Robert B. Jackson

Robert B. Jackson

Adjunct Professor of Earth & Ocean Sciences

Primary Appointment

Earth & Ocean Sciences Division

Robert B. Jackson is the Nicholas Chair of Global Environmental Change in the Earth and Ocean Sciences Division of the Nicholas School of the Environment and a professor in the Biology Department. His research examines how people affect the earth, including studies of the global carbon and water cycles, biosphere/atmosphere interactions, energy use, and global change.

Rob Jackson received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Rice University (1983). He worked four years for the Dow Chemical Company before obtaining M.S. degrees in Ecology (1990) and Statistics (1992) and a Ph.D. in Ecology (1992) at Utah State University. He was a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow for Global Change at Stanford University and an assistant professor at the University of Texas before joining the Duke faculty in 1999. He is currently Director of Duke's Center on Global Change and Duke's Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. In his quest for solutions to global warming, he also directs the Department of Energy-funded National Institute for Climate Change Research for the southeastern U.S. and co-directed the Climate Change Policy Partnership, working with energy and utility corporations to find practical strategies to combat climate change.

Jackson has received numerous awards, including the Murray F. Buell Award from the Ecological Society of America, a 1999 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering from the National Science Foundation (one of 19 scientists honored at the White House by President Clinton), a Fellow in the American Geophysical Union, and inclusion in the top 0.5% of most cited scientific researchers ( His 150+ peer-reviewed scientific publications have been cited more than 15,000 and 25,000 times in Web of Science and Google Scholar, respectively. His trade book on global change, The Earth Remains Forever, was published in October of 2002. His first children's book, "Animal Mischief", was published in March of 2006 by Boyds Mills Press, the trade arm of Highlights Magazine for children. Its sequel, "Weekend Mischief", appeared in 2010.

Jackson's research has been covered in various newspapers and magazines, such as the Boston Globe, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Scientific American, and BusinessWeek, and on national public radio, including the syndicated programs "Morning Edition", "All Things Considered", "Marketplace", "The Tavis Smiley Show", "The Next 200 Years", and "Earth and Sky" (for which he was a science advisor and scriptwriter). He conceived and organized the Janus Fellowship, an annual undergraduate award to encourage the study of an environmental problem from diverse perspectives; 1999's first recipient traveled down the Nile River to examine water use and water policy in Egypt.

In The News


Bright, RM, Zhao, K, Jackson, RB, and Cherubini, F. "Quantifying surface albedo and other direct biogeophysical climate forcings of forestry activities." Global Change Biology 21, no. 9 (September 2015): 3246-3266.
Down, A, Schreglmann, K, Plata, DL, Elsner, M, Warner, NR, Vengosh, A, Moore, K, Coleman, D, and Jackson, RB. "Pre-drilling background groundwater quality in the Deep River Triassic Basin of central North Carolina, USA." Applied Geochemistry 60 (September 2015): 3-13.
Jackson, RB, Lowry, ER, Pickle, A, Kang, M, DiGiulio, D, and Zhao, K. "The Depths of Hydraulic Fracturing and Accompanying Water Use Across the United States." Environmental science & technology 49, no. 15 (August 2015): 8969-8976.
McCormack, ML, Dickie, IA, Eissenstat, DM, Fahey, TJ, Fernandez, CW, Guo, D, Helmisaari, HS, Hobbie, EA, Iversen, CM, Jackson, RB, LeppƤlammi-Kujansuu, J, Norby, RJ, Phillips, RP, Pregitzer, KS, Pritchard, SG, Rewald, B, and Zadworny, M. "Redefining fine roots improves understanding of below-ground contributions to terrestrial biosphere processes." The New phytologist 207, no. 3 (August 2015): 505-518. (Review)
Mazzilli, SR, Kemanian, AR, Ernst, OR, Jackson, RB, and PiƱeiro, G. "Greater humification of belowground than aboveground biomass carbon into particulate soil organic matter in no-till corn and soybean crops." Soil Biology and Biochemistry 85 (June 2015): 22-30.


ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects (ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects)
BIOLOGY 792: Research (BIOLOGY 792: Research)
ENVIRON 899: Master's Project (ENVIRON 899: Master's Project)
EOS 791: Independent Study (EOS 791: Independent Study)
BIOLOGY 791T: Tutorial (BIOLOGY 791T: Tutorial)

Contact Information

Box 90338
Durham, NC 27708-0338
French Sciences 3311
Durham, NC 27708-0338


M.S., Utah State University (1992)
Ph.D., Utah State University (1992)
M.S., Utah State University (1989)
B.S., Rice University (1983)