Josh Thompson
Joshua Thompson, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Ecological & Biological Sciences
District of Columbia

Dr. Thompson specializes in hydrological analysis with applications in water quality and aquatic ecology, and uses advanced statistical approaches to determine how anthropogenic activity impacts aquatic ecosystems. He has technical expertise in determining the sources of nutrient and sediment pollution in streams, drinking water reservoirs, and groundwater, and couples modeling with chemical fingerprinting of sediment and stream water to determine priority areas for remediation. He is skilled in designing environmental monitoring programs to assess the effect of management interventions intended to restore aquatic ecosystems, and has designed watershed-scale before-after-control-impact studies to determine the cost effectiveness of these practices. He has collaborated with governmental and non-governmental organizations in the United States and Europe to conduct data syntheses that support the optimization of statewide ecological and water quality monitoring programs. Dr. Thompson also has expertise in real-time modeling and analysis of data streams using R, allowing for instantaneous data dissemination and decision-making. A seasoned user of Oracle SQL, Dr. Thompson has worked with relational databases to quantify carbon dioxide emissions for energy clients from hundreds of operational sites across the United States, and has led projects to automate Chemical Inventory and SARA Tier II reporting.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Queen's University, Belfast, 2013
  • B.Sc., Earth and Environmental Science, University of Brighton, 2009
  • Invited Member, Maryland Department of Environment and Chesapeake Bay Trust working group on optimizing biological and water quality monitoring methods. 2018 – Present

    Smithsonian Fellowship, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. 2015 – 2018

    Irish Environmental Protection Agency Doctoral Scholarship. 2010 – 2013

Publications

Thompson, J., C. E. Pelc, W. R. Brogan, and T. E. Jordan. (2018). The multiscale effects of stream restoration on water quality. Ecological Engineering 124:7-18.

Knee, K. L., Gardner, J., Brenner, D. C., Fox, R. J., Thompson, J., Gustafson, A. B., Fisher, T. R. and Jordan, T. E. (2018), Measuring diel and spatial variation in biogenic N2 delivery, production, and loss with natural tracers: Application to watershed‐scale estimation of denitrification. Limnology and Oceanography Methods, 16: 556-575.

Demars, B. O. L., Gíslason, G.M., Ólafsson, J.S., Manson, J.R., Friberg, N., Hood, J.M., Thompson, J., Freitag, T.E. (2016) Impact of warming on CO2 emissions from streams countered by aquatic photosynthesis. Nature Geoscience, 9, 758-761.

Archbold, M., Deakin, J., Bruen, M., Desta, M., Flynn, R., Kelly-Quinn, M., Gill, L., Maher, P., Misstear, B., Mockler, E. and O'Brien, R., Orr, A., Packham, I., Thompson, J. (2016). Contaminant movement and attenuation along pathways from the land surface to aquatic receptors (Pathways Project). Environmental Protection Agency, Johnstown Castle, Ireland. Available online: http://erc.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/displayISO19115.jsp?isoID=196#files

Demars, B. O. L., Thompson, J., Manson, J.R. (2015) Stream metabolism and the open diel oxygen method: principles, practice and perspectives. Limnology & Oceanography: Methods, 13(7), 356-374.

Thompson, J., Cassidy, R., Doody, D.G., Flynn, R. (2014) Assessing suspended sediment dynamics in relation to ecological thresholds and sampling strategies in two Irish headwater catchments. Science of the Total Environment, 468, 345-357.

Thompson, J., Cassidy, R., Doody, D.G., Flynn, R. (2013) Predicting critical source areas in headwater catchments. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 179, 41-52.

Thompson, J., Doody, DG., Flynn, R., Watson, C. (2012) Dynamics of critical source areas: Does connectivity explain chemistry? Science of the Total Environment, 435, 499-508.

Presentations

Thompson, J. Riparian effects on groundwater. Maryland Department of Natural Resources Stream Information Exchange, Edgewater, MD, November 2017.

Thompson, J. Optimal sampling strategies to evaluate policy success - evidence from high frequency monitoring. USGS Water Science Center, Baltimore, MD, April 2017.

Jordan, T.E., Thompson, J., Pelc, C.E., Brogan, W.R. Trading nutrients for carbon in stream restorations. Maryland Water Monitoring Council Meeting, Baltimore, MD, December 2016.

