Curtis Richardson
Dr. Curtis J. Richardson

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University wetland ecologist Curt Richardson has been awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to work on a new scholarly examination of war’s impacts on the environment.

He will collaborate on the project – titled “The Impact of War on Water Resources, Ecosystem Sustainability and Agricultural Food Production in the Mesopotamian Marshes of Iraq: A Case Study of Environmental and Human Genocide” – with 13 other newly named Fellows in a month-long residency, beginning Nov. 5, at the Rockefeller Foundation’s renowned Bellagio Center on Lake Como, Italy.

Richardson is John O. Blackburn Distinguished University Professor of Resource Ecology at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and director of the Duke University Wetland Center

Widely cited for his work on wetland ecology and restoration – including a series of pioneering studies on the degradation of Iraq’s Mesopotamian marshes during the regime of Saddam Hussein – he 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, war, land-use change, pollution and excess nutrient loading. 

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. In 2006, he was awarded the Environmental Law Institute’s National Wetlands Award for Science Research.
The Rockefeller Foundation awards fellowships for residencies at the Bellagio Center to an elite group of scientists, scholars, artists, policymakers and thought leaders each year. Fellows work in teams to develop new approaches to critical social and environmental issues through designed to have a direct and beneficial impact on lives and livelihoods worldwide – particularly those of poor and vulnerable populations.

Richardson is the first environmental scientist from Duke to be awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for residency at the Bellagio Center.