Keeley MacNeill

Keeley MacNeill

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Courses Taught

Contact Information

TitleEnvironmental Science Lecturer
Faculty RankLecturer
Address323 South Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
  • office: 402-472-8179 Ext:


My Story

I am a faculty member in the School of Natural Resources. I am an aquatic ecologist interested in how elements move through streams, how they affect each other and how they are taken up and used by aquatic organisms. I explore the interaction between trace and common elements and the implications for ecosystem functioning. This research has taken me to many beautiful places, including northern California, Trinidad, Norway, the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the Ecuadorian Andes, and Yellowstone National Park.

Keeley MacNeill in water

At UNL, I have been working with Dr. Jess Corman and Dr. Steve Thomas on the StreamNet project, which is based in the Scottsbluff area and explores the effects of land use (e.g. CAFOs, row cropping, urban influence) on water quality. Another key water issue in Nebraska is the use of antibiotics in animal production and the application of antibiotic-containing animal waste to row crops. Dr. Thomas and I are collaborating on a project gathering baseline data on how these practices affect the concentration of antibiotics in Nebraska’s freshwaters. I am also interested in exploring how fertilization practices affect the retention and transport of toxic elements like arsenic.

At UNL, I teach Fundamentals of Environmental Sampling, Wetlands, Intro to Environmental Science (co-taught with Dr. Steve Comfort), Limnology, and Stream and River Ecology. I was a technician at UNL shortly after finishing my bachelor’s degree and was excited by the opportunity to return and work with the SNR community and the enthusiastic undergrads.

I grew up in Spearfish, SD. While skiing and hiking in the Black Hills instilled in me a love for the outdoors, I originally wanted to be a medical doctor. At St. Olaf College, I had my first research experience at the Angelo Coast Range Preserve in northern California and shifted career trajectory towards stream ecology when I realized I could make a living out of asking questions about the natural world.

Keeley MacNeill with leaf

Throughout my youth and adult life, music has been one of the most important parts of my identity. I mostly play the oboe and English horn (and almost pursued a career in performance!), and I grew up also playing the piano. During field experiences, maintaining oboe wasn’t always feasible, so I also picked up the guitar. When I’m not working or playing music, you’ll likely find me walking my two pups (one adopted while doing field work in Trinidad!) or on the climbing wall.

Keeley MacNeill with dog
I trained my dog to help me measure stream widths.

Selected Publications

Leduc, Antoine O.H.C, Thomas, S.A, Bassar, R.D., López-Sepulcre, A., MacNeill, K., El-Sabaawi, R., Reznick, D.N., Flecker, A.S., and Travis, J. 2021. The experimental range extension of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) influences the metabolic activity of tropical streams. Oecologia.
Barral-Fraga, L., M.T. Barral, K.L. MacNeill, D.M. Prieto, S. Morin, M.C. Rodríguez-Castro, B.A. Tuulaikhuu, and H. Guasch. 2020. Biotic and Abiotic Factors Influencing Arsenic Biogeochemistry and Toxicity in Fluvial Ecosystems: A Review. International Journal of Environmental Health Research. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17072331
Atkinson, C. L., Alexiades, A. V., MacNeill, K. L., Encalada, A. C., Thomas, S., Flecker, A. S. 2019. Nutrient recycling by insect and fish communities in high-elevation tropical streams. Hydrobiologia. 838(1): 13-28. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-019-03973-9 Online
Paseka, R, A. Bratt, K. MacNeill, A. Burian, and C. See. 2019. Elemental Ratios Link Environmental Change and Human Health. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00378
Welti, N, M. Striebel, AJ. Ulseth, WF. Cross, S. DeVilbiss, PM. Glibert, L. Guo, AG. Hirst, J. Hood, JS. Kominoski, K.L. MacNeill, AS. Mehring, JR. Welter, and H. Hillebrand. 2017. Bridging food webs, ecosystem metabolism, and biogeochemistry using ecological stoichiometry theory. Frontiers in Microbiology. 8(1298). doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.0129
Collins, S. M., Thomas, S., Heatherly, T. N., MacNeill, K., Leduc, A., Lamphere, B., Reznick, D. N., Pringle, C., Flecker, A. S. 2016. Fish introductions and light modulate food web fluxes in tropical streams: a whole-ecosystem experimental approach. EcolOnline
Moslemi, J., S.B. Snider, K. MacNeill, J.F. Gilliam, and A.S. Flecker. 2012. Impacts of an invasive species on nutrient cycling in tropical streams: the unanticipated role of riparian deforestation. PLoS ONE. 7(6) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038806
Schade, JD, K. MacNeill, S. Thomas, F.C. McNeely, J.R. Welter, J. Hood, M. Goodrich, M.E. Power, and J.C. Finlay. 2010. The stoichiometry of nitrogen and phosphorus spiraling in heterotrophic and autotrophic streams. Freshwater Biology. 56(3) doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02509.x



DegreeMajorInstitutionYear Awarded
Doctorate of PhilosophyEcology and Evolutionary BiologyCornell University2019
Bachelor of ArtsBiology with concentration in Nordic StudiesSt Olaf College2008


Professional Organizations

Association for the Science of Limnology and OceanographyMember
Ecological Society of AmericaMember
Society of Freshwater SciencesMember




SNR Program Areas

  • Environmental Science

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • Stream Ecology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Stream Metabolism
  • Nutrient and contaminant interactions

Courses Taught

Course NumberCourse TitleFall Even YearsFall Odd YearsSpring Even YearsSpring Odd YearsSummer SessionCross Listing
NRES 115Introduction to Environmental ScienceXX
NRES 319Fundamentals of Environmental SamplingXX
NRES 320Fundamentals of Environmental Sampling LaboratoryXX
NRES 459/859LimnologyXXBIOS 459/859; WATS 459
NRES 468/868WetlandsXBIOS 458; BSEN 468/868; WATS 468
NRES 470/870Lake and Reservoir Restoration X