The Natural Capital Project is led by an interdisciplinary team of core scientists and project leaders from Stanford, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and the University of Minnesota. Strategic advisors and collaborators come from these four partner organizations as well as other institutions.
Gretchen Daily, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University
Gretchen Daily, an ecologist whose work ranges from conservation science to environmental policy analysis to public outreach, is one of the founders of the Natural Capital Project and serves as its chief emissary to financial and government leaders. She is working to develop a scientific basis - and political and institutional support - for managing Earth's life-support systems. She has published ~200 scientific and popular articles and her most recent books are The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, with journalist Katherine Ellison, and Natural Capital: Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services, co-edited with several colleagues. She serves on the boards of The Nature Conservancy (and its Science Council) and the Beijer International Institute for Ecological Economics, and at Stanford she is Director of the Center for Conservation Biology.
Jonathan Foley, Ph.D.
Director of the Institute on the Environment (IonE)
Jonathan Foley is the director of the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of the Minnesota, where he is a professor and McKnight Presidential Chair in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. He also leads the IonE's Global Landscapes Initiative. Foley's work focuses on the sustainability of our civilization and the global environment. He and his students have contributed to our understanding of global food security, global patterns of land use, the behavior of the planet's climate, ecosystems and water cycle, and the sustainability of the biosphere. This work has led him to be a regular advisor to large corporations, NGOs and governments around the world.
Jon Hoekstra, Ph.D.
Vice President & Chief Scientist, World Wildlife Fund
Jon Hoekstra leads WWF's Conservation Science Program, a team of 30 scientists and professionals that work with the more than 400 scientists across the WWF Network to provide cutting-edge research and technical assistance to WWF's global conservation programs. Jon brings a unique perspective to WWF's science program from his career experience with NGOs, government agencies and higher education. He served as Senior Scientist at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Science Director for TNC's Washington State Chapter, and has worked with the federal government at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. Jon holds a B.S. and M.S. in biological sciences from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington where he now maintains a faculty appointment.
Peter Kareiva, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
Natural Capital Project co-founder Peter Kareiva is the project’s liaison with The Nature Conservancy, while also offering strategic vision and leadership. Peter Kareiva’s interests encompass agriculture, conservation, ecology, and the interface of science and policy. In addition to a long academic career, including faculty positions at Brown University, the University of California at Santa Barbara and elsewhere, he worked for NOAA Fisheries for three years, and was Director of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center Conservation Biology Division. Academically, Peter Kareiva is best known for contributions to insect ecology, landscape ecology, risk analysis, mathematical biology, and conservation. His current projects emphasize the interplay of human land-use and biodiversity, resilience in the face of global change, and evidence-based conservation.
Steve Polasky, Ph.D.
Professor of Ecological/Environmental Economics, University of Minnesota
Steve Polasky is one of the leaders of the Natural Capital Project's environmental service mapping and valuation effort. At the University of Minnesota, Steve Polasky holds the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Ecological/Environmental Economics. His research interests include biodiversity conservation, environmental services, integrating ecological and economic analysis, renewable energy, and game theory. Steve Polasky was the senior staff economist for environment and resources for the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1998-1999, and served as associate editor and co-editor for the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management from 1996 to 2002. Today he's a member of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee and the Committee on Valuing the Protection of Ecological Systems and Services for the Science Advisory Board of U.S. EPA and a member of The Nature Conservancy's Science Council.
Taylor Ricketts co-founded the Natural Capital Project while working at WWF. He now is Gund Professor and Director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. Taylor's interests focus on the overarching question: How do we meet the needs of people and nature in an increasingly crowded, changing world? He integrates natural and social sciences to address both fundamental scientific issues and real-world conservation problems. Taylor's recent work has focused on the economic benefits provided to people by forests, wetlands, reefs, and other natural areas. He also collaborates widely to understand the impacts of ecosystem change on human health outcomes. These and other projects are part of a continuing effort to link rigorous research with practical conservation and policy efforts worldwide. Before arriving at UVM in 2011, Taylor led World Wildlife Fund's Conservation Science Program for nine years, and he remains a senior fellow at WWF. He is the author of over 70 scientific publications, and his work has been featured in over 100 stories in more than 20 media outlets. Taylor received his B.A. in Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University.
