Emily S. Bernhardt

Jerry G. and Patricia Crawford Hubbard Professor

Ffsc 3313, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0000
(919) 660-7318
I am an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist whose research is principally concerned with tracking the movement of elements through ecological systems. My research aims to document the extent to which the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems is being altered by land use change (urbanization, agriculture, mining) global change (rising CO2, rising sea levels) and chemical pollution. 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., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1996

Ross, MR, Bernhardt, ES, Doyle, MW, and Heffernan, JB. Designer Ecosystems: Incorporating Design Approaches into Applied Ecology. November 4, 2015. Full Text

Schlesinger, WH, and Bernhardt, ES. Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change, Third Edition. January 14, 2013. Full Text

Eagle, AJ, Olander, LP, Locklier, KL, Heffernan, JB, and Bernhardt, ES. "Fertilizer management and environmental factors drive n2o and no3losses in corn: A meta-analysis." Soil Science Society of America Journal 81, no. 5 (September 1, 2017): 1191-1202. Full Text

Nippgen, F, Ross, MRV, Bernhardt, ES, and McGlynn, BL. "Creating a More Perennial Problem? Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Enhances and Sustains Saline Baseflows of Appalachian Watersheds." Environmental science & technology 51, no. 15 (August 2017): 8324-8334. Full Text

Voss, KA, and Bernhardt, ES. "Effects of mountaintop removal coal mining on the diversity and secondary productivity of Appalachian rivers." Limnology and Oceanography 62, no. 4 (July 2017): 1754-1770. Full Text

Arnold, M, Bier, R, Lindberg, T, Bernhardt, E, and Di Giulio, R. "Biofilm mediated uptake of selenium in streams with mountaintop coal mine drainage." Limnologica - Ecology and Management of Inland Waters 65 (July 2017): 10-13. Full Text

Bernhardt, ES, Blaszczak, JR, Ficken, CD, Fork, ML, Kaiser, KE, and Seybold, EC. "Control Points in Ecosystems: Moving Beyond the Hot Spot Hot Moment Concept." Ecosystems 20, no. 4 (June 2017): 665-682. Full Text

Bernhardt, ES, Rosi, EJ, and Gessner, MO. "Synthetic chemicals as agents of global change." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 15, no. 2 (March 2017): 84-90. Full Text

Brandt, JE, Bernhardt, ES, Dwyer, GS, and Di Giulio, RT. "Selenium Ecotoxicology in Freshwater Lakes Receiving Coal Combustion Residual Effluents: A North Carolina Example." Environmental Science & Technology 51, no. 4 (February 6, 2017): 2418-2426. Full Text

Lee, MR, Bernhardt, ES, van Bodegom, PM, Cornelissen, JHC, Kattge, J, Laughlin, DC, Niinemets, Ü, Peñuelas, J, Reich, PB, Yguel, B, and Wright, JP. "Invasive species' leaf traits and dissimilarity from natives shape their impact on nitrogen cycling: a meta-analysis." The New phytologist 213, no. 1 (January 2017): 128-139. Full Text

Gorka, DE, Jeger, JL, Zhang, H, Ma, Y, Colman, BP, Bernhardt, ES, and Liu, J. "PHYTOTOXICITY OF SOLUBLE GRAPHITIC NANOFIBERS TO MODEL PLANT SPECIES." ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY 35, no. 12 (December 2016): 2941-2947. Full Text

Hiers, JK, Jackson, ST, Hobbs, RJ, Bernhardt, ES, and Valentine, LE. "The Precision Problem in Conservation and Restoration." Trends in ecology & evolution 31, no. 11 (November 2016): 820-830. (Review) Full Text


Gorka, DE, Jeger, JL, Zhang, H, Ma, Y, Colman, BP, Bernhardt, ES, and Liu, J. "Phytotoxicity of soluble graphitic nanofibers to model plant species." December 2016. Full Text

Anciaux, SK, Colman, BP, Bernhardt, ES, Wright, J, and McGill, B. "Investigation of the bioaccumulation of silver nanoparticles." March 27, 2011.

Aber, JD, Bernhardt, ES, Dijkstra, FA, Gardner, RH, Macneale, KH, Parton, WJ, Pickett, STA, Urban, DL, and Weathers, KC. "Standards of practice for review and publication of models: Summary of discussion." 2003.

Selected Grants

Macrosystems, Collaborative Research: Defining Stream Biomes Beyond the Steady State awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2020

Collaborative Research: Salinization of the inland coastal plain through saltwater intrusion: landscapes in transition awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2019

Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology awarded by National Science Foundation (Investigator). 2008 to 2018

Mountain top mining effects on watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

Girls on Outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science (GALS) awarded by Recreational Equipment, Inc. (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2018

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Will Ecosystem Recovery From Acid Precipitation Jeopardize Soil Carbon Storage? awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2018

Streams in urbanizing landscapes: from syndrome diagnosis to watershed prescription awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2018

Legacy impacts of coal combustion residues on freshwater ecosystems in North Carolina awarded by Water Resources Research Institute (Investigator). 2015 to 2016