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Meredith Steele

Associate Professor

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

Meredith Steele
229 Smyth Hall
185 Ag Quad Lane
Blacksburg, VA 24061


I am an assistant professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. My research and teaching includes the soil and environmental sciences, with a focus on understanding cities and their effects on water quality, ecosystem services, and biogeochemical cycles across different regions.


  • Macrosystems Ecology
  • Biogeochemistry


  • 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

Program Focus

My 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, MS 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 and writing grants.

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

  • Linking urban salinization to water quality and ecosystem function
  • The heterogeneity of urban morphology under changing climate conditions and its implications for ecosystem services
  • Multi-scale drivers of nutrient exports from United States watersheds 
  • Global and macroscale soil biogeochemical cycling
  • CSES/ENSC 3134: Soils in the Landscape
  • ENSC 3604: Fundamentals of Environmental Science

Associate Professor | 2023 - Present
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecosystem Services | 2013 - 2023
School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Postdoctoral Associate | 2012 - 2013 
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University, Durham, N.C. 

Research Community Memberships