Mary Ruckelshaus, Ph.D.
Mary Ruckelshaus oversees all work of the Natural Capital Project partnership including strategy, coordination, fundraising, communications, and hiring. She is based in Seattle, WA, where she previously led the Ecosystem Science Program at NOAA's NW Fisheries Science Center. Prior to that, she was an Assistant Professor of biological sciences at The Florida State University (1994-1997). The main focus of her recent work is on developing ecological models including estimates of the flow of environmental services under different management regimes in marine systems worldwide. Ruckelshaus serves on the Science Council of The Nature Conservancy and is a Trustee on its Washington Board, and is a past chair of the Science Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). She was Chief Scientist for the Puget Sound Partnership, a public-private institution charged with achieving recovery of the Puget Sound terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. Ruckelshaus has a bachelor's degree in human biology from Stanford University, a master's degree in fisheries from the University of Washington, and a doctoral degree in botany, also from Washington.
Becky Chaplin-Kramer, Ph.D.
Becky Chaplin-Kramer leads the Natural Capital Project's freshwater and terrestrial team. She coordinates the model development and implementation of the InVEST tool, and she also is overseeing our first monitoring efforts to assess the biophysical and socioeconomic impacts of our work with Water Funds in Latin America. Her past work has combined conducting field experiments, modeling, and coordinating between researchers and practitioners at regional and local scales, through agricultural extension programs and the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research program on climate change. Becky is passionate about preserving ecosystems embedded in working landscapes and forging new alliances between conservationists and farmers, ranchers, and other land stewards. She earned her Ph.D. from University of California in Environmental Science, Policy & Management, and her M.S. and B.S. from Stanford University in Earth Systems Science.
Anne Guerry, Ph.D.
Chief Strategy Officer & Lead Scientist
Anne Guerry leads the Natural Capital Project's marine work. She oversees the ongoing improvement and expansion of the marine InVEST tool and coordinates its application in diverse contexts worldwide. As part of the Leadership Team, Anne helps ensure that we are effectively achieving our strategic goals. Beyond nature's benefits, Anne's primary research interests are in community ecology, rocky intertidal systems, and ecosystem-based management. She received her PhD in Zoology from Oregon State University, her MS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine, and her BA in Environmental Studies and English from Yale University. She has a lifelong love of the sea and believes that making explicit connections between human activities and their impacts on the full suite of nature's benefits can inform management decisions and yield better outcomes for the environment and for society.
Finance, Grants & Operations Manager
Gail Kaiser manages the Natural Capital Project's finance, grants and operations, combining her Silicon Valley experience as a product manager and consultant for globally dispersed product development and marketing, and volunteer work in local natural resource preservation. She has worked for IBM, Siemens, HP, and is on the board of the Committee for Green Foothills. She received her MBA and BS in Economics from Santa Clara University.
Bonnie Keeler, Ph.D.
Bonnie Keeler leads the Minnesota-based NatCap team, where she is a staff scientist at the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. Bonnie earned her Ph.D. in Economics, Policy, Management and Society in the Natural Resources Science and Management program at the University of Minnesota. She has a M.S. in Ecology from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Biology from the Colorado College. Her dissertation research advanced the science and practice of water quality valuation. In her work with the Natural Capital Project, Bonnie is applying ecosystem services approaches to improve water management, to quantify the externalities associated with land-use change, and to support decision-making in urban and agricultural systems.
Lead - Science-Policy Interface
Emily manages the Natural Capital Project at World Wildlife Fund and is the project's liaison with the WWF network. She also leads NatCap's work at the science-policy interface. Emily's research interests include environmental valuation, and policies and payments for environmental services. She has applied environmental economics to important policy questions in more than sixteen countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Pacific, Caribbean and Latin America. Her research has led to nature's benefits being considered in decisions around land use planning in Indonesia, black pearl farming in the Cook Islands, aggregates extraction in the Marshall Islands, coral reef protection in Bermuda and forest biodiversity in Montserrat. She has built several environmental economics programs - leading research, developing tools, building capacity and providing technical and policy advice. She previously worked as Environmental Economics Advisor to the UK government, based at the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. In 2003-2005, she was awarded an Overseas Development Institute Fellowship as the Resource Economist at the Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji. Emily received a Masters Degree in International Policy Studies from Stanford University, and a Bachelors Degree in Economics from Cambridge University.
