman. 2023. Early warning signals of change suggest declining resilience in the biology and biogeochemistry of a northern hardwood forest. Environmental Research Letters, 19(9):094052. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/acf3fe.

E. B., S. Zhang, C. T. Driscoll and T. Wen. 2023. Human and natural impacts on the U.S. freshwater salinization and alkalinization: A machine learning perspective. Science of the Total Environment, 889:164138. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.164138.

Gilliam, F., D. A. Burns, S. Watmough, S. Frey and C. T. Driscoll. 2023. Chapter 12 in Atmospheric nitrogen deposition to global forests spatial variation, impacts, and management implications. E. Du and W. Vries (Ed.). Academic Press, ISBN: 9780323911405.

Green, M. B, L. H. Pardo, J. L. Campbell, E. Rosi, E. S. Bernhardt, C. T. Driscoll, T. J. Fahey, N. LoRusso, J. Matthes, P. H. Templer. 2023. Combination of factors rather than single disturbance drives perturbation of the nitrogen cycle in a temperate forest. Biogeochemistry. doi:10.1007/s10533-023-01105-z

Marinos, R. E., P. M. Groffman, C. T. Driscoll, E. S. Bernhardt.2023. Accelerated soil nitrogen cycling in response to a whole ecosystem acid rain mitigation experiment. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. doi:10.2139/ssrn.4579996.

McDonnell, T. C., J. Phelan, A. F. Talhelm, B. J. Cosby, C. T. Driscoll, T. J. Sullivan and T. Greaver. 2023. Protection of terrestrial ecosystems in the Eastern United States from elevated atmospheric deposition of sulfur and nitrogen: A comparison of steady-state and dynamic model results. Environmental Pollution, 318:120887. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2022.120887.

Miller, H. R., C. T. Driscoll and E.-L. S. Hinckley. 2024. Mercury cycling in the U.S. Rocky Mountains: a review of past research and future priorities. Biogeochemistry. 167(1):1-20. doi:10.1007/s10533-023-01108-w.

Ontman, R., P. Groffman, C. T. Driscoll and Z. Cheng. 2023. Surprising relationships between soil pH and microbial biomass and activity in a northern hardwood forest. Biogeochemistry, 163:265-277. doi:10.1007/s10533-023-01031-0.

Rindy, J. E., E. A. Pierce, J. Geddes, S. M. Garvey, J. Gewirtzman, C. T. Driscoll, L. R. Hutyra, P. H. Templer. 2023. Effects of urbanization and forest fragmentation on atmospheric nitrogen inputs and ambient nitrogen oxide and ozone concentrations in mixed temperate forests. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences. doi:10.1029/2023JG007543.