Five Nicholas School Faculty Named Ecological Society of America Fellows

February 14, 2013

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – Five faculty members at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment have been elected to the inaugural class of Fellows of the Ecological Society of America (ESA).

James S. Clark, Norman L. Christensen, Robert B. Jackson, William S. Schlesinger and John Terborgh were among 121 leading scientists, administrators and educators selected for the honor.

The Fellows program was established last year to recognize ESA members who have made significant contributions to ecological science in academics, government service, non-profit organizations or other avenues. Appointment is for life.

Jim Clark is H.L. Blomquist Professor of Environment and professor of biology and statistics.  He is widely cited for his long-term studies of how climate change, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and disturbance affect forest ecosystems and their populations.  He served as ESA’s vice president for science from 1999-2004.

Norm Christensen is research professor and founding dean of the Nicholas School.  He is among the nation’s leading experts on community ecology, disturbance and succession in forest ecosystems, and fire ecology and management.   He served as ESA’s president-elect, president and past president from 2006 to 2009, and as its vice president for finance from 2002-2005.

Rob Jackson is Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change and associate dean for research, professor of biology and director of Duke’s Center on Global Change.  He is widely cited for his research examining how people affect the Earth, including studies of the global carbon and water cycles, biosphere/atmosphere interactions, energy use, and global change. He served as ESA’s vice president for science from 2007 to 2011.

Bill Schlesinger is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Biogeochemistry and former dean of the Nicholas School.  A member of the National Academy of Sciences, his research focuses on global environmental change, particularly on chemical changes in the environment that relate to changes in global climate and desertification.  He currently is president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.  Schlesinger served as ESA’s president from 2003-04.

John Terborgh is research professor emeritus and director of the Center for Tropical Conservation.  A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he is widely cited for his studies on tropical ecology and conservation issues, and avian and mammalian ecology in neotropical forests.

ESA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of scientists founded in 1915 to promote ecological sciences and raise policymakers’ and the public’s awareness of the importance of ecology in everyday life. The society has more than 10,000 members.  It hosts an annual conference and produces a suite of publications, from peer-reviewed journals to newsletters, fact sheets and teaching resources.

The complete list of ESA Fellows is available online at