Location: Bowdoin / John Lichter


John Lichter

Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, Emeritus

John Lichter: Bowdoin College


  • Ph.D. Minnesota
  • B.S. Northern Illinois


Community and ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, global change

Historical and projected changes in carbon export to the Gulf of Maine from land use and climate change. NASA Earth Science Division Research Grant (2011-14)

Soil carbon chemistry and dynamics under elevated CO2 at the Duke Forest FACE experiment. NSF Research Grants (2003-07) (2008-2011) (Duke University FACE research site)

Ecological and economic recovery and sustainability of the Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers and their common estuary and nearshore marine environment. Sustainability Solutions Partner with U. Maine-Orono (2009-14; NSF-EPSCoR Program) (Merrymeeting Bay / Kennebec Estuary Research Program)

Not Just a Fish TaleAn exploration of the the connection between river spawning fish and offshore fish populations.

Student contributions in bold

Ames, E. P. and J. Lichter.  2013.  Gadids and alewives: structure within complexity in the Gulf of Maine. Fisheries Research 141:70-78.

Lichter, J. and E.O. Ames. 2012. Reaching into the past for future relilience: Recovery efforts in Maine rivers and coastal waters. Maine Policy Review. 21:96-102.  

Lichter, J., M.E. H. Burton, S.L. Close, J.M. Grinvalsky, and J. Reblin. 2011. Waterfowl habitat change over five decades in a freshwater tidal ecosystem in mid-coast Maine. Northeastern Naturalist 18: 161-176.

Drake, J. E., E. H. DeLucia, A. Gallet-Budynek, K. S. Hofmachel, E. S. Bernhardt, S. A Billings, R. D. Jackson, J. Lichter, M. L. McCormack, D. J. P. Moore, R. Oren, S. Palmroth, R. P. Phillips, J. S. Pippen, S. G. Pritchard, K. K. Treseder, and A. C. Finzi. 2011. Increase in the flux of carbon belowground stimulate nitrogen uptake and sustain the long-term enhancement of forest productivity under elevated CO2. Ecology Letters 14: 349-357.

Billings, S. A., J. Lichter, S. E. Ziegler, B. A. Hungate, and D. B. Richter. 2010. A call to investigate drivers of soil organic matter retention vs. mineralization in a high CO2 world. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 42: 665-668.

Lichter, J. S. Billings, S. Ziegler, D. Gaindh, R. Ryals, A. C. Finzi, R. B. Jackson, E. A. Stemmler, and W. H. Schlesinger. 2008. Soil carbon sequestration in a pine forest after nine years of atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Global Change Biology 14:2910-2922. *Nature Reports-Climate Change (January 2009) 3:2.

Koster, D., J. Lichter, P. D. Lea, and A. Nurse. 2007. Historical eutrophication in a river-estuary complex in mid-coast Maine. Ecological Applications 17:765-778.

Lichter, J., H. Caron, T. Pasakarnis, S. Rodgers, T. S. Squiers, Jr., and C. S. Todd. 2006. The ecological collapse and partial recovery of a freshwater tidal ecosystem. Northeastern Naturalist 13:153-178.

Finzi, A., D. Moore, E. DeLucia, J. Lichter, K. Hofmackel, R. Jackson, H. Kim, R. Matamala, H. McCarthy, R. Oren, J. Pippen, and W. H. Schlesinger. 2006. Progrssive nitrogen limitation of ecosystem processes under elevated CO2 in a warm-temperate forest. Ecology 87:15-25.

Peterson, T. S., A. Uesugi, and J. Lichter. 2005. Limitation of tree regeneration by introduced snowshoe hare on Kent Island, New Brunswick. Canadian Field Naturalist 119:569-572.

Lichter, J., S.H. Barron, C. E. Bevacqua, A. C. Finzi, K.F. Irving, E.A. Stemmler, and W.H. Schlesinger. 2005. Soil carbon sequestration and turnover in a pine forest after six years of atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Ecology 86:1835-1847.

