Natalie A Griffiths

Natalie A Griffiths

Research Staff Member and Science Lead


Dr. Natalie A. Griffiths is a Research Staff Member in the Climate Change Science Institute and the Environmental Sciences Division at ORNL. She is also Science Lead of Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics within the Aquatic Ecology Group. Dr. Griffiths received her BSc in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Toronto in 2005 and her PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame in 2011. Her research program at ORNL focuses on understanding biogeochemical and hydrological dynamics at terrestrial-aquatic interfaces, and she is currently working on the following projects: 1) Spruce and Peatland Responses under Changing Environments (SPRUCE), (2) Environmental sustainability (water quality and quantity) of short rotation pine as a bioenergy feedstock in the southeastern U.S., (3) Spatially resolved measurements of environmental sustainability indicators for bioenergy using USVs and UAVs, (4) Evaluating the long-term aquatic ecological responses to riparian ecosystem restoration at the Fort Benning, GA military installation.


2017: Stanley I. Auerbach Award for Excellence in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

2011: Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Award to the Top Ph.D. Graduate in Science, University of Notre Dame.


(1) Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments (SPRUCE)

(2) Environmental sustainability (water quality and quantity) of short rotation pine as a bioenergy feedstock in the southeastern U.S.

(3) Spatially resolved measurements of environmental sustainability indicators for bioenergy using USVs and UAVs.

(4) Evaluating the long-term aquatic ecological responses to riparian ecosystem restoration at the Fort Benning, GA military installation.


Tiegs, S., D.M. Costello, M.W. Isken, G. Woodward, P.B. McIntyre, M.O. Gessner, E. Chauvet, N.A. Griffiths, A.S. Flecker, and 142 co-authors (listed alphabetically). Global patterns and drivers of ecosystem functioning in rivers and riparian zones. Science Advances 5:eaav0486.

Appling, A.P., J.S. Read, L.A. Winslow, M. Arroita, E.S. Bernhardt, N.A. Griffiths, R.O. Hall Jr., J.W. Harvey, J.B. Heffernan, E.H. Stanley, E.G. Stets, and C.B. Yackulic. 2018. The metabolic regimes of 356 rivers in the United States. Nature Scientific Data 5:180292.

Griffiths, N.A., and L.T. Johnson. 2018. Influence of dual nitrogen and phosphorus additions on nutrient uptake and saturation kinetics in a forested headwater stream. Freshwater Science 37:810-825.

Griffiths, N.A., B.M. Rau, K.B. Vache, G. Starr, M.M. Bitew, D.P. Aubrey, J.A. Martin, E. Benton, and C.R. Jackson. 2018. Environmental effects of short-rotation woody crops for bioenergy: What is and isn’t known. In Press at GCB Bioenergy.

Veach, A.M., and N.A. Griffiths. 2018. Testing the light-nutrient hypothesis: insights into biofilm structure and function using metatranscriptomics. Molecular Ecology (Perspective) 27:2909-2912.

Tank, J.L., E. Martí, T. Riis, D. von Schiller, A.J. Reisinger, W.K. Dodds, M.R. Whiles, L.R. Ashkenas, W.B. Bowden, S.M. Collins, C.L. Crenshaw, T.A. Crowl, N.A. Griffiths, N.B. Grimm, S.K. Hamilton, S.L. Johnson, W.H. McDowell, B.M. Norman, E.J. Rosi, K.S. Simon, S.A. Thomas, and J.R. Webster. 2018. Partitioning assimilatory nitrogen uptake in streams: an analysis of stable isotope tracer additions across continents. Ecological Monographs 88:120-138.

Griffiths, N.A., P.J. Hanson, D.M. Ricciuto, C.M. Iversen, A.M. Jensen, A. Malhotra, K.J. McFarlane, R.J. Norby, K. Sargsyan, S.D. Sebestyen, X. Shi, A.P. Walker, E.J. Ward, J.M. Warren, and D.J. Weston. 2017. Temporal and spatial variation in peatland carbon cycling and implications for interpreting responses of an ecosystem-scale warming experiment. Soil Science Society of America Journal 81:1668-1688.

Norman, B.C, M.R. Whiles, S.M. Collins, A.S. Flecker, S.K. Hamilton, S.L. Johnson, E.J. Rosi, L.R. Ashkenas, W.B. Bowden, C.L. Crenshaw, T. Crowl, W.K. Dodds, R.O. Hall Jr., R. El-Sabaawi, N.A. Griffiths, E. Martí, W.H. McDowell, S.D. Peterson, H.M. Rantala, T. Riis, K.S. Simon, J.L. Tank, S.A. Thomas, D. von Schiller, and J.R. Webster. 2017. Drivers of nitrogen transfer in stream food webs across continents. Ecology 98:3044-3055.

