Curtis J. Richardson

Curtis J. Richardson

Professor of Resource Ecology

Acting Chair WRM Program

Curtis J. Richardson is Professor of Resource Ecology and founding Director of the Duke University Wetland Center in the Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Richardson earned his degrees from the State University of New York and the University of Tennessee.

His research interests in applied ecology focus on long-term ecosystem response to large-scale perturbations such as climate change, toxic materials, trace metals, flooding, or nutrient additions. He has specific interests in phosphorus nutrient dynamics in wetlands and the effects of environmental stress on plant communities and ecosystem functions and services. The objectives of his research are to utilize ecological principles to develop new approaches to environmental problem solving. The goal of his research is to provide predictive models and approaches to aid in the management of ecosystems.

Recent research activities: 1) wetland restoration of plant communities and its effects on regional water quality and nutrient biogeochemical cycles, 2) the development of ecosystem metrics as indices of wetland restoration success, 3) the effects of nanomaterial on wetland and stream ecosystem processes, 4) the development of ecological thresholds along environmental gradients, 5) wetland development trends and restoration in coastal southeastern United States, 6) the development of an outdoor wetland and stream research and teaching laboratory on Duke Forest, 7) differential nutrient limitation (DNL) as a mechanism to overcome N or P limitations across trophic levels in wetland ecosystems, and 8) carbon sequestration in coastal North Carolina pocosins.

Richardson oversees the main analytical lab in NSOE, which is open to students and faculty. Dr. Richardson has been listed in Who's Who in Science™ annually since 1989 and was elected President of the Society of Wetland Scientists in 1987-88. He has served on many editorial review committees for peer-reviewed scientific journals, and he is a past Chair of the Nicholas School Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy. Dr. Richardson is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Wetland Scientists, and the Soil Science Society of America.

In The News


Winton, RS, and Richardson, CJ. "Top-down control of methane emission and nitrogen cycling by waterfowl." Ecology 98, no. 1 (January 2017): 265-277.
Winton, RS, Moorman, M, and Richardson, CJ. "Waterfowl Impoundments as Sources of Nitrogen Pollution." Water, Air, & Soil Pollution 227, no. 10 (October 2016).
Winton, RS, and Richardson, CJ. "A cost-effective method for reducing soil disturbance-induced errors in static chamber measurement of wetland methane emissions." Wetlands Ecology and Management 24, no. 4 (August 2016): 419-425.
Deonarine, A, Hsu-Kim, H, Zhang, T, Cai, Y, and Richardson, CJ. "Legacy source of mercury in an urban stream-wetland ecosystem in central North Carolina, USA." Chemosphere 138 (November 2015): 960-965.


ENVIRON 790: Special Topics (ENVIRON 790: Special Topics)
ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects (ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects)
ENVIRON 809: Wetland Restoration Ecology (ENVIRON 809: Wetland Restoration Ecology)
ENVIRON 899: Master's Project (ENVIRON 899: Master's Project)
ENVIRON 999: Duke Environmental Leadership: Master's Project (ENVIRON 999: Duke Environmental Leadership: Master's Project)

Contact Information

A219A Lev Sci Res Ctr
Durham, NC 27708
Box 90333
Durham, NC 27708-0333


Ph.D., University of Tennessee at Knoxville (1972)
B.S., State University of New York at Cortland (1966)