Kate Ballantine


  • Marjorie Fisher Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Chair of Environmental Studies
Kate Ballantine, Marjorie Fisher Associate Professor of Environmental Studies.

Kate Ballantine’s research focuses on the long-term development and functions of restored ecosystems.

Destruction of over half the world’s wetlands for agriculture and development has resulted in the loss of valuable ecosystem functions that wetlands perform, such as water purification, aquifer recharge, climate regulation, long-term carbon storage, flood abatement, recreation, and habitat provision. Ballantine and her students conduct basic and applied lab and field research to investigate how restored wetlands develop and function over time, the mechanisms underlying these functions, and what restoration methodologies may stimulate desirable (or undesirable!) ecosystem functions.

Ecosystem restoration is an interdisciplinary field, and Ballantine values her collaborations with students and professionals from a wide variety of expertise to work on restoration projects that inform both ecosystem science and restoration practice. Ballantine’s courses on restoration ecology, wetlands ecology and management, environmental science, and general environmental studies help students bridge the gap from being consumers of information to producers of information by taking on original real-world projects with real-world consequences. Students also examine where things such as water, food, and information come from before we encounter them, and where they go to after we use them. In her classes, students not only learn to address questions about what they see outdoors in nature, but also what they observe in their homes, communities, and daily lives.

Areas of Expertise

Restoration ecology, biogeochemistry, wetland ecology, ecosystem functions, water resources, soil microbial ecology


  • Ph.D., M.S. Cornell University
  • A.B., Smith College


Recent Campus News

The recipients of the coveted Mount Holyoke College Faculty Awards were celebrated at a Zoom ceremony replete with warmth and kindness.

Mount Holyoke associate professor Kate Ballantine shipped lab kits worldwide to give her students hands-on experience creating new scientific knowledge.

Future physician Jailene Rodriguez ’20 gained hands-on lab experience in high school via Mount Holyoke’s Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program.

Recent Grants

Kate Ballantine and Rachel Rubin (Environmental Studies) and Jason Andras (Biology) received a grant from the Restore America's Estuaries: Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Watershed Grants for their project " Bioreactors for Enhanced Nitrogen Removal in Coastal Cranberry Farms." The project is for two years and four months.

Kate Ballantine was a contributing partner on a successful USDA National Resources Conservation Service award to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts supporting wetland restoration and associated research for "Cranberry Bog Conservation and Habitat Restoration."  The project is for 5 years. (May, 2020)

Recent Publications

Rubin, R., K. Ballantine, A. Hegberg*, and J. Andras. 2022. Flooding and ecological restoration promote wetland microbial communities and soil functions on former cranberry farmland. PLoS ONE 16(12): e0260933. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0260933

Bartolucci, N.*, T. Anderson, and K. Ballantine. 2020. Restoration of retired agricultural land to wetland mitigates greenhouse gas emissions. Restoration Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.13314

Ballantine, K., G. Davenport, L. Deegan, B. Gladfelter, C. Hatch, C. Kennedy, S. Klionsky, B. Mayton, C. Neill, T. Surasinghe, N. Valentine.  2020. Learning from the Restoration of Wetlands on Cranberry Farmland.  http://www.livingobservatory.org/learning-report

Rubin, R.L., T.R. Anderson, and K.A. Ballantine (2020). Biochar Simultaneously Reduces Nutrient Leaching and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Restored Wetland Soils. Wetlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-020-01380-8

Andras, J. P., Rodriguez-Reillo, W. G., Truchon, A., Blanchard, J. L., Pierce, E. A., & Ballantine, K. A. (2020). Rewilding the small stuff: The effect of ecological restoration on prokaryotic communities of peatland soils. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. doi:10.1093/femsec/fiaa144

Recent Honors

Kate Ballantine was an invited speaker at the University of Connecticut where she presented her work on the long-term development and ecosystem functions of restored wetlands. (November, 2018)

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