Nicholas School Faculty Publications Earn Year-End Honors

January 6, 2014

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – A textbook and a peer-reviewed scientific paper by Nicholas School of the Environment faculty members have been recognized as being among last year’s best and most influential publications.

Environmental Leadership: A Reference Handbook,” edited by Deborah Rigling Gallagher, associate professor of the practice of environmental policy, was named an Outstanding Academic Title of 2013 by Choice Reviews Online.

The encyclopedic 1,032-page reference work, which took Gallagher three years to complete, was published by Sage Publications.  It’s organized by topic into two volumes and tackles a wide variety of issues relevant to environmental and sustainability leadership.  More than 150 authors contributed to its 95 chapters.

Gallagher serves as executive director of the Duke Environmental Leadership Program.

The peer-reviewed scientific study ”Increased Stray Gas Abundance in a Subset of Drinking Water Wells Near Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction,” by faculty members Robert B. Jackson and Avner Vengosh and their teams, was named one of the 10 most accessed stories of the year by the editors of Geochemical News.

The study, published in June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that some homeowners living near shale gas wells appear to be at higher risk of drinking water contaminated with methane, ethane and other stray gases associated with shale gas production.  The scientists analyzed 141 drinking water samples from private water wells across northeastern Pennsylvania’s gas-rich Marcellus Shale basin.

Vengosh is professor of geochemistry and water quality at the Nicholas School.  Jackson, now on the faculty at Stanford University, was Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change and director of the Duke Center on Global Change.

Their co-authors on the study included research scientists Thomas Darrah and Jonathan Karr, PhD graduate Nathaniel Warner, PhD student Adrian Down, and postdoctoral associate Kaiguang Zhao.