Curtis J. Richardson

Curtis J. Richardson

John O. Blackburn Professor

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.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • John O. Blackburn Professor
  • Professor with Tenure
  • Professor

Contact Information

  • Office Phone: (919) 613-8006

Education

  • Ph.D. UniversityTennessee Knoxville*, 1972
  • B.S. State University of New York at Cortland, 1966

Research Interests

Dr. Richardson's research interests are in the area of applied ecology and are centered on wetlands ecology and restoration. 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. His research has focused on long-term ecosystem responses to large-scale perturbations such as nutrient additions, hydrologic alterations and trace metal effects in such areas as the Everglades and the marshes of Iraq. More recently he and his graduate students have focused on the development of indicators of ecological thresholds. His specific area of research is biogeochemistry with a focus interest in phosphorus nutrient dynamics in ecosystems. Major research efforts have focused on wetlands as nutrient sinks and transformers. Currently funded NSF research is testing the concept of differential nutrient limitation (DNL) as a mechanism to overcome N or P limitations across trophic levels in ecosystems. Other funded research activities in his lab include: 1) The effects of climate change on invasive species in wetlands, 2) restoration of wetland plant communities and the effects of diversity on regional water quality and nutrient biogeochemical cycles, 3) development of ecosystem metrics as indices of wetland restoration success, 4) the development of ecological thresholds along environmental gradients, 5) effects and cycling of nanomaterials in wetland ecosystems, and 6) the development of an outdoor wetland research and teaching laboratory on Duke Campus.

Specialties

wetland ecology
biogeochemistry
coastal zone management
ecology
environmental chemistry
soil science
water quality

Courses Taught

  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 809: Wetland Restoration Ecology
  • ENVIRON 812: Wetlands Ecology and Management
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Deonarine, A; Hsu-Kim, H; Zhang, T; Cai, Y; Richardson, CJ, Legacy source of mercury in an urban stream-wetland ecosystem in central North Carolina, USA., Chemosphere, vol 138 (2015), pp. 960-965 [abs].
  • Winton, RS; Richardson, CJ, The Effects of Organic Matter Amendments on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Mitigation Wetland in Virginia’s Coastal Plain, Wetlands, vol 35 no. 5 (2015), pp. 969-979 [10.1007/s13157-015-0674-y] [abs].
  • Winton, RS; Richardson, CJ, Erratum to: The Effects of Organic Matter Amendments on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Mitigation Wetland in Virginia’s Coastal Plain [Wetlands, DOI 10.1007/s13157-015-0674-y], Wetlands, vol 35 no. 5 (2015) [10.1007/s13157-015-0689-4] [abs].
  • Wang, H; Richardson, CJ; Ho, M, Dual controls on carbon loss during drought in peatlands, Nature Climate Change, vol 5 no. 6 (2015), pp. 584-587 [10.1038/nclimate2643] [abs].
  • Flanagan, NE; Richardson, CJ; Ho, M, Connecting differential responses of native and invasive riparian plants to climate change and environmental alteration., Ecological Applications, vol 25 no. 3 (2015), pp. 753-767 [abs].

Additional Information