Follstad Shah, J.J., J.S. Kominoski, M. Ardón, W.K. Dodds, M.O. Gessner, N.A. Griffiths, C.P. Hawkins, A. Lecerf, C.J. LeRoy, D.W.P Manning, S.L. Johnson, A.D. Rosemond, R.L. Sinsabaugh, C.M. Swan, J.R. Webster, and L.H. Zeglin. 2017. Global synthesis of the temperature sensitivity of leaf litter breakdown in streams and rivers. Global Change Biology 23:3064-3075.

Griffiths, N.A., C.R. Jackson, M.M. Bitew, A.M. Fortner, K.L. Fouts, K. McCracken, and J.R. Phillips. 2017. Water quality effects of short-rotation pine management for bioenergy feedstocks in the southeastern United States. Forest Ecology and Management 400:181-198.

Griffiths, N.A., J.L. Tank, T.V. Royer, E.J. Rosi, A.J. Shogren, T.C Frauendorf, and M.R. Whiles. 2017. Occurrence, leaching, and degradation of Cry1Ab protein from transgenic maize detritus in agricultural streams. Science of the Total Environment 592:97-105.

Brooks, S.C., C.C. Brandt, and N.A. Griffiths. 2017. Estimating uncertainty in ambient and saturation nutrient uptake metrics from nutrient pulse releases in stream ecosystems. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 15:22-37.

Hill, W.R., and N.A. Griffiths. 2017. Nitrogen processing by grazers in a headwater stream: riparian connections. Freshwater Biology 62:17-29.

Wilson, R.M., A.M. Hopple, M.M. Tfaily, S.D. Sebestyen, C.W. Schadt, L. Pfeifer-Meister, C. Medvedeff, K.J. McFarlane, J.E. Kostka, M. Kolton, R. Kolka, L.A. Kluber, J.K. Keller, T.P. Guilderson, N.A. Griffiths, J.P. Chanton, S.D. Bridgham, and P.J. Hanson. 2016. Stability of a peatland carbon bank to rising temperatures. Nature Communications 7:13723.

Griffiths, N.A., and S.D. Sebestyen. 2016. Dynamic vertical profiles of peat porewater chemistry in a northern peatland. Wetlands 36:1119-1130.

Jackson, C.R., E. Du., J. Klaus, N.A. Griffiths, M. Bitew, and J.J. McDonnell. 2016. Interactions among hydraulic conductivity distributions, subsurface topography, and transport thresholds revealed by a multi-tracer hillslope irrigation experiment. Water Resources Research 52:6186-6206.

Griffiths, N.A., and S.D. Tiegs. 2016. Organic matter decomposition along a temperature gradient in a forested headwater stream. Freshwater Science 32:518-533.

Du, E., C.R. Jackson, J. Klaus, J.J. McDonnell, N.A. Griffiths, M.F. Williamson, J.L. Greco, and M. Bitew. 2016. Interflow dynamics on a low relief forested hillslope: lots of fill, little spill. Journal of Hydrology 534:648-658.

Griffiths, N.A., C.R. Jackson, J.J. McDonnell, J. Klaus, E. Du, and M.M. Bitew. 2016. Dual nitrate isotopes clarify the role of biological processing and hydrologic flow paths on nitrogen cycling in subtropical low-gradient watersheds. JGR-Biogeosciences 131:422-437.

Shi, X., P.E. Thornton, D.M. Ricciuto, P.J. Hanson, J. Mao, S.D. Sebestyen, N.A. Griffiths, and G. Bisht. 2015. Representing northern peatland microtopography and hydrology within the Community Land Model. Biogeosciences 12:6463-6477.

Klaus, J., J.J. McDonnell, C.R. Jackson, E. Du, and N.A. Griffiths. 2015. Where does streamwater come from in low-relief forested watersheds? A dual isotope approach. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 19:125-135.

Roley, S.S., J.L. Tank, N.A. Griffiths, R.O. Hall Jr., and R.T. Davis. 2014. The influence of floodplain restoration on whole-stream metabolism in an agricultural stream: insights from a 5-year continuous data set. Freshwater Science 33:1043-1059.

