Nancy Rabalais headshotNancy Rabalais

Position: Professor and Shell Endowed Chair in Oceanography and Wetland Studies, Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences

Phone: 225-578-8531


Office: Room 3161, Energy, Coast and Environment Building

Bachelor's Degree(s): B.S. Texas A&I University, 1972 (Biology)

Master's Degrees(s): M.S. Texas A&I University, 1975 (Biology)

PhD: The University of Texas at Austin, 1983 (Zoology) 

Research Website 

Research Interests

Coastal change; eutrophication and hypoxia; cumulative coastal stressors; historical reconstruction of ecosystem changes from sediments; pelagic and benthic processes; human impacts in wetland and coastal ecosystems; science policy

Classes Taught

2020 – Field and Lab Techniques
4038 – Scientific Writing and Collaboration
4999 – Capstone for Coastal Environmental Science

Awards & Honors

Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2023 
LSU’s 2023 SEC (Southeastern Conference) Faculty Achievement Award, 2023 
MacArthur Fellow, 2012
Sustaining Fellow, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2017
Peter Benchley Award for Excellence in Science, Blue Frontier Organization, 2012
Rachel Carson Lecture, American Geophysical Union, 2012
Heinz Award, 2011
Clarke Prize, National Water Resources Institute, 2008
Ruth Patrick Award, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, 2008
Ocean Studies Board, National Research Council, Member 2000-2005; Chair 2002-2005
B. H. Ketchum Award, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2002
National Associate, National Academies of Science, 2001
Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellow, 1999
Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2013
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1995

Professional Affiliations and Service Activities

Member, Gulf Research Program, Division Committee, National Academy of Science, 2022 – present   
Member, Science Advisory Committee, NAS Gulf Research Program, Ecosystem Synthesis Initiative, 2022 - present 

Recent Publications

Google Scholar Profile

Jiang, Z.‐P., Qin, C., Pan, Y., Le, C., Rabalais, N., Turner, R. E., Fennel, K., Wang, K., and Cai, W.-J. 2024. Multi‐decadal coastal acidification in the northern Gulf of Mexico driven by climate change and eutrophication. Geophysical Research Letters 51, e2023GL106300. doi 10.1029/2023GL106300

Keppeler, Friedrich Wolfgang, Annette S. Engel, Linda M. Hooper-Bùi, Paola C. López-Duarte, Charles W. Martin, Jill A. Olin, Michael J. Polito, Nancy N. Rabalais, Brian J. Roberts, Erick M. Swenson, Olaf P. Jensen. 2023. Coastal wetland restoration through the lens of Odum’s theory of ecosystem development. Restoration Ecology e14072 (accepted 11-22-23, on line 12-12-2023). doi10.11 11/rec.14072

Howe, Kathryn L., Kiley W. Seitz, Lauren G. Campbell, Brett J. Baker, J. Cameron Thrash, Nancy N. Rabalais, Mary-Kate Rogener*, Samantha B. Joye, Olivia U. Mason. 2023. Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics reveal broadly distributed, active, novel methanotrophs in the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone and in the marine water column. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 99: 1–15. doi:10.1093/femsec/fiac153

Keppeler, F., Junker, J., Shaw, M, Lamb, K., Olin, J., Paterson, A., Rossi, Swenson, E., … Rabalais, N., …. Roberts, B. (2023). Can biodiversity of pre-existing and created saltmarshes match across scales? An assessment from microbes to predators. Ecosphere, 14, e4461. doi:10.1002/ecs2.4461. doi:10.1002/ecs2.4461

Quiñones-Rivera, Z.J., Wissel, B., Turner, R.E, Rabalais, N.N., Justić, D., Finlay, K.P., Milan, C.S. (2022). Divergent effects of biological and physical processes on dissolved oxygen and dissolved inorganic carbon dynamics on a eutrophied and hypoxic continental shelf. Limnology & Oceanography, 67, 2603-2616. doi: 10.1002/lno.12225. doi: 10.1002/lno.12225

Zengel, S., Weaver, J., Mendelssohn, I., Graham, S., Lin, Q., Hester, M., Willis, J., Silliman, B., Fleeger, J., McClenachan, G., Rabalais, N.N., Turner, R.E., Hughes, R., Cebrian, J., Deis, D., Rutherford, N., Roberts, B. (2022). Meta-analysis of salt marsh vegetation impacts and recovery, synthesis following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Ecological Applications, 32, e02489.

Grégoire, M., Garçon, V., Garcia, H., Breitburg, D., Isensee, K., Oschlies, A., Telszewski, M.A., Barth, J., …. Rabalais, N., …., Yasuhara, M. (2021). A global ocean oxygen database and atlas for assessing and predicting deoxygenation and ocean health in the open and coastal ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 724913. doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.724913.

Keppeler, F.W., Olin, J.A, López-Duarte, P.C., Polito, M.J., Hooper-Bùi, L.M., Taylor, S.S., Rabalais, N.N., Fodrie, F.J., Roberts, B.J., Turner, R.E., Martin, C.W., Jensen, O.P. (2021). Body size, trophic position, and the coupling of different energy pathways across a saltmarsh landscape. Limnology and Oceanography Letters, 6, 360-368.

