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

Schlesinger, WH, and Bernhardt, ES. Biogeochemistry: an Analysis of Global Change. Academic Press, 2013.

Appling, AP, Read, JS, Winslow, LA, Arroita, M, Bernhardt, ES, Griffiths, NA, Hall, RO, Harvey, JW, Heffernan, JB, Stanley, EH, Stets, EG, and Yackulic, CB. "The metabolic regimes of 356 rivers in the United States." Scientific Data 5 (December 11, 2018): 180292-null. Full Text

Brandt, JE, Lauer, NE, Vengosh, A, Bernhardt, ES, and Di Giulio, RT. "Strontium Isotope Ratios in Fish Otoliths as Biogenic Tracers of Coal Combustion Residual Inputs to Freshwater Ecosystems." Environmental Science & Technology Letters 5, no. 12 (December 11, 2018): 718-723. Full Text

Marinos, RE, Campbell, JL, Driscoll, CT, Likens, GE, McDowell, WH, Rosi, EJ, Rustad, LE, and Bernhardt, ES. "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): 13155-13165. Full Text

Avellan, A, Simonin, M, McGivney, E, Bossa, N, Spielman-Sun, E, Rocca, JD, Bernhardt, ES, Geitner, NK, Unrine, JM, Wiesner, MR, and Lowry, GV. "Gold nanoparticle biodissolution by a freshwater macrophyte and its associated microbiome." Nature Nanotechnology 13, no. 11 (November 2018): 1072-1077. Full Text

Geitner, NK, Cooper, JL, Avellan, A, Castellon, BT, Perrotta, BG, Bossa, N, Simonin, M, Anderson, SM, Inoue, S, Hochella, MF, Richardson, CJ, Bernhardt, ES, Lowry, GV, Ferguson, PL, Matson, CW, King, RS, Unrine, JM, Wiesner, MR, and Hsu-Kim, H. "Size-Based Differential Transport, Uptake, and Mass Distribution of Ceria (CeO2) Nanoparticles in Wetland Mesocosms." Environmental Science & Technology 52, no. 17 (September 2018): 9768-9776. Full Text

Colman, BP, Baker, LF, King, RS, Matson, CW, Unrine, JM, Marinakos, SM, Gorka, DE, and Bernhardt, ES. "Dosing, Not the Dose: Comparing Chronic and Pulsed Silver Nanoparticle Exposures." Environmental Science & Technology 52, no. 17 (September 2018): 10048-10056. Full Text

Ardón, M, Helton, AM, and Bernhardt, ES. "Salinity effects on greenhouse gas emissions from wetland soils are contingent upon hydrologic setting: a microcosm experiment." Biogeochemistry 140, no. 2 (September 2018): 217-232. Full Text

Baruch, EM, Voss, KA, Blaszczak, JR, Delesantro, J, Urban, DL, and Bernhardt, ES. "Not all pavements lead to streams: variation in impervious surface connectivity affects urban stream ecosystems." Freshwater Science 37, no. 3 (September 2018): 673-684. Full Text

Hassett, BA, Sudduth, EB, Somers, KA, Urban, DL, Violin, CR, Wang, S-Y, Wright, JP, Cory, RM, and Bernhardt, ES. "Pulling apart the urbanization axis: patterns of physiochemical degradation and biological response across stream ecosystems." Freshwater Science 37, no. 3 (September 2018): 653-672. 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.

Phillips, RP, Finzi, A, and Bernhardt, E. "Biogeochemical consequences of changes in root-derived carbon inputs to soil in a forest exposed to CO2 enrichment." Conference on Goldschmidt 2010 - Earth, Energy, and the Environment. Knoxville, TN. June 13, 2010 - June 18, 2010.: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, June 1, 2010.

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." 9th Cary Conference. Inst Ecosyst Studies, Millbrook, NY. May 2001.: PRINCETON UNIV PRESS, January 1, 2003.

Selected Grants

RCN: Smart Civic Engagement in Rapidly Urbanizing Regions awarded by North Carolina State University (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2021

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

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

Girls on Outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science (GALS) awarded by Recreational Equipment, Inc. (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