Elizabeth Rauer is the Communications Manager for the Natural Capital Project. Ms. Rauer graduated from Brown University with a B.S. in Marine Biology, completed Duke University's Beaufort to Bermuda marine science and policy program, and received her master's degree in Marine Affairs and Policy from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) at the University of Miami. Her thesis examined reducing sea lion predation at Bonneville Dam and the biological, social, and economic factors associated with the conflict. She has also conducted research on red tides, sustainable seafood programs, and the diving behavior and physiology of turtles. Before joining the Natural Capital Project, she worked on marine protected areas, sustainable seafood, marine mammal conservation, and historical marine ecology as a Conservation Scientist and Communications Manager at Marine Conservation Institute.
Science-Policy Interface Specialist
Amy Rosenthal is working with the team and partner sites to create science-policy interface tools that integrate environmental services into decisions about land management and development. Previously, she helped the Amazon Conservation Association establish an environmental services program, designed major initiatives for conservation of the Western Amazon, and developed a series of tools and methodologies for avoided deforestation carbon projects. She has run an environmental management training program with the Federal University of Acre in Brazil, evaluated a leadership institute for First Nations students with the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford, represented book authors as a literary agent, and studied carbon farming on Maori land in New Zealand. Rosenthal received an MA from Stanford University and a BA from Amherst College.
Rich Sharp, Ph.D.
Rich Sharp leads the software development projects that support ecosystem service assement and planning at the Natural Capital Project. Previously he was an assistant professor of computer science at St. Lawrence University and earned his Ph.D. in computer science from The Ohio State University. His research interests include developing computational software for natural science applications, high performance computing applications, cloud computing, and scientific visualization.
Katie Arkema, Ph.D.
Katie Arkema is developing models for quantifying nature's benefits to people and leading several efforts to use them to advance the management of coastal and marine ecosystems. With the Belize team she is designing a Coastal Zone Management Plan to balance multiple uses, conserve habitats and sustain human well-being. She is particularly interested in the ability of coastal ecosystems to protect vulnerable communities and properties from sea level rise and storms and is using this information for climate adaptation in the US and Latin America. Katie is also developing the Habitat Risk Assessment model for mapping and forecasting the influence of human activities and climate change on ecosystems and services in several NatCap sites. Katie received her Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and her B.A. in ecology with a minor in Latin American studies from Princeton University.
Nirmal Bhagabati leads WWF's applications of InVEST, an ecosystem services mapping and valuation software package developed by the Natural Capital Project, in priority sites in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. After completing undergraduate work in India in biology and computer science, he obtained his PhD at the State University of New York, for which he studied geographic variation in birds (Mexican Jays) in the southwestern US and northern Mexico. Subsequently, he was a visiting scientist at the Smithsonian Institution, and then worked as a bioinformatics analyst at The Institute for Genomic Research, where he developed software, analyzed data and trained biologists in data analysis. Nirmal also completed a degree in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining WWF, he worked with several environmental organizations, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Conservation International, the National Wildlife Federation and World Wildlife Fund, on diverse projects including GIS-based analyses of human dimensions of conservation, biofuels, tropical deforestation and climate change policy, and landscape-level conservation planning.
Henry Borrebach is on the Natural Capital Project's training team, overseeing the Annual Meeting and Training, and coordinating NatCap trainings around the globe. Henry has extensive experience in applied pedagogy and international education, and he is passionate about making the science behind conservation accessible to the public. He is currently working with the team to develop online training courses that make NatCap's approach and tools available to a wider audience. Henry holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.F.A. from Florida International University. Before joining the project, he co-founded the O, Miami international poetry festival.
Leah Bremer, Ph.D.
