July Grad Spotlight: Keeley MacNeil


I’m a finishing PhD Candidate in Alex Flecker’s lab. I am interested in drivers of elemental movement through streams, how their cycles interact and how elements are taken up and used by aquatic organisms. I study streams in Ecuador that are contaminated with arsenic as a result of geothermal activity and how nutrient availability in those streams affects how much arsenic is retained in the food web or transported further downstream.  Understanding how arsenic interacts with more common elements (carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus) is important given the prevalence of arsenic (more than 10% of US streams are above the drinking water limit!), and the influence of humans on stream nutrient chemistry from agricultural runoff.

In addition to biogeochemical cycling, I am also passionate about sustainability and co-chair the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Fellows groups, which promotes various events surrounding sustainability. When not in the field, lab, or office, you might find me on the rock wall or hiking with my wild jungle dog, who adopted me at a field station in Trinidad.