James S. Clark

James S. Clark

Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science

External address: 
A221 LSRC, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 613-8036


James S. Clark is Nicholas Professor of Environment Science 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.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1988

Selected Grants

Collaborative Research: Combining NEON and remotely sensed habitats to determine climate impacts on community dynamics awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2022

Belmont Forum Collaborative Research: Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2022

Collaborative Research: Climate Change Impacts on Forest Biodiversity: Individual Risk to Subcontinental Impacts awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2017

CDI-Type II: Integrating Algorithmic and Stochastic Modeling Techniques for Environmental Prediction awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2014

Jim Clark IPA awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2014

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Forest climate requirements change through species life history awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2014


Clark, J. S., et al. “Foodwebs based on unreliable foundations: spatiotemporal masting merged with consumer movement, storage, and diet.” Ecological Monographs, vol. 89, no. 4, Nov. 2019. Scopus, doi:10.1002/ecm.1381. Full Text

Wang, Zhao, et al. “Microbial communities across nearshore to offshore coastal transects are primarily shaped by distance and temperature.Environmental Microbiology, vol. 21, no. 10, Oct. 2019, pp. 3862–72. Epmc, doi:10.1111/1462-2920.14734. Full Text

Nuñez, Chase L., et al. “Low-intensity logging and hunting have long-term effects on seed dispersal but not fecundity in Afrotropical forests.Aob Plants, vol. 11, no. 1, Feb. 2019, p. ply074. Epmc, doi:10.1093/aobpla/ply074. Full Text Open Access Copy