James Knighton

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. James Knighton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Connecticut. James researches plant-soil-water interactions through field experimentation and numerical modeling. He specifically studies how plant species compete for soil water, the complex flow paths water takes between rainfall and streamflow, and the social implications of these processes. While a postdoc at SESYNC, his research focused on evaluating why forest cover change has varied impacts on flooding risks worldwide. Specifically, he is working to understand how local hydrology and population demographics come together to influence the generation of flooding insurance claims from urban environments in New York State through a collaboration with the New York Water Resources Institute. James is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) who earned his PhD in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University (2019) and an MA in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania (2013). Prior to Cornell, he worked as a PE for eight years in the nuclear industry and government performing risk analysis for power generation facilities and urban environments.

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Photo of James Knighton
2019 - 2020
Areas of Expertise
socio-environmental modeling
Research Interests
model development
plant-water interactions
human-flood interactions
Methods of Expertise
process-based ecohydrological models
field sampling of stable isotopes in water