Jerry Melillo is a Distinguished Scientist and Director Emeritus at The Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and a Professor of Biology at Brown University. Melillo is an ecologist recognized for his work on the impacts of human activities on the biosphere. He is known for his studies of how changes in climate, in the chemistry of the atmosphere and precipitation, and in land use affect the biogeochemistry of terrestrial ecological systems from local to global scales. He has been deeply involved with national and international efforts to advance science and assessment related to global ecology and climate change. Melillo was born in Bluefield, West Virginia, and grew up in Westport, Connecticut. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut with a degree in Biology and from Yale University with a degree in Ecosystems Ecology in 1977. He joined the staff of The Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory in 1976. In 1996 and 1997, Melillo served as the Associate Director for Environment in the US President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). He has been President of the Ecological Society of America and of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), an international environmental assessment body headquartered in Paris. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Ecological Society of America. He is an honorary Professor in the Institute of Geophysical Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Jerry Melillo's research team uses a combination of large-scale field experiments and simulation modeling to explore the ecological consequences of human-driven global change. This team has conducted field research on deforestation and agricultural land use in the Brazilian Amazon, climate change in the Swedish Arctic, and nitrogen deposition and climate change in temperate forests of the eastern United States. This research focuses on quantifying the exchanges of greenhouse gases between the land and the atmosphere and on identifying the biotic and abiotic factors affecting these exchanges. The field and modeling studies have shown that it is essential to consider the interactions between the carbon and nitrogen cycles as we develop our understanding of biogeochemical responses to changes in climate, in the chemistry of the atmosphere and precipitation and in land use.

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Primary Section

Section 64: Human Environmental Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology