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James S. Clark, Nicholas Professor of Environmental Science and Professor of Biology and Statistical Science


James S. Clark

James S. Clark is Nicholas Professor of the Nicholas School of the Environment  and Professor of Statistical Science.

Clark’s research focuses on how global change affects populations, communities, and ecosystems. Current projects explore consequences of climate, CO2, and disturbance on dynamics of forests. His lab is using long-term experiments and monitoring studies to determine disturbance and climate controls on the dynamics of 20th century forests in combination with extensive modeling to forecast ecosystem change. Clark has authored over 150 refereed scientific articles and published four books, including Models for Ecological Data (Princeton, 2007), Models for Ecological Data in R (Princeton, 2007), Hierarchical Models of the Environment (Oxford, 2006), and Sediment Records of Biomass Burning and Global Change (Springer, 1997). Full publication list. Clark received a BS from the North Carolina State University in Entomology (1979), a MS from the University of Massachusetts in Forestry and Wildlife (1984), and a PhD from the University of Minnesota in Ecology (1988). Between his MS and PhD, he studied one year at the University of Göttingen under a Fulbright-DAAD fellowship. At Duke University, Clark teaches Biodiversity Science and Applications and Ecological Models & Data. He has served as Director for the Center on Global Change, and Director of Graduate Studies for the University Program in Ecology. He currently serves on the University Program of Ecology Executive Committee and chairs the Nicholas School of the Environment committees on Life Sciences and Distinguished Professorships. Clark is recipient of ESA’s William Skinner Cooper Award, for his research on barrier beach dynamics, and George Mercer Award, for studies of climate change and fire. For excellence in teaching and research, he was one of 15 scientists recognized by President Clinton with the National Science Foundation s five-yr Presidential Faculty Fellow Award. He was named an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, on behalf of the Ecological Society of America. He is a Distinguished Alumnus from Natural Resources Conservation, University of Massachusetts. In 2005, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Clark has testified before congress on behalf of the Ecological Society of America and the NSF budget. He served on editorial boards for Ecology and Ecological Monographs (1996 -1999), Annual Reviews of Ecology and Systematics (1998 – 2003), Global Change Biology (1994 – 2002), Ecosystems (2003 – 2007), Trends in Ecology and Evolution (2006-), and the Journal for Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics (2010 – ) and on NSF Advisory panels for Ecology (1992 – 1997), Earth System History (1994), LTER (2000), and Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (2009). He chaired ESA’s Mercer Award Committee and was Vice President for Science (1999 – 2004). He was a founding member of the Science Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  A221 LSRC, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 613-8036
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2017):

    Env Hall 2102, MW 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
    Env Hall 1104, W 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
  • UPE 702.02, ECOPHYS TO ECOSYSTEMS Synopsis
    Env Hall 1100, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
    Env Hall 1112, Tu 03:20 PM-04:30 PM
Teaching (Spring 2018):
    LSRC A155, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
    Env Hall 1112, Tu 03:20 PM-04:30 PM


Ph.D.University of Minnesota, Twin Cities1988
PhDUniversity of Minnesota
MSUniversity of Massachusetts
BSNorth Carolina State University


Ecology and Population Biology
population growth
global change ecology

Research Interests: Ecology of forests and grasslands. Statistics and population dynamics.


