John M. Melack

(805) 893-3879
4424 Bren Hall


John Melack attended Cornell University (B.A. in Biological Sciences) and Duke University (Ph.D. in Limnology), held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan and has been on the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara, since 1977. During his career he has published over 260 scientific papers, edited four books, and written numerous book reviews, and technical, workshop and committee reports. He played a seminal role in the creation and development of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.


Prof. Melack researches ecological processes in lakes, wetlands, and streams, and hydrological and biogeochemical aspects of catchments. He has conducted studies in eastern Africa, tropical South America, Japan, Australia and California, including on-going research at Mono Lake, on Amazon wetlands, on high-elevation ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada, and on the hydrology and solutes of streams bordering the Santa Barbara Channel. His research combines state-of-the-art measurements, modeling, experiments and remote sensing and examines ecological processes at the population and ecosystem levels.

Selected Publications

  • Beighley, R.E., T. Dunne, J. Melack. 2008. Impacts of land use alterations on event runoff frequency distributions in southern California coastal watersheds. J. Amer.Water Resources Assoc. 44: 62-74.
  • Engle, D.L., J.M. Melack, R.D. Doyle and T.R. Fisher. 2008. High rates of net primary productivity and turnover for floating grasses on the Amazon floodplain: Implications for aquatic respiration and regional CO2 flux. Global Change Biology 14: 369-381.
  • Engle, D.L., J.O. Sickman, C.M. Moore, A.M. Esperanza, J.M. Melack, and J.E. Keeley. 2008. Biogeochemical legacy of prescribed fire in a giant sequoia–mixed conifer forest: A 16-year record of watershed balances, J. Geophys. Res., 113, G01014, doi:10.1029/2006JG000391.
  • Melack, J.M. 2002. Ecological dynamics in saline lakes. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 28: 29-40.
  • Melack, J.M., L.L. Hess, M. Gastil, B.R. Forsberg, S.K. Hamilton, I.B.T. Lima and E.M.L.M. Novo. 2004. Regionalization of methane emissions in the Amazon basin with microwave remote sensing. Global Change Biol. 10: 530-544.
  • Melack, J.M., E.M.L.M. Novo, B.R. Forsberg, M.T.F. Piedade and L. Maurice. 2009. Floodplain ecosystem processes. Pages 525-541. In J. Gash, M. Keller and P. Silva-Dias (eds.). Amazonia and Global Change. Geophysical Monograph Series 186. American Geophysical Union.
  • Melack, J.M., A. Finzi, D. Siegel, S. MacIntyre, C. Nelson, A. Aufdenkampe and M. Pace. 2011. Improving biogeochemical knowledge through technological innovation. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9: 37-43.
  • Nelson, C.E., S. Sadro and J.M. Melack. 2009. Contrasting the influence of stream inputs and landscape position on bacterioplankton community structure and dissolved organic matter composition in high-elevation lake chains. Limnol. Oceanogr. 54: 1292-1305.
  • Richey, J.E., J.M. Melack, A.K. Aufdenkampe, V.M. Ballester and L. Hess. 2002. Outgassing from Amazonian rivers and wetlands as a large tropical source of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Nature 416: 617-620.
  • Sadro, S., J.M. Melack and S. MacIntyre. 2011. Depth-integrated estimates of ecosystem metabolism in a high-elevation lake (Emerald Lake, Sierra Nevada, California). Limnology and Oceanography 56: 1764–1780

External Publication List

Google Scholar