Brannon Andersen

Brannon Andersen

Rose J. Forgione Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

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Dr. Brannon Andersen came to Furman in 1994 after completing his Ph.D. at Syracuse University, where he also was a senior geochemist studying leachate mitigation as part of the closure of the Freshkills Landfill on Staten Island, NY. He is trained in geology but has morphed into an environmental scientist with a focus on biogeochemistry and sustainability science. Dr. Andersen believes in the transformative impact of undergraduate research experiences and has co-authored over 110 abstracts with undergraduate students that were presented at regional and national professional meetings. He has also published over 28 journal articles/book chapters and has been awarded over $2 million in external grants. Dr. Andersen was profiled in Science Trends in 2017.

Dr. Andersen was chair of the department (2009-2014, 2016 - 2019), was named the Henry and Ellen Townes Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences (1998-2000), the Association of Furman Students Faculty Member of the Year (2003-2004), a South Carolina Independent Universities and Colleges Teacher of Excellence (2008), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor (2010), and has received the Council on Undergraduate Research Geosciences Division Undergraduate Research Mentor Award (2017). Dr. Andersen is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University, has been an associate editor of the journal Environmental Geosciences, and an Academic Council Member of the Institute of Political Ecology in Zagreb, Croatia. For the 2014-2015 academic year, Dr. Andersen was a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zadar in Zadar, Croatia, and for the 2020-2021 academic year he was a visiting professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rijeka in Rijeka, Croatia.


  • Ph.D., Syracuse University
  • M.S., Miami University
  • B.S., Texas A&M University


Dr. Andersen is a biogeochemist that studies how human activities have transformed the landscape and altered the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen. He is also interested in how sustainability indicators can be used to understand progress towards sustainability at the institutional through national levels.  He conducts this research in collaboration with other members of the EES department and the Biology Department as part of the River Basins Research Initiative, and with colleagues at the University of Zadar and Institute of Political Ecology in Croatia. His current research projects, all of which involve student collaborators, include

  • effect of intensive grazing practices on soil health in the Upstate of South Carolina using organic C and N concentrations as an indicator
  • how soil management methods (e.g., industrial vs organic, tilled vs no-till) affect soil organic C and N in vineyards in Croatia
  • the response of nitrogen and carbon cycling in streams and ponds to urbanization
  • understanding how seagrass meadows store carbon in the Adriatic Sea
  • modeling the intensity of land use by humans over the last half century using the human appropriation of net primary productivity method.
  • developing sustinability indicators at the national level for countries in southeastern Europe and determing barriers to implementing sustainability policy

​For more information about some of his research program, please see the River Basins Research Initiative website.


*Denotes undergraduate co-author


  • Andersen, C. B., and Quinn, J., 2020, Chapter 9.2: Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP): Encyclopedia of the World’s Biomes,
  • Brkljača, M., Kulišić, K., and Andersen, C.B., 2019, Soil dehydrogenase activity and organic matter as affected by management system: Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus. v. 84, no. 2, p. 135-142.
  • Domazet, M., Rilovic, A., Ancic, B., Andersen, C.B., *Richardson, L., Vukovic, M.B., Pungas, L., and Medak, T., 2019, Mental models of sustainability: The degrowth doughnut model: Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes,
  • *Moloney, T., Lewis, G.P., and Andersen, C.B., 2015, Atmospheric deposition in a rapidly urbanizing area: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 226, p. 266-281.
  • Andersen, C.B., Quinn, J., and *Donovan, K., 2015, Human appropriation of net primary production in an agriculturally-dominated watershed, southeastern USA: Land, v. 4, p. 513-540.
  • Andersen, C.B., Lewis, G.P., *Pugh, J., and *Hart, M., 2014, The impact of wastewater treatment plant effluent on the biogeochemistry of the Enoree River, South Carolina, during drought conditions: Water, Soil, and Air Pollution, v. 225, DOI 10.1007/s11270-014-1955-4​, 21 pp.
    Dripps, W.R., Lewis, G.P., *Baxter, R., and Andersen, C.B., 2013, Hydrogeochemical characterization of headwater seepages inhabited by the endangered Bunched Arrowhead (Sagittaria fasciculata) in the Upper Piedmont of South Carolina: Southeastern Naturalist, v. 12, p. 619-637.
    Halfacre, A., Horhota, M., Kransteuber, K., DeKnight, B., Andersen, C.B., Byrne, J., Trombulak, S., and Jenks-Jay, N., 2013, Shaping sustainability at Furman and Middlebury: Emergent and adaptive curricular models, in, Johnston, L. (ed.), Higher Education for Sustainability: Cases, Challenges, and Opportunities from Across the Curriculum, p. 185-200.
    *Williams, A. J., Andersen, C.B., and Lewis, G.P., 2009, Evaluating the effects of sample processing treatments on alkalinity measurements: Journal of Hydrology, v. 377, p. 455-464.


  • Lewis, G.P., Haney, D.C., Liao M-K., Muthukrishnan, S., and Andersen, C.B., 2022, The River Basins Research Initiative: Three decades of undergraduate research in the South Carolina Piedmont: UCOWR/NIWR Annual Water Resources Conference.
  • *Holt, E., Andersen, C. B., and Domazet, M., 2021, Identifying pathways for degrowth transitions in European countries using the aspirational doughnut model: 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
  • Andersen, C. B., Bostic, H., and Pluhacek, S., 2020, Transforming University Culture in the United States for a Sustainable Future: HERITAGE 2020 Conference.
  • *Vickery, C., Campbell, C., and Andersen, C. B., 2020, Constraints of LOI as a predictor of SOC in Piedmont soils: Northeastern/Southeastern Sectional Meeting of the Geological Society of America.
  • *Wolcott, C., Andersen, C. B., and Allen, K., 2020, Organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations as indicators of soil quality in cattle farms of the Bellbird Biological Corridor, Costa Rica: Northeastern/Southeastern Sectional Meeting of the Geological Society of America.
  • *Clemens, S., Brkljača, M., Pearson, D., and Andersen, C. B., 2020, Soil C and N as indicators of vineyard soil quality in the Ravni Kotari region of Croatia: Northeastern/Southeastern Sectional Meeting of the Geological Society of America.
  • *Ritz, E., Andersen, C. B., and Romanek, 2019, Methane emissions to the atmosphere from lakes and wetlands in the southeast United States: 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
  • Lewis, G. P., Andersen, C. B., *Wolcott, C. C., and *Elmore, G. A., 2019, The effect of watershed topography on solute concentrations in forested headwaters: Implications for understanding Piedmont urban biogeochemistry: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 51, No. 5, doi: 10.1130/abs/2019AM-339831
  • Domazet, M., Andersen, C. B., *Richardson, L., Pungas, L., 2018, How Far for the Money? Post-Socialist Socio-Metabolic Potential for a Degrowth Sustainability Transition: Environmental Sociology Pre-Conference, International Sociological Association.
  • *Richardson, L., Pungas, L., Domazet, M., Ancic, B., Andersen, C.B., and Quinn, J., 2018, Fitting Croatia within the doughnut: Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
  • *Ouverson, T., and Andersen, C.B., 2018, Does rotational grazing improve soil quality?: Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
  • *Dembure, Z. and Andersen, C.B., 2018, Quality of forest and pasture soils from Spirit Creek Farm, Georgia: Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
  • Brkljača, M., Kulišić, K., and Andersen, C.B., 2018, Soil dehydrogenase activity and organic matter as affected by management system: 13th Congress of the Croatia Society for Soil Science Book of Abstracts, p. 30.