Melanie A. Mayes

Senior Staff Scientist

Dr. Melanie Mayes is a Senior Staff Scientist and Multi-scale Environmental Processes Team Leader with the Environmental Sciences Division and the Climate Change Science Institute.  She also holds Joint Faculty Appointments with the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA), and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK). 

Melanie has a background in geology and contaminant hydrogeology, and she conducts interdisciplinary research in carbon, nutrient, and contaminant cycling in soils.  She prioritizes designing experiments to build better models of natural processes, and she is interested in diverse research at the intersection of water, minerals, solute chemistry, and microbiology.  Current research topics include using genomic information to build better models of greenhouse gas emissions, developing enzyme and microbial models to improve understanding of decomposition of soil organic matter, and understanding mercury contamination in floodplain sediments. 

In 2011, she received the Stanley I. Auerbach Award for Excellence from ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division. In 2014, she was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2016, she received the DOE Early Career Award.  Her Early Career Award is entitled “A Comprehensive Framework for Modeling Emissions from Tropical Soils and Wetlands”.