Gerrad Jones

Assistant Professor
jonesge [at]

Office: 541-737-4534

Gilmore Hall

Gilmore Hall 240

124 SW 26th Street

124 SW 26th Street
Corvallis, OR 97331
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Water quality
  • Geochemical cycling
  • Statistical and machine learning modeling
  • Geo/spatial analyses



Overall, my professional interests focus on maintaining environmental health, I have approached this through a variety perspectives including through the eyes of a(n)  wildlife biologist, environmental engineer, and environmental chemist. Throughout my career, I have focused on how environmental phenomena (e.g., species diversity, water quality impairment, element concentrations ) are governed by highly complex interactions between biological, chemical, and physical processes. I typically work at field to global scales, and at these scales, environmental systems are often too complex to describe with physically based models. Instead, statistical models provide powerful tools for revealing the the dominant processes driving complex patterns present in real-world environmental data.

I am currently pursuing 2 avenues of research. First, I am interested in water quality, specifically focusing using sophisticated machine learning algorithms to better understand the linkages between landscape processes and water quality impairment. By knowing the processes driving impairment, better management practices (e.g., irrigation) or engineering solutions (e.g., runoff treatment) can be implemented to minimize the negative anthropogenic impacts on the environment. Second, I am interested in soil geochemistry and better understanding how human health is directly linked to the environmental processes driving trace element concentrations in soils. Recently, climate change has been shown to decrease the concentration of essential trace elements in the soils as well as the uptake of these elements by plants. Often, climate change is assumed to have indirect effects on health, but by changing the distribution of elements in the soil, climate change can have a direct unforeseen effects on nutrition. I am interested in better characterizing the dynamics of trace element cycling in soils to better understand how environmental change affects human health.

Curriculum Vitae: 

Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
Biological and Ecological Engineering
OSU Main Campus
Beyond OSU
Personal Interests: 
  • Hiking
  • Snowboarding
  • Tinkering

I have a very broad background and completed degrees in biology/ecology, wildlife, water resources, environmental engineering, and did a postdoc in inorganic geochemistry. These may seem like disparate fields, but at each stage, my fundamental research questions were identical: what processes best explain the observed environmental phenomena. My start in biology/ecology had a big influence on my particular research style. Because ecology is inherently heterogeneous, ecologists have very few physically based tools. Instead, ecologists rely heavily on statistics to interpret data. All of my research utilizes statistical/machine learning tools to help tease apart complex environmental patterns in order to better understand the fundamental processes at work. Once the dominant processes are identified, sustainable engineering/management practices can be put in place to mitigate the anthropogenic impacts to the environment.