Acer • Adaptation, Biological • Agriculture • Angiosperms • Animal Migration • Animals • Antarctic Regions • Aquatic Organisms • Atlantic Ocean • Bayes Theorem • Biodiversity • Biogeography • Biological Evolution • Biomass • Body Composition • Brazil • Calibration • Carbon Dioxide • Carbon Isotopes • Carbonates • Catechols • Climate • Climate Change • Cohort Studies • Communicable Diseases • Competitive Behavior • Computational Biology • Computer Simulation • Conservation of Natural Resources • Crustacea • Data Collection • Data Interpretation, Statistical • Databases, Factual • Decision Making • Demography • Dermatitis, Toxicodendron • Disasters • Disease Outbreaks • Ecology • Ecosystem • Ectoparasitic Infestations • Elephant seals • Endangered Species • Environment • Epidemiology • Extinction, Biological • Female • Fertilizers • Fire • Fires • Forecasting • Forestry • Fossils • Fresh Water • Fungi • Genotype • Geography • Germination • Greenhouse Effect • Health Surveys • Host-Pathogen Interactions • Humans • Lipid Metabolism • Liquidambar • Longevity • Malaria • Male • Microscopy • Models, Biological • Models, Statistical • Models, Theoretical • Movement • Nitrogen • North America • North Carolina • Nyssa • Oscillometry • Periodicity • Phenology • Photosynthesis • Pinus taeda • Plant Development • Plant Diseases • Plant Leaves • Plant Physiological Phenomena • Plant Stems • Plant Stomata • Plant Transpiration • Plants • Poisson Distribution • Policy Making • Pollen • Population • Population Density • Population Dynamics • Population Growth • Probability • Public Health • Quercus • Reproduction • Risk Factors • Seedling • Seeds • Soil • Soil moisture • Southeastern United States • Species Specificity • Stochastic Processes • Streamflow • Survival Rate • Tasmania • Temperature • Time • Time Factors • Toxicodendron • Trees • Tropical Climate • United States • Vapor Pressure • Water • Whales • Wood

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)
  • Berdanier, Kwit, Valle, Stine, Zhu  
  • Emily V. Moran  
  • Michelle H Hersh  
  • Carl F. Salk  
  • My current advisees  
  • past advisees  
  • current PhD committees  
  • Monique Rocca  
  • Matt Wallenstein  

Postdocs Mentored
  • Soledad Ponce (2010 - present)  
  • Rob Schick (2010 - 2012)  
  • Jessica Metcalf (07-08)  
  • Wei Wu (07-08)  
  • Sean McMahon (2007 - present)  
  • Kendrick Brown (2002/12-present)  
  • Eric Macklin (1997)  
  • John Lichter (1999)  

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Kim, D; Oren, R; Clark, JS; Palmroth, S; Oishi, AC; McCarthy, HR; Maier, CA; Johnsen, K, Dynamics of soil CO2 efflux under varying atmospheric CO2 concentrations reveal dominance of slow processes., Global Change Biology, vol. 23 no. 9 (September, 2017), pp. 3501-3512 [doi]  [abs]
  2. Schliep, EM; Gelfand, AE; Clark, JS; Tomasek, BJ, Biomass prediction using a density-dependent diameter distribution model, The annals of applied statistics, vol. 11 no. 1 (March, 2017), pp. 340-361 [doi]
  3. Clark, JS; Nemergut, D; Seyednasrollah, B; Turner, PJ; Zhang, S, Generalized joint attribute modeling for biodiversity analysis: median-zero, multivariate, multifarious data, Ecological Monographs, vol. 87 no. 1 (February, 2017), pp. 34-56 [doi]
  4. Sánchez Goñi, MF; Desprat, S; Daniau, A-L; Bassinot, FC; Polanco-Martínez, JM; Harrison, SP; Allen, JRM; Anderson, RS; Behling, H; Bonnefille, R; Burjachs, F; Carrión, JS; Cheddadi, R; Clark, JS; Combourieu-Nebout, N; Mustaphi, CJC; Debusk, GH; Dupont, LM; Finch, JM; Fletcher, WJ; Giardini, M; González, C; Gosling, WD; Grigg, LD; Grimm, EC; Hayashi, R; Helmens, K; Heusser, LE; Hill, T; Hope, G; Huntley, B; Igarashi, Y; Irino, T; Jacobs, B; Jiménez-Moreno, G; Kawai, S; Kershaw, AP; Kumon, F et al., The ACER pollen and charcoal database: a global resource to document vegetation and fire response to abrupt climate changes during the last glacial period, Earth System Science Data, vol. 9 no. 2 (2017), pp. 679-695 [doi]
  5. Vose, JM; Clark, JS; Luce, CH, Introduction to drought and US forests: Impacts and potential management responses, Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 380 (November, 2016), pp. 296-298 [doi]