Dodds, W.K., S.M. Collins, S.K. Hamilton, J.L. Tank, S. Johnson, J.R. Webster, K.S. Simon, M.R. Whiles, H.M. Rantala, W.H. McDowell, S.D. Peterson, T. Riis, C.L. Crenshaw, S.A. Thomas, P.B. Kristensen, B.M. Cheever, A.S. Flecker, N.A. Griffiths, T. Crowl, E.J. Rosi-Marshall, R. El-Sabaawi, and E. Martí. 2014. You are not always what we think you eat: selective assimilation across multiple whole-stream isotopic tracer studies. Ecology 95:2757-2767.

Griffiths, N.A., and W.R. Hill. 2014. Temporal variation in the importance of a dominant consumer to stream nutrient cycling. Ecosystems 17:1169-1185.

Kominoski, J.S., J.J. Follstad Shah, C. Canhoto, D.G. Fischer, D.P. Gilling, E. González, N.A. Griffiths, A. Larrañaga, C.J. LeRoy, M.M. Mineau, Y.R. McElarney, S.M. Shirley, C.M. Swan, and S.D. Tiegs. 2013. Forecasting functional implications of global changes in riparian plant communities. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11:423-432.

Griffiths, N.A., J.L. Tank, T.V. Royer, S.S. Roley, E.J. Rosi-Marshall, M.R. Whiles, J.J. Beaulieu, and L.T. Johnson. 2013. Agricultural land use alters the seasonality and magnitude of stream metabolism. Limnology and Oceanography 58:1513-1529.

Tiegs, S.D., J.E. Clapcott, N.A. Griffiths, and A.J. Boulton. 2013. A standardized cotton-strip assay for measuring organic-matter decomposition in streams. Ecological Indicators 32:131-139.

Griffiths, N.A., J.L. Tank, S.S. Roley, and M.L. Stephen. 2012. Decomposition of maize leaves and grasses in restored agricultural streams. Freshwater Science 31:848-864.

Griffiths, N.A., J.L. Tank, T.V. Royer, T.J. Warrner, T.C. Frauendorf, E.J. Rosi-Marshall, and M.R. Whiles. 2012. Temporal variation in organic carbon spiraling in Midwestern agricultural streams. Biogeochemistry 108:149-169.

Parish, E.S., M.R. Hilliard, L.M. Baskaran, V.H. Dale, N.A. Griffiths, P.J. Mulholland, A. Sorokine, M.E. Downing, R.S. Middleton, and N.A. Thomas. 2012. Multimetric spatial optimization of switchgrass plantings across a watershed. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 6:58-72.

Tank, J.L., E.J. Rosi-Marshall, T.V. Royer, M.R. Whiles, N.A. Griffiths, T.C. Frauendorf, and D.J. Treering. 2010. Occurrence of maize detritus and a transgenic insecticidal protein (Cry1Ab) within the stream network of an agricultural landscape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107:17645-17650.

Chambers, C.P., M.R. Whiles, E.J. Rosi-Marshall, J.L. Tank, T.V. Royer, N.A. Griffiths, M.A. Evans-White, and A.J. Stojak. 2010. Responses of stream macroinvertebrates to Bt maize leaf detritus. Ecological Applications 20:1949-1960.

Tank, J.L., E.J. Rosi-Marshall, N.A. Griffiths, S.A. Entrekin, and M.L. Stephen. 2010. A review of allochthonous organic matter dynamics and metabolism in streams. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 29:118-146.

Warrner, T.J., T.V. Royer, J.L. Tank, N.A. Griffiths, E.J. Rosi-Marshall, and M.R. Whiles. 2009. Origin and bioavailability of dissolved organic carbon in agricultural headwater streams in Indiana, USA. Biogeochemistry 95:295-307.

Griffiths, N.A., J.L. Tank, T.V. Royer, E.J. Rosi-Marshall, M.R. Whiles, C.P. Chambers, T.C. Frauendorf, and M.A. Evans-White. 2009. Rapid decomposition of maize detritus in agricultural headwater streams. Ecological Applications 19:133-142.

Rosi-Marshall, E.J., J.L. Tank, T.V. Royer, M.R. Whiles, M. Evans-White, C. Chambers, N.A. Griffiths, J. Pokelsek, and M.L. Stephen. 2007. Toxins in transgenic crop byproducts may affect headwater stream ecosystems.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104:16204-16208.

Griffiths, N.A. and H. Cyr. 2006. Are there hot spots for Elliptio complanata in the shallow littoral zone of a large Canadian Shield lake? Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 63:2137-2147.