Research Staff

Michael T. Coe, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist / Leader of Amazon Program
Woods Hole Research Center
149 Woods Hole Road
Falmouth, MA 02540-1644

Dr. Coe is an earth system scientist who specializes in understanding how human land cover change and land management decisions affect the energy and water cycles, and ultimately feedback to regional climate. He is currently participating in projects based in the Brazilian Amazon and savanna environments. He leads field research programs to collect data on how expanding agriculture changes evaporation, soil moisture, river discharge, and biochemical cycles. He and his colleagues combine field data with satellite observations and earth system computer models to better understand the scale of historical and potential future human impacts on tropical climate and ecosystems and help develop mitigation strategies. Dr. Coe previously spent seven years as a scientist at the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been a visiting scientist at Lund University, Sweden, and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2014, Dr. Coe will be in residence as a Fulbright Scholar at the Federal University of Goiás, Brazil, continuing his work with colleagues there to understand how massive deforestation in the savanna regions of Brazil may affect the climate in the coming decades.


Ph.D. - University of Wisconsin-Madison
1997, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Dissertation: Global Simulation of Lakes and River Transport in Climate Models, and Investigation of Lake/Climate Feedbacks During the Middle Holocene.

M.S. - University of Wisconsin-Madison
1992, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Dissertation: The Response of the Simulated Hydrologic Cycle to Interglacial and Glacial Boundary Conditions: Implications for Major Continental Drainage Basins and Ocean Basins

B.A. - Miami University
1985, Geology

Professional Experience

  • 2011 - Present: Senior Scientist, The Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts
  • 2005 - 2011: Associate Scientist; Woods Hole Research Center
  • 2003-2004: Associate Scientist; Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment -Institute for Environmental Studies; University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 1999-2003: Assistant Scientist; Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment -Institute for Environmental Studies; University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 1997-1999: Post Doctoral Fellow; Climate, People, and Environment Program-Institute for Environmental Studies; University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 1998-1999: Adjunct Instructor, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI
  • 2000: Visiting Scientist; Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 1997: Visiting Scientist; Dynamic Palaeoclimatology Unit, Lund University; Sweden

Research Interests

Understanding the feedbacks between climate variability and change, land management, and water resources using numerical models and data analysis. Areas of particular interest are the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest and Cerrado environments.

Selected publications

Brando, P.M., M.T. Coe, R DeFries, and A.A. Azevedo, 2013: Ecology, economy, and management of an agroindustrial frontier landscape in the southeast Amazon, Phil. Trans. Royal Soc., B, 368, 20120152.

Castanho A.D.A., M.T. Coe, M.H. Costa, Y. Malhi, D. Galbraith, and C.A. Quesada, 2013: Response of simulated above ground biomass and net primary productivity in the Amazon to spatial and temporal variability in the physical environment, Biogeosciences, 10, 2255-2272, doi:10.5194/bg-10-2255-2013,

Coe, M.T, T.R. Marthews, M.H. Costa, D. Galbraith, N. Greenglass, H.M.A. Imbuzeiro, N.M. Levine, Y. Malhi, P. Moorcroft, M.N. Muza, T.L. Powell, S. Saleska, L.A. Solorzano, and J. Wang, 2013: Deforestation and climate feedbacks threaten the ecological integrity of south-southeastern Amazonia, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., B, 368, 20120155.

Macedo, M.N., M.T. Coe, R.S. DeFries, M. Uriarte, P.M. Brando, C. Neill, and W.S. Walker, 2013: Land use-driven stream warming in southeastern Amazonia, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., B, 368, 20120153.

Neill, C., M.T. Coe, S.H. Riskin, A.V. Krusche, H. Elsenbeer, M.N. Macedo, R. McHorney, P. Lefebvre, E.A. Davidson, R. Scheffler, M. Figueira, S. Porder, and L.A. Deegan, 2013: Watershed responses to Amazon soya bean cropland expansion and intensification, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., B, 368, 20120452.