Thompson, J., Jordan, T.E., Pelc, C.E., Brogan, W.R. Efficacy of stream restoration for improving water quality. The Future of Stream Restoration and Preservation in Maryland Conference, Mount St. Mary's University, MD, April 2016.

Evans, C.D., Thompson, J., Demars, B.O.L., Stutter, M., Jarvie, H., Bowes, M., Withers, P., Wade, A.J. Nutrient coupling in the Conwy and Ribble Catchments. Macronutrient Cycles Annual Meeting, St. Peter's College, University of Oxford, UK. September 2014.

Thompson, J., Demars, B.O.L., Stutter, M., Jarvie, H., Bowes, M., Evans, C.D., Withers, P., Wade, A.J. In-stream coupled nutrient cycling in the River Conwy, Wales. Macronutrient Cycles Annual Meeting, St. Peter's College, University of Oxford, UK. September 2013.

Thompson, J., Doody, DG., Flynn, R., Watson, C. Dynamics of hydrological connectivity and nutrient loss - implications for mitigation measures. Diffuse Agricultural Pollution Mitigation Methods, Rothamsted Research, UK. September 2012.

Archbold, M., Orr, A., Thompson, J., Fitzpatrick, C., Maher, P., Cassidy, R., Comte, J.C., Nitsche, J., Pilatova, K., Kelly-Quinn, M. Validation of a catchment conceptual model considering overland flow, interflow, shallow groundwater flow and deep groundwater flow pathways for diffuse contaminant transport and attenuation from land-surface to aquatic receptors. European Geosciences Union Annual Meeting, Vienna, Austria, April 2011.

Thompson, J., Doody, DG., Flynn, R. Fingerprinting sediment loss in Irish catchments. Catchment Science Workshop, Dublin, Ireland. September 2011.

Thompson, J., Doody, DG., Flynn, R. Hydrological connectivity and nutrient transfer from a grazed grassland. Soil Science Society of Ireland, Spring Meeting, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. February 2011.

Prior Experience

Research Associate, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD, 2018 – Present

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD, 2015 – 2018

Environmental Scientist, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Laurel, MD, 2016 – 2017

Environmental Consultant, Ecocion Inc, Englewood, CO, 2015

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Environment Centre Wales, Bangor University, UK, 2013 – 2014

Graduate Research Assistant, Queen’s University Belfast, UK, 2010 – 2013

Water Policy Administrator, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, London, UK, 2009 – 2010

Professional Affiliations

American Geosciences Union (2012 – present)

International Water Association (2009 – 2012)

Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, UK (2009 – 2012)

Project Experience

Automated the processing, synthesis, and dissemination of dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, chlorophyll a, conductivity, dissolved organic matter, phycocyanin, and temperature data from continuous monitoring of two reservoirs, enabling rapid communication of changing water quality conditions to drinking water process engineers. Created an interactive web application to allow user-driven investigation of water quality trends.

Designed and implemented before-after-control-impact studies to assess the hydrological, ecological, and water quality benefits of management interventions such as stream restoration.

Conducted a global synthesis of continuous water quality data to quantify the uncertainty of modeled phosphorus, nitrogen, and suspended sediment loads, as a function of sampling strategies and monitoring design.

Performed critical reviews of literature to assess knowledge gaps of the hydrological processes and the nutrient and suspended sediment pathways in Irish watersheds, highlighting the limitations of contemporary modeling approaches to predict sources of nutrient and sediment pollution.

Authored Oracle SQL scripts to quantify carbon dioxide emissions for energy clients from hundreds of operational sites across the United States. Automated Chemical Inventory and SARA Tier II reporting for energy clients. Used ProMax to quantify carbon dioxide emissions from fixed and floating roof storage tank systems.

Developed a watershed hydrological connectivity model to pinpoint major source areas of sediment pollution, and used geochemical fingerprinting of sediment sources to validate model predictions.

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

Science of the Total Environment

Water Research

Soil Use and Management

Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment

Ecological Engineering

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Queen's University, Belfast, 2013
  • B.Sc., Earth and Environmental Science, University of Brighton, 2009
  • Invited Member, Maryland Department of Environment and Chesapeake Bay Trust working group on optimizing biological and water quality monitoring methods. 2018 – Present

    Smithsonian Fellowship, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. 2015 – 2018

    Irish Environmental Protection Agency Doctoral Scholarship. 2010 – 2013