Curtis J. Richardson

Curtis J. Richardson

John O. Blackburn Distinguished 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


Fargione, JE, Bassett, S, Boucher, T, Bridgham, SD, Conant, RT, Cook-Patton, SC, Ellis, PW, Falcucci, A, Fourqurean, JW, Gopalakrishna, T, Gu, H, Henderson, B, Hurteau, MD, Kroeger, KD, Kroeger, T, Lark, TJ, Leavitt, SM, Lomax, G, McDonald, RI, Megonigal, JP, Miteva, DA, Richardson, CJ, Sanderman, J, Shoch, D, Spawn, SA, Veldman, JW, Williams, CA, Woodbury, PB, Zganjar, C, Baranski, M, Elias, P, Houghton, RA, Landis, E, McGlynn, E, Schlesinger, WH, Siikamaki, JV, Sutton-Grier, AE, and Griscom, BW. "Natural climate solutions for the United States." Science Advances 4, no. 11 (November 14, 2018): eaat1869-null.
Hodgkins, SB, Richardson, CJ, Dommain, R, Wang, H, Glaser, PH, Verbeke, B, Winkler, BR, Cobb, AR, Rich, VI, Missilmani, M, Flanagan, N, Ho, M, Hoyt, AM, Harvey, CF, Vining, SR, Hough, MA, Moore, TR, Richard, PJH, De La Cruz, FB, Toufaily, J, Hamdan, R, Cooper, WT, and Chanton, JP. "Tropical peatland carbon storage linked to global latitudinal trends in peat recalcitrance." Nature Communications 9, no. 1 (September 7, 2018): 3640-null.
Simonin, M, Colman, BP, Anderson, SM, King, RS, Ruis, MT, Avellan, A, Bergemann, CM, Perrotta, BG, Geitner, NK, Ho, M, de la Barrera, B, Unrine, JM, Lowry, GV, Richardson, CJ, Wiesner, MR, and Bernhardt, ES. "Engineered nanoparticles interact with nutrients to intensify eutrophication in a wetland ecosystem experiment." Ecological Applications : a Publication of the Ecological Society of America 28, no. 6 (September 2018): 1435-1449.
Geitner, NK, Cooper, JL, Avellan, A, Castellon, BT, Perrotta, BG, Bossa, N, Simonin, M, Anderson, SM, Inoue, S, Hochella, MF, Richardson, CJ, Bernhardt, ES, Lowry, GV, Ferguson, PL, Matson, CW, King, RS, Unrine, JM, Wiesner, MR, and Hsu-Kim, H. "Size-Based Differential Transport, Uptake, and Mass Distribution of Ceria (CeO2) Nanoparticles in Wetland Mesocosms." Environmental Science & Technology 52, no. 17 (September 2018): 9768-9776.
Espinasse, BP, Geitner, NK, Schierz, A, Therezien, M, Richardson, CJ, Lowry, GV, Ferguson, L, and Wiesner, MR. "Comparative Persistence of Engineered Nanoparticles in a Complex Aquatic Ecosystem." Environmental Science & Technology 52, no. 7 (April 2018): 4072-4078.

Recent Grants


ENVIRON 792: Wetlands of Coastal North Carolina (ENVIRON 792: Wetlands of Coastal North Carolina)
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)