Rabalais, N.N., (2021). Elevating dissolved oxygen—Reflections on developing and using long-term data. Perspective Series. Gulf and Caribbean Science, 32, xv-xxviv. doi:10.18785/gcr.3201.09

Pitcher, G., Aguirre-Verlade, A., Breitburg, D., Cardich, J., Carstensen, J., …., Rabalais, N., …., Zhu, Z.Y. (2021). System controls of coastal and open ocean oxygen depletion. Progress in Oceanography, 197, 102613. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2021.102613

Parsons, M.P., Brandt, A.L., Rabalais, N.N., Morrison, W., Turner, R.E., Dortch, Q. (2021). Characterization of common phytoplankton in Louisiana coastal waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 168, 112458.

Rogener, M.K., Hunter, K.S, Rabalais, N.N., Roberts, B.J., Bracco, A., Stewart, F.J., Joye, S. (2021). Denitrification and methane oxidation in oxygen-depleted waters of the Louisiana shelf. Biogeosciences, 154, 231–254, doi:10.1007/s10533-021-00778-8(012345678)

Rabouille, C., Lansard, B., Owings, S.M., Rabalais, N.N., Bombled, B., Metzger, E., Richirt, J., Eitel, E.M., Boever, A., Beckler, J., Taillefert, M. (2021). Early diagenesis in the hypoxic and acidified zone of the northern Gulf of Mexico: is organic matter recycling in sediments disconnected from the water column? Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 604330. doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.604330

Wang, H. J., Lehrter, K., Maiti, K., Fennel, K., Laurent, A., Rabalais, N., Hussain, N., Li, Q., Scaboo, K.M., Cai, W.-J. (2020). Benthic respiration in hypoxic waters enhances bottom water acidification in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125, e2020JC016152.

Ren, L., Rabalais, N.N., Turner, R.E. (2020). Effects of Mississippi River water quality on phytoplankton growth and composition in the upper Barataria Estuary, Louisiana. Hydrobiologia, 847, 1831-1850. doi:10.1007/s10750-020-04214-0

Rabalais, N., Baustian, M. M. (2020). Historical shifts in benthic infaunal diversity in the northern Gulf of Mexico since the appearance of seasonally severe hypoxia. Diversity, 12(49), 18 pp. doi:10.3390/d12020049

Rabalais, N. N., Turner, R. E. (2019). Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia: Past, Present, and Future. Limnology & Oceanography: Bulletin, 28(4), 117-124. doi:10.1002/lob.10351

Ballard, T. C., Michalak, A. M., McIsaac, G. F., Rabalais, N. N., Turner, R. E. (2019). Comment on “Legacy nitrogen may prevent achievement of water quality goals in the Gulf of Mexico". Science, 365(NA), eaau8401. doi:10.1126/science.aau8401

Du, J., Park, K., Shen, J., Zhang, Y. J., Yu, X., Ye, F., Wang, Z., Rabalais, N. N. (2019). A hydrodynamic model for Galveston Bay and the shelf in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Ocean Science, 15(NA), 951-966.

Robinson, E. M., Rabalais, N. N. (2019). The effects of oil on blue crab and periwinkle snail interactions: A mesocosm study. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 517(NA), 34-39.

Turner, R. E., Rabalais, N. N., Overton, E. B., Meyer, B. M., McClenachan, G., Swenson, E. M., Besonen, M., Parsons, M. L., Zingre, J. (2019). Oiling of the continental shelf and coastal marshes over eight years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Environmental Pollution, 252(NA), 1367-137.

Gilles, L., Thrash, J. C., Rabalais, N. N., Mason, O. U. (2019). Extent of the annual Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone influences microbial community structure. PLoS\S ONE, 14(4), e0209055.

Matli, V. R. R., Fang, S., Guinness, J. ,., Rabalais, N. N., Craig, J. K., Daniel, O. R. (2018). A space-time geostatistical assessment of hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Science & Technology, 52(NA), 12484-12493. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b03474

Wang, H., Hu, X., Rabalais, N. N., Brandes, J. N. (2018). Drivers of oxygen consumption in the northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxic waters – A stable carbon isotope perspective. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(NA), 10,528–10,538.

Breitburg, D., Co-Authors, M., Rabalais, N. N. (2018). Ocean deoxygenation – Causes and consequences in a changing world. Science, 59(eaam7240).

Rabalais, N. N., Smith, L. M., Turner, R. E. (2018). The Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Gulf of Mexico shelf hypoxia. Continental Shelf Research, 152, 98-107.

Baustian, M. M., Bargu, S., Morrison, W., Sexton, C., Rabalais, N. N. (2018). The polychaete, Paraprionospio pinnata, is a likely vector of domoic acid to the benthic food web in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Harmful Algae, 79((2018)), 44-49.

Turner, R.E., Rabalais, N., Justić, D. (2017). Bottom-water temperature in summer on the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf from 1985 to 2015.

Price, A. M., Baustian, M. M., Turner, R. E., Rabalais, N., Chmura, G. L. (2017). Dinoflagellate cysts track eutrophication in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries and Coasts.

