Do Rivers Have Rhythm? Describing the Energetic Regimes of Flowing Waters

Dr. Emily Bernhardt
20 Sep 2023
6:00 PM
Sun Room, Memorial Union
  • Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
  • Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)

This lecture wa recorded and can be viewed on the Available Recordings page. 

Fobes Ronald Lecture in Environmental Conservation

A decade ago, a group of freshwater scientists asked the deceptively simple question: Are there river biomes? We wanted to understand if there were characteristic rhythms of productivity and respiration in river ecosystems. We wanted to know: What environmental drivers distinguished one river biome from another? Can they be predicted from the terrestrial biome they drain? Do they vary predictably with river size? Are they changing as a result of climate and land use change? This talk will explore the answers we arrived at after taking the "pulse" of hundreds of rivers through the StreamPULSE project.

Emily S. Bernhardt, PhD. is the James B. Duke Professor of Biogeochemistry and current Chair of the Department of Biology at Duke University. First appointed to Duke in 2004, Dr. Bernhardt’s research is motivated by a desire to understand how our use of the land alters energy and nutrient cycling in downstream rivers and wetlands and the extent to which management efforts can reverse, ameliorate, or improve aquatic ecosystem structure and function. Dr. Bernhardt has been recognized for her scholarly productivity and impact with the 2004 H.G. Hynes Award from the Society for Freshwater Science; the 2013 Yentsch-Schindler award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography; the 2015 Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America; and a 2015 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She has been named a Fellow of the Leopold Leadership Program, the Ecological Society of America, the Society for Freshwater Science, and the American Geophysical Union. In 2023 she was elected to the National Academy of Science.