Meredith Steele


Ph.D. Urban Biogeochemistry, Texas A&M University, 2011

M.S. Soil Science, University of Maryland, 2007

B.S., Environmental Science and Policy, University of Maryland, 2004

B.S., Agriculture and Natural Resource Economics, University of Maryland, 2004


Dec. 2013 - Present.     Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecosystem Services, Dept. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 

Feb. 2012 to Dec. 2013.  Postdoctoral Associate, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC. Advisor: J.B. Heffernan

Sept. 2011 to Feb. 2011. Temporary Research Scientist: Nutrient and Water Analysis Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. 

Sept. 2007 to Sept. 2011. Research Assistant: Nutrient and Water Analysis Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. 

Sept. 2004 to Sept. 2007. Research Assistant: Nutrient Management Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. 

May 2002 to July 2007. Biological Sciences Technician: Cropping Systems and Global Change Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD.

Link to curriculum vita

Courses Taught

I teach courses on land cover and water quality, urban ecosystems, GIS and spatial analysis, and environmental soil science. 

Undergraduate Research Mentoring

Working in a research lab provides students with resume building experience and skills.  Depending on their interests, students can learn basic mapping and spatial analysis, practical laboratory skills, and engage with lab mates on the latest in water and ecosystem research issues.  I am always open to working with enthusiastic students on independent or lab based research projects.  Please visit my web page to learn more about our projects or contact me if interested.

Program Focus

Globally, people have already modified approximately half of the earth’s ice free land area and agricultural land makes up a significant portion of this (Hooke et al. 2012).  By 2050 two-thirds of people will live in cities (UN 2014).  Land development is one of the most pressing environmental concerns and affects most of the global population.  Our research program goal is to understand developed landscapes and the ecosystems services they provide to society, focusing on the water and soil components of the socio-ecological system.  I am particularly interested in why and how development changes land and water at broad scales and the resulting environmental consequences. 

Role of Graduate Students

As principal investigator my role is to lead and guide, but graduate students provide the heart and soul of a lab.  With guidance from myself and their lab mates, masters students explore their interests and develop skills by conducting original research.  PhD level students are challenged to fully engage the research process, from developing original research questions and proposals to disseminating their work in scientific journals. 

It is my privilege and joy to assist graduate students in identifying and attaining their goals.  Together we can enjoy a professionally and personally fulfilling atmosphere full of excitement and novel ideas.

Current Projects

For details on current projects and graduate student funding please visit my website or contact me directly.


United Nations (UN) 2014. Global Issues: Human Settlements

Hooke R.L. and Martín-Duque, J.F.  (2012) Land transformation by humans: A review.  GSA Today. 22(12):4-10.

Meredith Steele, Assistant Professor, Crop & Soil Environmental Science.

Meredith Steele
  • 540-231-0312
  • 185 Ag Quad Lane
    328A Smyth Hall
    Blacksburg, Virginia