James S. Clark

Professor of Biology

A221 LSRC, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
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.


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

Schick, Robert S., Scott D. Kraus, Rosalind M. Rolland, Amy R. Knowlton, Philip K. Hamilton, Heather M. Pettis, Len Thomas, John Harwood, and James S. Clark. “Effects of Model Formulation on Estimates of Health in Individual Right Whales (Eubalaena glacialis).,” 875:977–85, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2981-8_121. Full Text

Clark, James S., C Lane Scher, and Margaret Swift. “The emergent interactions that govern biodiversity change.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117, no. 29 (July 6, 2020): 17074–83. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2003852117. Full Text

Seyednasrollah, B., and J. S. Clark. “Where Resource-Acquisitive Species Are Located: The Role of Habitat Heterogeneity.” Geophysical Research Letters 47, no. 8 (April 28, 2020). https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087626. Full Text

Clark, J. S., C. L. Nuñez, and B. Tomasek. “Foodwebs based on unreliable foundations: spatiotemporal masting merged with consumer movement, storage, and diet.” Ecological Monographs 89, no. 4 (November 1, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1002/ecm.1381. Full Text

Wang, Zhao, Doris L. Juarez, Jin-Fen Pan, Sara K. Blinebry, Jessica Gronniger, James S. Clark, Zackary I. Johnson, and Dana E. Hunt. “Microbial communities across nearshore to offshore coastal transects are primarily shaped by distance and temperature.Environmental Microbiology 21, no. 10 (October 2019): 3862–72. https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.14734. Full Text

Seyednasrollah, B., J. C. Domec, and J. S. Clark. “Spatiotemporal sensitivity of thermal stress for monitoring canopy hydrological stress in near real-time.” Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 269–270 (May 15, 2019): 220–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2019.02.016. Full Text

Nuñez, Chase L., James S. Clark, Connie J. Clark, and John R. Poulsen. “Low-intensity logging and hunting have long-term effects on seed dispersal but not fecundity in Afrotropical forests.Aob Plants 11, no. 1 (February 2019): ply074. https://doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/ply074. Full Text Open Access Copy

Berdanier, A. B., and J. S. Clark. “Tree water balance drives temperate forest responses to drought.Ecology 99, no. 11 (November 2018): 2506–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2499. Full Text

Schliep, E. M., A. E. Gelfand, J. S. Clark, and R. Kays. “Joint Temporal Point Pattern Models for Proximate Species Occurrence in a Fixed Area Using Camera Trap Data.” Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics 23, no. 3 (September 1, 2018): 334–57. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13253-018-0327-8. Full Text


Flikkema, P. G., P. K. Agarwal, J. S. Clark, C. Ellis, A. Gelfand, K. Munagala, and J. Yang. “From data reverence to data relevance: Model-mediated wireless sensing of the physical environment.” In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Including Subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), 4487 LNCS:988–94, 2007. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-72584-8_130. Full Text

Selected Grants

NSF2026: EAGER Identifying microbes' population-level environmental responses using Bayesian modeling awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2022

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

Generative models to forecast community reorganization with climate change awarded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Co Investigator). 2017 to 2019

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 Forest Service (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2014