John Gardner

Assistant Professor


John Gardner
SRCC 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


Dr. John Gardner joined the Department of Geology and Environmental Science as an Assistant Professor in 2020. John was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow with Tamlin Pavelsky in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of North Carolina from 2018-2020. He received his Ph.D. in 2018 with Martin Doyle in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and his M.S. in 2014 with Thomas Fisher in the Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science Program at the University of Maryland (Horn Point Laboratory). 

  • Research
  • Publications

Our lab studies how rivers, lakes, and their landscapes move, store, and transform water, sediment, and elements across continents. We aim to understand links between physical and ecological processes as well as the impacts of human activities on inland waters. We draw from disciplines such as hydrology, ecosystem ecology, and geomorphology, with particular interest in data-driven spatial approaches that combine in-situ sensors, satellite remote sensing, and data synthesis. Current research activities focus on human impacts on sediment delivery from continents to coasts, deciphering ecosystem processes from spatial patterns in water quality, and developing databases of inland water quality using satellite remote sensing. 

Research Areas

Allen G, Yang X, Gardner J, Holliman J, David C, Ross M. 2020. Timing of Landsat overpasses effectively captures river flow conditions of large rivers. Remote Sensing. 12:9. 

Gardner J, Ensign S, Houser J, Doyle M. Light exposure along particle flowpaths in large rivers. 2020. Limnology and Oceanography. 65:1.

Gardner J, Doyle M, Pavelsky T. The abundance, size, and spacing of lakes and reservoirs connected to river networks. 2019. Geophysical Research Letters. 46:5, 2592-2601. 

Pivato M, Carniello L, Gardner J, Silvestri S, Marani M. 2018. Water and sediment temperature dynamics in shallow tidal environments: the role of the heat flux at the sediment-water interface. Advances in Water Research. 113, 126–140. 

Knee K, Gardner J, Brenner D, Fox R, Gustafson A, Fisher T, Jordan T. 2018. Measuring diel and spatial variation in biogenic N2 delivery, production and loss with natural tracers: Application to watershed-scale estimation of denitrification. Limnology and Oceanography Methods. 

Gardner J, Doyle M. 2018. Sediment-water surface area along rivers: water column vs. benthic. Ecosystems.

Ensign S, Doyle M, Gardner J. 2017. New strategies for measuring rates of environmental process in rivers, lakes, and estuaries. Freshwater Science. 

Gardner J, Fisher T, Jordan T, Knee K. 2016. Balancing watershed nitrogen budgets: accounting for biogenic gases in streams. Biogeochemistry.127:2, 231-253.