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2018 - 2019 SPEAKER BIOS

September 12 - 13, 2018

Nalini NadkarniNalini Nadkarni
Professor, University of Utah

Dr. Nadkarni's academic and research interests include: community and ecosystem ecology of tropical and temperate forest canopies; the effects of forest fragmentation on biodiversity and community function; the development of database tools for canopy researchers; dissemination of research results to non-scientific audiences; partnering of scientists and artists to enhance conservation of forests.

October 10 - 11, 2018

Asmeret Berhe
Andrew Jorgenson
Professor & Chair, Boston College

The primary area of Dr. Jorgenson's research is the human dimensions of global environmental change, with a particular focus on the anthropogenic drivers of greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, industrial pollution and land cover change. His secondary area of research focuses on nations’ political-economic and environmental conditions that shape public health disparities, uneven development and income inequality. He has also conducted research on the global dimensions of environmental concern.

November 7 - 8, 2018

Craig AllenCraig Allen
Research Ecologist, USGS Fort Collins Science Center

Dr. Allen conducts research on the ecology and environmental history of Southwestern landscapes, and the responses of Western mountain ecosystems and forests globally to climate change; he also provides technical support in the areas of ecosystem management and restoration to diverse land management agencies in the region. He is a core principal investigator of the USGS Western Mountain Initiative, an integration of research programs that study global change in mountain ecosystems across the western United States (see, with extensive international collaborations. 

December 5 - 6, 2018

Francesca CotrufoFrancesca Cotrufo
Professor & Associate Head, Colorado State University

Dr. Cotrufo is a soil ecologist and biogeochemist, internationally recognized as an authority in the field of litter decomposition and soil organic matter dynamics, and in the use of isotopic methodologies in these studies. Her main research interest is in understanding the mechanisms and drivers of formation and persistence of soil organic matter, and its response to global environmental changes and disturbances. She also pursues applied research to propose soil management practices that increase soil health and mitigate climate change, such as application of biochar in soils. As a scientist fully aware of the current and future challenges expecting humanity, she is interested in promoting K-12 education and outreach activities to advance scientific literacy and societal understanding of current human impacts on the Earth System.

January 16 - 17, 2019

Johanna VarnerJohanna Varner
Assistant Professor, Colorado Mesa University

Dr. Varner teaches mammalogy, general human biology and senior thesis. Her research interests include responses of alpine mammals to climate change and disturbance, with a focus on pikas — small mammals related to rabbits. Because of their sensitivity to heat stress and limited dispersal abilities, pikas may be excellent indicators of alpine ecosystem health in response to climate change.

February 20 - 21, 2019

Elizabeth BorerElizabeth Borer
Professor, University of Minnesota

Dr. Borer's research broadly addresses the question: How do global changes, including atmospheric pollution and species invasions and extinctions, change the composition and function of ecological communities? Her interests range from transcontinental species invasions to interactions among microbes sharing a host. Her current work focuses on how environmental changes (1) control grassland biodiversity, species interactions, and ecosystem function and (2) affect microbial communities within hosts, including (3) disease transmission and risk.  

March 27 - 28, 2019

Tim EssingtonTim Essington
Professor & Associate Director, University of Washington/SAFS

Dr. Essington's research focuses on food web interactions involving fish in marine, estuarine and freshwater habitats. His recent research looks at fisheries policy tools and the conservation benefits they may provide. Of particular interest is the application of ecosystem approaches to fisheries management, as applied to fisheries targeting small forage fish, a species that play important roles in food webs.

April 17 - 18, 2019 (*note date change)

Jesse MorrisJesse Morris
Research Assistant Professor, University of Utah

Dr. Morris’ research investigates the linkages among disturbance regimes, biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem structure. Specifically, he uses fire history, vegetation, and biogeochemistry to reconstruct paleoecological conditions. He focuses on integration of paleoclimate records and paleoecologic reconstructions (extending into the past by century to millennial time scales) with modern ecologic datasets to understand earth system responses such as the carbon, nitrogen and hydrologic cycles. Recent research interests include bark beetle impacts on ecosystems and use of pollen to resolve fire-caused vegetation patterns in Tasmania, Australia.