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

Schlesinger, W. H., and E. S. Bernhardt. Biogeochemistry: an Analysis of Global Change. Academic Press, 2013.

Blaszczak, J. R., J. M. Delesantro, D. L. Urban, M. W. Doyle, and E. S. Bernhardt. “Scoured or suffocated: Urban stream ecosystems oscillate between hydrologic and dissolved oxygen extremes.” Limnology and Oceanography 64, no. 3 (May 1, 2019): 877–94. https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.11081. Full Text

Ury, Emily A., Steven M. Anderson, Robert K. Peet, Emily S. Bernhardt, and Justin P. Wright. “Succession, regression and loss: does evidence of saltwater exposure explain recent changes in the tree communities of North Carolina's Coastal Plain?.” Annals of Botany, April 6, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcz039. Full Text

Wen, Y., E. S. Bernhardt, W. Deng, W. Liu, J. Yan, E. M. Baruch, and C. M. Bergemann. “Salt effects on carbon mineralization in southeastern coastal wetland soils of the United States.” Geoderma 339 (April 1, 2019): 31–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.12.035. Full Text

Brandt, Jessica E., Marie Simonin, Richard T. Di Giulio, and Emily S. Bernhardt. “Beyond Selenium: Coal Combustion Residuals Lead to Multielement Enrichment in Receiving Lake Food Webs..” Environmental Science & Technology 53, no. 8 (April 2019): 4119–27. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b00324. Full Text

Reinhold, A. M., G. C. Poole, C. Izurieta, A. M. Helton, and E. S. Bernhardt. “Constraint-based simulation of multiple interactive elemental cycles in biogeochemical systems.” Ecological Informatics 50 (March 1, 2019): 102–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoinf.2018.12.008. Full Text

Appling, Alison P., Jordan S. Read, Luke A. Winslow, Maite Arroita, Emily S. Bernhardt, Natalie A. Griffiths, Robert O. Hall, et al. “The metabolic regimes of 356 rivers in the United States..” Scientific Data 5 (December 11, 2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2018.292. Full Text

Brandt, J. E., N. E. Lauer, A. Vengosh, E. S. Bernhardt, and R. T. Di Giulio. “Strontium Isotope Ratios in Fish Otoliths as Biogenic Tracers of Coal Combustion Residual Inputs to Freshwater Ecosystems.” Environmental Science and Technology Letters 5, no. 12 (December 11, 2018): 718–23. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.8b00477. Full Text

Marinos, Richard E., John L. Campbell, Charles T. Driscoll, Gene E. Likens, William H. McDowell, Emma J. Rosi, Lindsey E. Rustad, and Emily S. Bernhardt. “Give and Take: A Watershed Acid Rain Mitigation Experiment Increases Baseflow Nitrogen Retention but Increases Stormflow Nitrogen Export..” Environmental Science & Technology 52, no. 22 (November 8, 2018): 13155–65. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b03553. Full Text

Avellan, Astrid, Marie Simonin, Eric McGivney, Nathan Bossa, Eleanor Spielman-Sun, Jennifer D. Rocca, Emily S. Bernhardt, et al. “Gold nanoparticle biodissolution by a freshwater macrophyte and its associated microbiome..” Nature Nanotechnology 13, no. 11 (November 2018): 1072–77. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-018-0231-y. Full Text


Gorka, Danielle E., Jonathan Litvak Jeger, Hongbo Zhang, Yanwen Ma, Benjamin P. Colman, Emily S. Bernhardt, and Jie Liu. “Phytotoxicity of soluble graphitic nanofibers to model plant species..” In Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 35:2941–47, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.3478. Full Text

Anciaux, Sarah K., Benjamin P. Colman, Emily S. Bernhardt, Justin Wright, and Bonny McGill. “Investigation of the bioaccumulation of silver nanoparticles.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 241. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2011.

Phillips, Richard P., Adrien Finzi, and Emily Bernhardt. “Biogeochemical consequences of changes in root-derived carbon inputs to soil in a forest exposed to CO2 enrichment.” In Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 74:A815–A815. PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2010.

Aber, J. D., E. S. Bernhardt, F. A. Dijkstra, R. H. Gardner, K. H. Macneale, W. J. Parton, S. T. A. Pickett, D. L. Urban, and K. C. Weathers. “Standards of practice for review and publication of models: Summary of discussion.” In Models in Ecosystem Science, edited by C. D. Canham, J. J. Cole, and W. K. Lauenroth, 204–10. PRINCETON UNIV PRESS, 2003.

Selected Grants

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

Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology awarded by National Science Foundation (Investigator). 2008 to 2020

Community Coalescence: Disentangling Assembly Processes using Aquatic Microbial Communities awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2018 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

Mountain top mining effects on watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2019

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Will Ecosystem Recovery From Acid Precipitation Jeopardize Soil Carbon Storage? awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

RCN: Smart Civic Engagement in Rapidly Urbanizing Regions awarded by North Carolina State University (Principal Investigator). 2018

Girls on Outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science (GALS) awarded by (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