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Toby Maxwell


Ph.D. Candidate

Contact Information:

Office: PES 3242
Lab: PES 3231
Email: tmaxwel@ucdavis.edu

B.S., Chemistry; 2011

State University of New York at Geneseo


I work through the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis under Dr. William Horwath and in collaboration with Dr. Lucas Silva. I am developing methods using HPLC and GCMS to allow for separation and compound specific natural abundance isotopic analysis of plant lipid biomarkers in soil. My research seeks to use oxygen and hydrogen stable isotopes of these lipids as ecohydrological tracers to better understand the relationship between carbon and water cycles in terrestrial systems. This empirical research will to enhance our ability to evaluate how soil properties and climate variability drive changes in ecosystem scale water fluxes and productivity.


  1. Maxwell, T. M., Silva, L. C. R. & Horwath, W. R. Using multielemental isotopic analysis to decipher drought impacts and adaptive management in ancient agricultural systems. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2–3 (2014).
  2. Maxwell, T.M., Silva, L.C.R., Horwath, W.R. (2014), Expanding lipid proxies to the next dimension: Developing methods for the measurement of oxygen isotopes in plant waxes, Abstract 30432, presented at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 15-19.
  3. Culman, S.W., Haden, V.R., Maxwell, T.M., Waterhouse, H., and William Horwath. 2014. Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities in California Agriculture: Review of California Cropland Emissions and Mitigation Potential. NI GGMOCA R 3. Durham, NC: Duke University.
  4. Maxwell, T.M., Silva, L.C.R., Pedroso, G., Doane, T.A., Mukome, F.N.D., and Horwath, W.R. (2014), Quantifying Water Balance-Carbon Storage Relationships Using Oxygen Isotope Ratios of Plant Lipids, Poster 27, presented at 2014 Soil’s Role in Restoring Ecosystem Services Conference, Soil Science Society of America, Sacramento, Calif., Mar. 7-9.


Jastro Shields Research Award, 2015

William and Linda Sullivan Graduate Research Fellowship, 2014

Gamma Sigma Epsilon National Chemistry Honor Society


Stable Isotopes in Ecology and Environmental Science, Organizer/Lecturer, Fall 2015

Forests in Society, Teaching Assistant, Spring 2014, 2015