DURHAM, N.C. – Six Nicholas School of the Environment faculty have been named to the 2020 list of the world’s Most Highly Cited Researchers.

Emily Bernhardt, Ram Oren, Stuart Pimm, Drew Shindell, Avner Vengosh and Mark Wiesner were named to the list based on the number of highly cited papers they produced over an 11-year period from January 2009 to December 2019.

Citation rate, as tracked by Clarivate’s Web of Science, is a measure of a study’s importance and, by extension, a researcher’s eminence in their field.

Being included in the Most Highly Cited list signifies that a researcher has published multiple papers that rank in top 1% of all papers in their field by citation rate.

“Having six faculty on the list underscores the Nicholas School’s reputation as a global leader in environmental research,” said Toddi Steelman, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School. “Being cited for work in six different disciplines – climate science, water geochemistry, ecology, conservation science, earth systems science and environmental engineering—speaks to the breadth of our expertise.”

Bernhardt is James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Biogeochemistry. Her research explores how rivers and other aquatic ecosystems are being altered by land-use change (urbanization, agriculture, mountaintop mining), global change (rising sea levels and rising carbon dioxide) and chemical pollution.

Oren is Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Earth System Science and co-chair of the Master of Forestry program. He studies water and carbon cycles in forest ecosystems and how forest ecosystems from the equator to the Arctic Circle respond to environmental and management changes.  

Pimm is Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology. He studies species extinctions and what can be done to prevent them. His research has shed light on global patterns of habitat loss, why species become extinct, and policy and management measures that may help reverse the losses.

Shindell is Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Earth Science. A co-lead author of the 2018 IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, his research focuses on the social costs of climate change and the health and economic benefits of cutting fossil fuel emissions to a point that Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t warm more than 2°C.

Vengosh is professor of water quality and geochemistry. His work has led to the development of forensic tracers that can identify the isotopic “fingerprint” of a contaminant and trace it to its natural or human source. Much of his work focuses on the water-quality and human health impacts associated with fracking wastewater and coal ash.   

Wiesner is James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He studies the environmental impacts of nanomaterials; membrane science; water treatment and desalination; and particle transport and surface chemistry in natural and engineered environments.

Adjunct professor Robert B. Jackson was also named to the 2020 Most Highly Cited list. Jackson was formerly a faculty member at the Nicholas School. He is now the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Provostial Professor and Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy.