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Ryan Emanuel is an associate professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. He leads the ecohydrology and watershed science research group, which focuses on environmental processes in natural and human-altered ecosystems. Emanuel’s group studies impacts of land-use and climate change on streamflow, evaporation, photosynthesis, and other environmental processes. They examine systems ranging from plant stomata, the microscopic pores on leaves, to inter-basin water transfers throughout the entire United States, and many scales in between.
Emanuel has been involved in water resources research for nearly 25 years.
Today, his research group has active field studies in various parts of North Carolina. They study how rainfall sustains forests and maintains streamflow in the southern Appalachians, how hurricanes affect water quality along the Lumbee River in the southeastern Coastal Plain, and how rising seas threaten freshwater-dependent landscapes on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula, just inland from the Outer Banks. Emanuel spent nearly a decade studying water and carbon cycling in northern Rocky Mountain forests, and he partners with researchers in Honduras to study impacts of climate change on agriculture and water supplies in rural communities. Emanuel and his group publish in a broad range of scholarly journals focusing on hydrology, ecology, geoscience, atmospheric science, environmental history, and interdisciplinary topics.
Emanuel is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the largest American Indian tribe in the eastern United States. He studies policy issues surrounding environmental justice and indigenous rights, working alongside tribal governments and American Indian organizations to provide information and analysis related to environmental and cultural issues. Emanuel’s research on environmental justice and indigenous rights surrounding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has received national attention, and NC State recognized this work by awarding him the university’s sustainability award. Emanuel is actively involved in American Indian education initiatives in North Carolina and nationally, receiving a national award from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society for his education and outreach work. Emanuel holds a B.S. in Geology (1999) from the Nicholas School's Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences. He has an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia.
Follow Emanuel on Twitter @WaterPotential.