Richardson Receives Distinguished Professorship

July 14, 2016

Contact: Tim Lucas, 919/613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University has awarded a Distinguished Professorship – one of the highest academic honors it bestows on faculty – to Curtis J. Richardson, professor of resource ecology and director of the Duke University Wetland Center.

Richardson was named the John O. Blackburn Distinguished Professorship, effective July 1.

He becomes the fifth Nicholas School of the Environment faculty member awarded a university-wide Distinguished Professorship this year. Earlier this year, Richard Di Giulio, Andrew Read, Drew Shindell and Martin Smith were also awarded the high honor.

Duke confers Distinguished Professorships annually on faculty members who have achieved distinction as leading scholars in their fields. The appointments are based on the recommendation of Provost Sally Kornbluth and approval by Duke’s Board of Trustees.

Widely cited for his work on wetland ecology and restoration, Richardson has published more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Much of his research focuses on long-term ecosystem response to large-scale perturbations such as climate change, toxic materials, trace metals, flooding, or nutrient additions, with special interests in phosphorus nutrient dynamics in wetlands and the effects of environmental stress on plant communities and ecosystem functions and services.

In recognition of his contributions to the field of wetland science, Richardson has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Wetland Scientists, and the Soil Science Society of America. He was awarded the Environmental Law Institute’s 2006 National Wetlands Award for Science Research.

Richardson’s new distinguished professor is named in honor of John O. Blackburn, a former Duke provost, chancellor and professor of economics whose research focused on energy and environmental issues.

With Richardson’s appointment, 22 faculty members across Duke’s campus have now been recognized with distinguished professorships this year.