Rebecca B. Neumann

Rebecca B. Neumann

Assistant Professor
Environmental Engineering
Hydrology and Hydrodynamics
Office: Wilcox 168
Phone: (206) 221-2298

Rebecca Neumann's research seeks to understand how land-surface modifications and management decisions affect human and environmental health by altering the fluxes of water, nutrients, carbon, and contaminants in underlying soils. Her work recognizes that soils are the critical interface between the atmosphere, land surface and subsurface; and that soil fluxes often control the quality of food and water resources.

Prior to joining the Civil and Engineering Department at the University of Washington, Rebecca was a NOAA Climate and Global Change postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. She studied how plant roots and soil conditions modulate the amount of water moved through the landscape, with the goal of improving the representation of below-ground processes in models of vegetation-climate interactions. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a thesis project focused on understanding one of the major human health problems in Bangladesh: arsenic contaminated groundwater. She measured and modeled the fluxes of water and solutes from rice fields and man-made ponds to determine the impact that these anthropogenic recharge sources have on groundwater arsenic concentrations. Her results shed light on the complex hydrologic and biogeochemical interactions responsible for current groundwater arsenic concentration patterns. Prior to graduate school, Rebecca worked as an environmental engineering consultant for EG&G Technical Services, and received her B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and B.A. in Art and Art History from Rice University.

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Research Interests

  • Subsurface hydrology and metal biogeochemistry
  • Plant-controlled below-ground hydrology and biogeochemistry
  • Field, lab and modeling studies of water and food quality