Ph.D. 1962, Duke University.  The research of Dr. Patten and his students and colleagues is centered on the dynamics of plant communities and ecosystems.  Systems that are being studied range from the desert to subalpine spruce-fir communities including riparian ecosystems that link the altitudinal zones together.  Much of the research is oriented toward assessing the effects of human activities in these systems.  Because ecosystems vary in their resistance and resiliency to disturbance, resource management decisions should be based on information about the response of the systems to types of perturbation.  Types of perturbation studied by Duncan's group include recreation, fire, stream diversion, groundwater withdrawal, and potential facilities construction.