X. H., Li, Q., Huang, W.-j., Chen, B., Cai, W.-j., Rabalais, N., Turner, E. (2017). Eutrophication, storms and benthic respiration—a case study on carbonate chemistry in a traditional hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Alvarez-torres, P., Rabalais, N., Piña Guti`errez, J.M., Padrón López, R.M. (2017). Research and the community of practice in the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosysem.

Hu, X., Cai, W.-J., Rabalais, N., Xue, J. (2016). Coupled oxygen and dissolved inorganic carbon dynamics in coastal ocean and its use as a potential indicator for detecting water column oil degradation. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 129, 311–318.

Thrash, J. C., Seitz, K. W., Baker, B. J., Temperton, B., Gillies, L. E., Rabalais, N., Henrissat, B., Mason, O. U. (2016). Decoding bacterioplankton metabolism in the northern Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. bioRxiv, 095471.

Bargu, S., Baustian, M. M., Rabalais, N., Del Rio, R., Von Korff, B., Turner, R. E. (2016). Influence of the Mississippi River on Pseudo-nitzschia spp. Abundance and Toxicity in Louisiana Coastal Waters. Estuaries and Coasts, 39(5), 1345–1356.

Price, A. M., Baustian, M. M., Turner, R. E., Rabalais, N., Chmura, G. L. (2016). Melitasphaeridium choanophorum–a living fossil dinoflagellate cyst in the Gulf of Mexico. Palynology, 1–8.

Luo, Z., Krock, B., Mertens, K. N., Price, A. M., Turner, R. E., Rabalais, N., Gu, H. (2016). Morphology, molecular phylogeny and azaspiracid profile of Azadinium poporum (Dinophyceae) from the Gulf of Mexico. Harmful Algae, 55, 56–65.

Wong, W. H., Rabalais, N., Turner, R. E. (2016). Size-dependent top-down control on phytoplankton growth by microzooplankton in eutrophic lakes. Hydrobiologia, 763(1), 97–108.

Mertens, K., Gu, H., Takano, Y., Price, A. M., Pospelova, V., Bogus, K., Versteegh, G. J., Marret, F., Turner, R. E., Rabalais, N., others (2016). The cyst-theca relation of Trinovantedinium pallidifulvum, with erection of Protoperidinium lousianensis sp. nov. and their phylogenetic position within the Conica group. Palynology.

Gillies, L. E., Thrash, J. C., deRada, S., Rabalais, N., Mason, O. U. (2015). Archaeal enrichment in the hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Environmental microbiology, 17(10), 3847–3856.

Fry, B., Justic, D., Riekenberg, P., Swenson, E. M., Turner, R. E., Wang, L., Pride, L., Rabalais, N., Kurtz, J. C., Lehrter, J. C., others (2015). Carbon dynamics on the Louisiana continental shelf and cross-shelf feeding of hypoxia. Estuaries and Coasts, 38(3), 703–721.

Liu, B., Schaider, L. A., Mason, R. P., Shine, J. P., Rabalais, N., Senn, D. B. (2015). Controls on methylmercury accumulation in northern Gulf of Mexico sediments. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 159, 50–59.

Rabotyagov, S. S., Campbell, T. D., White, M., Arnold, J. G., Atwood, J., Norfleet, M. L., Kling, C. L., Gassman, P. W., Valcu, A., Richardson, J., Rabalais, N. (2015). Cost-effective targeting of conservation investments to reduce the northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(52), 18530–18535.

Gu, H., Luo, Z., Mertens, K. N., Price, A. M., Turner, R. E., Rabalais, N. (2015). Cyst-motile stage relationship, morphology, ultrastructure, and molecular phylogeny of the gymnodinioid dinoflagellate Barrufeta resplendens comb. nov., formerly known as Gyrodinium resplendens, isolated from the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of phycology, 51(5), 990–999.

Rabalais, N. (2015). Human impacts on fisheries across the land–sea interface. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(26), 7892–7893.

Parsons, M., Morrison, W., Rabalais, N., Turner, R., Tyre, K. (2015). Phytoplankton and the Macondo oil spill: A comparison of the 2010 phytoplankton assemblage to baseline conditions on the Louisiana shelf. Environmental Pollution, 207, 152–160.

Rabalais, N. (2014). Assessing early looks at biological responses to the Macondo event. BioScience, 69(9), 757–759.

Rabalais, N., Cai, W.-J., Carstensen, J., Conley, D. J., Fry, B., Hu, X., Quinones-Rivera, Z., Rosenberg, R., Slomp, C. P., Turner, R. E., others (2014). Eutrophication-driven deoxygenation in the coastal ocean. Oceanography, 70(1), 123-133.

Kling, C. L., Panagopoulos, Y., Rabotyagov, S. S., Valcu, A. M., Gassman, P. W., Campbell, T., White, M. J., Arnold, J. G., Srinivasan, R., Jha, M. K., others, Rabalais, N. (2014). LUMINATE: linking agricultural land use, local water quality and Gulf of Mexico hypoxia. European Review of Agricultural Economics, 41(3), 431–459.