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Melanie Mayes

Environmental Sciences Division and Climate Change Science Institute, ORNL


Dr. Melanie Mayes is a Senior Staff Scientist and Team Leader with the Environmental Sciences Division and the Climate Change Science Institute at the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She is a Bredesen Center Faculty at the University of Tennessee, and she also holds two Joint Faculty Appointments with UT's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science. She has a background in geology and contaminant hydrogeology (BS 1990, MS 1999, PhD 2006). She designs experiments to build better models of natural processes, and she is involved in diverse research at the intersection of water, minerals, solute chemistry, and biological cycling in soils and shallow aquifers. Melanie has worked with cycling of biological elements including carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, contaminants including mercury, radionuclides, toxic metals, and explosives, improving the efficacy of algal biofuel production, and groundwater investigations to support the installation of new nuclear power plants. Her current research involves improving the representation of terrestrial carbon cycling processes in earth system and process models, developing techniques to incorporate genomic information into nutrient cycling models, developing technologies to reduce mercury loading and methylmercury generation in surface and ground water systems, and using advanced techniques such as neutrons to understand the interface of soil organic matter and minerals.

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