James Brendan Heffernan

James Brendan Heffernan

Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Ecology and Ecohydrology

I am interested in major changes in ecosystem structure, particularly in streams, rivers and wetlands. My work focuses on feedbacks among ecological, physical, and biogeochemical processes, and uses a wide range of tools and approaches. I am particularly interested in projects that address both basic ecological theory and pressing environmental problems. Increasingly, we are applying tools and theories developed for local ecosystems to better understand ecological patterns and mechanisms at regional and continental scales.

In The News


Locke, DH, Avolio, M, Trammel, T, Roy Chowdhury, R, Morgan Grove, J, Rogan, J, Martin, DG, Bettez, N, Cavender-Bares, J, Groffman, PM, Hall, SJ, Heffernan, JB, Hobbie, SE, Larson, KL, Morse, JL, Neill, C, Ogden, LA, O'Neil-Dunne, JPM, Pataki, D, Pearse, WD, Polsky, C, and Wheeler, MM. "A multi-city comparison of front and backyard differences in plant species diversity and nitrogen cycling in residential landscapes." Landscape and Urban Planning 178 (October 2018): 102-111.
Clifford, CC, and Heffernan, JB. "Artificial aquatic ecosystems." Water (Switzerland) 10, no. 8 (August 17, 2018). (Review)
Covino, TP, Bernhardt, ES, and Heffernan, JB. "Measuring and interpreting relationships between nutrient supply, demand, and limitation." Freshwater Science (July 17, 2018): 000-000.
Blaszczak, JR, Steele, MK, Badgley, BD, Heffernan, JB, Hobbie, SE, Morse, JL, Rivers, EN, Hall, SJ, Neill, C, Pataki, DE, Groffman, PM, and Bernhardt, ES. "Sediment chemistry of urban stormwater ponds and controls on denitrification." Ecosphere 9, no. 6 (June 2018): e02318-e02318.
Heffernan, JB. "Stream metabolism heats up." Nature Geoscience 11, no. 6 (June 2018): 384-385.

Recent Grants


ENVIRON 790: Special Topics (ENVIRON 790: Special Topics)
ENVIRON 823: Ecological Resilience and Ecosystem Management (ENVIRON 823: Ecological Resilience and Ecosystem Management)
ENVIRON 744: Ecology and Conservation of Streams and Rivers (ENVIRON 744: Ecology and Conservation of Streams and Rivers)
ENVIRON 391: Independent Study (ENVIRON 391: Independent Study)
ENVIRON 646: Urban Ecology (ENVIRON 646: Urban Ecology)

Contact Information

Durham, NC 27708
9 Circuit Drive, Box 90328
Durham, NC 27708


Ph.D., Arizona State University (2007)