James S Clark

James S Clark

Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change

Professor of Statistical Science

 French National Institute Agricultural Research, Grenoble

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Clark’s lab uses using long-term experiments and monitoring studies to understand disturbance and climate controls on ecosystem dynamics.

Clark is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, which also recognized him with the William Skinner Cooper Award, for his research on barrier beach dynamics, and the George Mercer Award, for studies of climate change and fire. He is an ESA Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow. For excellence in teaching and research, he was one of 15 scientists recognized with the National Science Foundation’s five-yr Presidential Faculty Fellow Award.  He is a recipient of the Humboldt Research Prize and a Lauréat of Emmanuel Macron’s Make Our Planet Great Again. Clark is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Clark currently leads the international effort, Masting Inference and Forecasting (MASTIF), to understand the changes in forest recruitment happening now, why they are occurring, and their effects on food webs. Among recent activities he led the National Assessment on Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis, an effort involving 70 academic and government scientists that received the Chief of the Forest Service Science Award for 2016. Clark has authored  more than 200 refereed scientific articles and published four books. Full publication list.

Clark received a BS from the North Carolina State University in Entomology, a MS from the University of Massachusetts in Forestry and Wildlife, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota in Ecology. Between his MS and PhD, he studied 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, Director of Graduate Studies for the University Program in Ecology, Chair of Life Sciences for the Distinguished Professorships Committee. In the Nicholas School of the Environment he has served as chair of Faculty Council and of the Committee on Distinguished Professorships.

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, Annual Reviews of Ecology and Systematics, Global Change Biology, Ecosystems, Elementa, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and the Journal for Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics.  He has served on NSF Advisory panels for Ecology, Earth System History, LTER, Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease, and Ecosystem Science. He chaired ESA’s Mercer Award Committee and was Vice President for Science. He was a founding member of the Science Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.