Emily S. Bernhardt, Professor  

Emily S. Bernhardt

I am an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist whose research is principally concerned with tracking the movement of elements through ecological systems. My research program is quite diverse, but each of my funded efforts focuses on how human activity within the landscape is altering the movement of water and the cycling of elements towards and within downstream aquatic ecosystems. My work aims to document the extent to which the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems is being altered by land use change (urbanization, agriculture, mining) and global change (rising CO2, rising sea levels). Ultimately this information is necessary to determine whether and how ecosystem change can be mitigated or prevented through active ecosystem management. 

Ph.D., Cornell University, 2001
B.S. Biology, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 1996
B.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996

Office Location: Ffsc 3313, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 660-7318
Email Address: emily.bernhardt@duke.edu
Web Page: http://www.researcherid.com/rid/D-9940-2011
Additional Web Page: http://www.bernhardtlab.weebly.com

Ecology and Population Biology

Research Categories: ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry

Current projects: 1. Coupled C, N and S cycling in coastal plain wetlands: how will climate change and salt water intrusion alter ecosystem dynamics? NSF Ecosystems 2010-2013, NSF Coastal SEES 2015-2019, 2. Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, Ecological Research Theme Leader, NSF & EPA, 3. Urban watersheds and urban freshwaters: NSF ULTRA, NSF Ecosystems, 4. Environmental impacts of mountain top mining. Foundation for the Carolinas, NSF Hydrology 2014-2017.

Research Description: I am broadly interested in the capacity of ecosystems to retain nutrients and energy, particularly in the face of human accelerated environmental change. My research primarily focuses on how ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycles are altered by climate and land cover change. The majority of my research to date has taken place in aquatic ecosystems, I think about biogeochemistry in a watershed context and am working in upland and floodplain soils as well as stream channels and wetlands in my current research.

Areas of Interest:
Ecosystem Ecology
Stream Ecology
Wetlands Ecology
Urban Ecology
Restoration Ecology

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. KA Voss, RS King and ES Bernhardt, From a line in the sand to a landscape of decisions: a hierarchical diversity decision framework for estimating and communicating biodiversity loss along anthropogenic gradients, edited by T Münkemüller, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 6 no. 7 (July, 2015), pp. 795-805 [doi] .
  2. AM Helton, M Ardón and ES Bernhardt, Thermodynamic constraints on the utility of ecological stoichiometry for explaining global biogeochemical patterns., Ecology letters, vol. 18 no. 10 (October, 2015), pp. 1049-1056 [doi]  [abs].
  3. Yang, Y., B.P. Colman, E.S. Bernhardt and M.F. Hochella, Jr., The Importance of a Nanoscience Approach in the Understanding of Major Aqueous Contamination Scenarios: A Case Study from a Recent Coal Ash Spill, Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 49 (2015), pp. 3375-3382 .
  4. Payn, R., A.M. Helton, G.C. Poole, C. Izurieta, A.J. Burgin and E.S. Bernhardt, A generalized mechanistic model for applying thermodynamic, kinetic, and stoichiometric ecological theory to the biogeochemistry of aquatic microbial ecosystems, Ecological Modeling, vol. 294 (2015), pp. 1-18 .
  5. AP Appling, ES Bernhardt and JA Stanford, Floodplain biogeochemical mosaics: A multidimensional view of alluvial soils, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, vol. 119 no. 8 (August, 2014), pp. 1538-1553 [doi] .
  6. AM Helton, ES Bernhardt and A Fedders, Biogeochemical regime shifts in coastal landscapes: the contrasting effects of saltwater incursion and agricultural pollution on greenhouse gas emissions from a freshwater wetland, Biogeochemistry, vol. 120 no. 1-3 (August, 2014), pp. 133-147 [doi] .
  7. Ardon, M., J.L. Morse, B.P. Colman and E.S. Bernhardt, Drought-induced saltwater intrusion leads to increased wetland nitrogen export, Global Change Biology, vol. 19 (2013), pp. 2976-2985 (**This paper was featured in the Research Highlights section of Nature 498: 274 and was awarded the 2015 George Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America.) .
  8. W.H. Schlesinger and E.S. Bernhardt, Biogeochemistry: an analysis of global change, 3rd edition (2013), pp. 688, Elsevier (Available January 7, 2013.)  [abs].

Curriculum Vitae