Oliveira, L.J.C., M.H. Costa, B.S. Soares-Filho, and M.T. Coe, 2013: Large-scale expansion of agriculture in Amazonia may be a no-win scenario, Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024021 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024021.

Stickler, C.M., M.T. Coe, M.H. Costa, L.C. Dias, D.C. Nepstad, D.G. McGrath, H.O. Rodrigues, B.S. Soares-Filho, 2013: The Dependence of hydropower energy generation on forests in the Amazon Basin at local and regional scales, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 13, doi:10.1073/pnas.1215331110.

Davidson, E.A., A.C. de Araújo, P. Artaxo, J. K. Balch, I. F. Brown, M.M. da C. Bustamante, M.T. Coe, R.S. DeFries, M. Keller, M. Longo, J. W. Munger, W. Schroeder, B.S. Soares-Filho, C.M. Souza Jr., S.C. Wofsy, 2012: The Amazon basin in transition. Nature, doi:10.1038/nature10717.

Wolh, E., A. Barros, N. Brunsell, N. Chappell, M.T. Coe, T. Giambelluca, S. Goldsmith, R. Harmon, J. Hendrickx, J. Juvik, J. McDonnell, and F. Ogden, 2012: A research vision for hydrology of the humid tropics: Balancing water, energy, and land use. Nature Clim. Change, 10.1038/nclimate1556

Coe, M.T., E.M. Latrubesse, M.E Ferreira, and M.L. Amsler, 2011: The Effects of deforestation and climate variability on the streamflow of the Araguaia River, Brazil, Biogeochemistry, DOI: 10.1007/s10533-011-9582-2.

Hayhoe, S, C. Neill, R. McHorney, S. Porder, P. Lefebvre, M.T. Coe, H. Elsenbeer and A. Krusche, 2011: Conversion to soy on the Amazonian agricultural frontier increases streamflow without affecting stormflow dynamics, Global Change Biology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02392.x.

Stickler, C.M., D.C. Nepstad, M.T. Coe, D.G. McGrath. H.O. Rodrigues, W.S. Walker, B.S. Soares-Filho, and E.A. Davidson, 2009: The potential ecological costs and co-benefits of REDD: A critical review and case study from the Amazon region, Global Change Biology, 15, 2803–2824, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02109.x.

Coe, M.T., M.H. Costa, and B.S. Soares-Filho, 2009: The Influence of historical and potential future deforestation on the stream flow of the Amazon River - Land surface processes and atmospheric feedbacks, J. Hydrol. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.02.043.

Costa, M.H., M.T. Coe, and J-L Guyot, 2009: Effects of climatic variability and deforestation on flow regime, In: Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Project in Amazonia: A synthesis, accepted.

Garcia-Montiel, D.C., M.T. Coe, M.P. Cruz, J.N. Ferreira, E.M. da Silva, and E.A. Davidson, 2008: Estimating seasonal changes in volumetric soil water content at landscape scales in a savanna ecosystem using two-dimensional resistivity profiling, Earth Inter., 12, 1-25.

Coe, M.T., M.H. Costa and E.A. Howard, 2007: Simulating the surface waters of the Amazon River Basin: Impacts of new river geomorphic and dynamic flow parameterizations, Hydrol. Procs. 21, doi: 10.1002/hyp.6850.

Coe, M.T. and C.M. Birkett, 2007: The Desiccation of Lake Chad, in: Our Changing Planet: The View from Space, M.D. King, C.L Parkinson, K.C. Partington, and R.G. Williams, eds., Cambridge University Press, 400 pp.

Foley, J.A., G.P. Asner, M.H. Costa, M.T. Coe, R. DeFries, H.K. Gibbs, E.A. Howard, S. Olson, J. Patz, N. Ramankutty and P. Snyder, 2007: Amazonian revealed: Forest degradation and loss of ecosystem goods and services in the Amazon Basin, Frontiers in Ecol. and Environ. 5(1): 25-32.