Phoebe Aron. (with Dharni Vasudevan) 2012-13. “Sedimentary sulphur from Merrymeeting Bay as a record of regional drought.”
Chris Kan. (with Vlad Douhovnikoff) 2012-13. “Population genetic diversity among river herring in southern Maine.”
Annie Sneed. 2011-2012. “Battered alewives: the long climb to recovery.”
Catherine Johnston. 2011-2012. “Assessing ecological recovery in the Kennebec estuary.”
Holly Jacobson. 2010-11. “Juvenile anadromous fish recovery in the Kennebec river system.”
Shirley Wu. 2010-11. “Soil carbon dynamics in a pine forest under elevated atmospheric CO2.”
Andy Bell. 2010-11. “Habitat fragmentation in estuarine ecosystems: food-web implications.”

Rebecca Austin. Soil carbon and nitrogen turnover under elevated atmospheric CO2.

Norris Wong. 2009-10. Chemical fractionation of soil organic matter under elevated and ambient CO2 concentration.

Adam Hall (with Dharni Vasudevan). 2008-09. Phosphorus source-sink dynamics in the intertidal sediments of Merrymeeting Bay.

Alexa Kaubris. 2008-09. Soil carbon sequestration and turnover in a pine forest under atmospheric enrichment.

Kendra Neff. 2007-08. Constraints on tree recruitment on Kent Island, New Brunswick, following snowshoe hare eradication.

Keirnan Willett (with Bruce Kohorn). 2006-07. Soil microbial response to nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization along an estuarine salinitiy gradient.

Mark Burton 2006-07. Spawning and nursery habitat of anadromous fish in Merrymeeting Bay and the lower Androscoggin River.

Thomas Buehrens 2006-07. Use of nearshore habitat by migrating Pacific salmon.

Sarah Close 2005-06. Nutrient dynamics of Lake Tanganyika.

Lucy Van Hook 2005-06. Snapping turtle population ecology and conservation in Merrymeeting Bay.

Christina Souther 2004-05. Primary productivity and nutrient cycling along the Kennebec estuary salinity gradient.

Greg Goldsmith (with Lindsay Whitlow). 2004-05. Impacts of long-term research on the seedling dynamics of a permanent sample plot on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Forest Ecology and Management 234:34-39, Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 4:122-123.

Katie Irving. 2003-04. Soil carbon turnover and chemistry under elevated atmospheric CO2 at the Duke Forest Free-air Enrichment experiment. Ecology 86:1835-1847.

Mark Roberts (with Beth Stemmler). 2003-04. Soil microbial composition and biomass at the Duke Forest Free-air CO2 Enrichment experiment.

Julie Grinvalsky. 2003-04. Population ecology of Eriocaulon parkerii in Merrymeeting Bay and its tributaries.

Pasakarnis, Tim. 2002-03. Carbon and nutrient content of intertidal soils of Merrymeeting Bay. Northeastern Naturalist 13:153-178.

Barron, Stacy. 2002-03. Soil carbon sequestration after six years of experimental CO2 fumigation at the Duke Forest FACE experiment. Ecology 86:1835-1847.

Peterson, Trevor. 2001-02. The effect of snowshoe hare browsing on tree recruitment in maritime boreal forest. Kent Island, New Brunswick. Canadian Field-Naturalist 119:569-572.

Bangor Daily News: Eelgrass study seen as key to protecting Maine clam flats from green crab devastation (Slideshow)

WCSH6: Researching a route to economic and ecological recovery (Video)

Bangor Daily News: Bowdoin college student wrestles American eels in the name of science (Slideshow)

The MPBN documentary Desperate Alewives has been nominated for a New England Emmy in the category of Outstanding Environmental Program. The doc looks at how populations of alewife — also known as sawbelly, mooneye, gaspereau and big-eyed or spring herring — have plummeted, prompting research by a group whose members include Coastal Studies Scholar Ted Ames, professors Phil Camill, Guillermo Herrera, John Lichter and David Vail, and Environmental Studies Program Manager and geographic information systems analyst Eileen Johnson, many of whom are featured in the segment.

Watch Desperate Alewives on PBS. See more from Sustainable Maine.

The Bowdoin group is collaborating with faculty from Bates and the University of Southern Maine on the project “Maine Rivers, Estuaries and Coastal Fisheries,” funded by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ESPCoR) through a grant to the University of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. Read more about the project on a website created by Hunter Clark ’13. The 35th Annual Boston/New England Emmy Awards, presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Boston/New England, will be presented June 2, 2012, in Boston.