Li, K.Y., M.T. Coe, N. Ramankutty, and R. De Jong, 2007: Modeling the hydrological impact of land-use change in West Africa, J. Hydrol. 337, 258-268, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2007.01.038

Cardille, J. A., S. R. Carpenter, M. T. Coe, J. A. Foley, P. C. Hanson, M. G. Turner, and J. A. Vano 2007: Carbon and water cycling in lake-rich landscapes: Landscape connections, lake hydrology, and biogeochemistry, J. Geophys. Res., 112, G02031, doi:10.1029/2006JG000200.

Li, K.Y., R. De Jong, M.T. Coe, N. Ramankutty, 2006: Root water uptake based upon a new water stress reduction and asymptotic root distribution function, Earth Interact., 10, paper 10-014, 1 - 22.

Li, K.Y., M.T. Coe, and N. Ramankutty, 2005, Investigation of hydrological variability in West Africa using land surface models, J Clim., 18, (16), 2893-2908.

Foley, J.A., R. DeFries, G.P. Asner, C. Barford, G. Bonan, S.R. Carpenter, F.S. Chapin, M.T. Coe, G.C. Daily, H.K. Gibbs, J.H. Helkowski, T. Holloway, E.A. Howard, C.J. Kucharik, C. Monfreda, J.A. Patz, I.C. Prentice, N. Ramankutty, and P.K. Snyder, 2005: Global consequences of land use, Science, 309, 570-574.

Coe, M.T., and C.M. Birkett, 2004: Calculation of river discharge and prediction of lake height from satellite radar altimetry: Example for the Lake Chad Basin, Water Resour. Res., 40, (10), 10.1029/2003WR002543.

Cardille, J., M.T. Coe, and J. Vano, 2004: Impacts of climate variation and catchment area on water balance and lake hydrologic type in groundwater-dominated systems: A generic lake model, Earth Interactions, 8, 1-24.

Bonan, G.B., R.S. DeFries, M.T. Coe, and D.S. Ojima. 2004: Land use and climate. G. Gutman et al. (eds.), Land Change Science, 301-314. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Foley, J.A., M.T. Coe, M, Scheffer, and G. Wang, 2003: Regime shifts in the Sahara and Sahel: Interactions between ecological and climatic systems in northern Africa, Ecosystems, 6, 524-539, doi: 10.1007/s10021-002-0227-0.

Coe, M.T., M.H. Costa, A. Botta, and C.M. Birkett, 2002: Long-term simulations of discharge and floods in the Amazon basin, J. Geophys. Res., 107 (D20), doi: 10.1029/2001JD000740.

Donner, S.D., M.T. Coe, J.D. Lenters, T.E. Twine, and J.A. Foley 2002: Modeling the impact of hydrological changes on nitrate transport in the Mississippi River Basin from 1955-1994, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 16 (3): art. no. 1043.

Foley, J.A., A. Botta, M.T. Coe, and M.H. Costa, 2002: El Niño–Southern oscillation and the climate, ecosystems and rivers of Amazonia, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 10.1029/2002GB001872.

Delire, C., S. Levis, G. Bonan, J.A. Foley, M.T. Coe, and S. Vavrus, 2002: Comparison of the climate simulated by the CCM3 coupled to two different land-surface models, Clim. Dynamics, 19, 657-669, doi: 10.1007/s00382-002-7.

Costa, M.H., C. Henrique, C. Oliveira, R.G. Andrade, T.R. Bustamante, F.A. Silva, and M.T. Coe, 2002: A macroscale hydrological data set of river flow routing parameters for the Amazon Basin, J. Geophys. Res., 107 (D20),(Coe and Foley 2001) doi: 10.1029/2000JD000309.

Coe, M.T., and J.A. Foley, 2001: Human and natural impacts on the water resources of the Lake Chad basin, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 3349-3356.

Kucharik, C.J., J.A. Foley, C. Delire, V.A. Fisher, M.T. Coe, S.T. Gower, J. Lenters, C. Molling, J.M. Norman and N. Ramankutty, 2000. Testing the performance of a dynamic global ecosystem model: Water balance, carbon balance, and vegetation structure. Global Biogechem. Cycles 14, 795-825.