Leah Bremer joined the Natural Capital Project as part of a team working to develop and implement hydrological, biodiversity, and socio-economic monitoring inwater funds in Latin America in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy. Her dissertation research jointly analyzed the social and ecological outcomes of Payment for Ecosystem Services programs targeting highland Andean grasslands (páramos) in Ecuador. Prior to that she worked in environmental education and conservation in Hawai'i, California, and Washington. She received her Ph.D. from the UC Santa Barbara/San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program in Geography, her M.S. in Conservation Biology from Victoria University in Wellington and Macquarie University, and her B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University.
Benjamin P. Bryant, Ph.D.
Ben works as an economist serving the Freshwater and Terrestrial Services team, currently focusing on water funds and joint dependencies between roads and ecosystems. He also has research interests in decision making under uncertainty, social choice processes, and agricultural/agro-ecological systems. Ben earned a PhD in Policy Analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School at the RAND Corporation, where he worked on a variety of energy, environment and modeling issues. He also holds a BS in mathematics from Harvey Mudd College, with significant coursework in engineering as well as political and ethical philosophy. Immediately prior to joining NatCap, he was a country economist conducting cost-benefit analyses for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US government international development agency.
Kate Brauman, Ph.D.
Lead Scientist for Global Water Assessment at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environmentt
Kate Brauman is the Lead Scientist for Global Water Assessment at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, where she studies the coupled interaction of land-use change and water resources. Kate's focus on hydrologic ecosystem services and Payments for Watershed Services builds from her doctoral work at Stanford University in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, where she developed a framework for evaluating hydrologic services and designed and led a project on the Big Island of Hawai'i quantifying the effects of pasture and forest on groundwater recharge and calculating the associated costs of water extraction. At UMN, Kate also scales up to analyze the availability, use, and productivity of water at the global scale.
Nicolas Chaumont, Ph.D.
Nicolas is a member of the Software Team, working on updates to the latest version of InVEST software. He received a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Computer Science from Sherbrooke University in Canada, a M.A. in Applied Mathematics from the Claremont Graduate University, and a Ph.D. In Computational and Systems Biology from the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences. His research interests include optimization, animal behavior, autonomous systems, evolution and using tools in Computational Ecology to understand ecosystem dynamics. Before joining the project, he was a research assistant at Michigan State University's BEACON center.
Senior Software Engineer
Douglas Denu is a member of the Software Team, helping with the visualization of making InVEST platform independent. Doug helps to develop the InVEST 3.0 models and has worked on the timber model, wave energy model, and hydropower model. His goal is to get his Ph.D. in computer science, focusing on modeling and algorithms. He also has a strong interest and minor background in geology, which he hopes to merge with his computer science degree. He received his Bachelor degree in Computer Science with a minor in math at St. Lawrence University.
Senior Software Engineer
As a member of the Software Team, James Douglass works to support the existing InVEST family of tools, implement new models and reimplement existing models in an ArcGIS-independent platform. James is also heavily involved with the development of a user interface for InVEST. He received his B.S in Computer Science at St. Lawrence University.
Jennifer Duggan, Ph.D.
Jenny Duggan is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington and an ecologist with the Natural Capital Project. She is part of a team applying InVEST at three Department of Defense demonstration sites to inform their resource management and land-use policy. She is adapting and applying terrestrial models to assess habitat quality for species of conservation concern on and adjacent to installations under varied land-use scenarios. Jenny's primary research interests are in landscape ecology and conservation biology. She is especially interested in combining field and quantitative methods to address applied questions in the conservation and management of biodiversity. Jenny earned a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Ethology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a M.S. in Ecology from San Diego State University, and a B.S. in Zoology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Brad Eichelberger is part of a team that is adapting and applying InVEST at three Department of Defense demonstration sites to inform their resource management and land-use policy. He is applying and altering existing InVEST tools to meet the land manager's goals and has worked closely with the hydrology team to develop the freshwater InVEST models. Prior to joining the Natural Capital Project, he was an ecologist with the Natural Heritage Program in Pennsylvania and conducted research on rare species and associated habitat. Brad earned his M.S in applied ecology and conservation biology and a B.S. in biology from Frostburg State University and has received ESRI's Special Achievements in GIS award for his previous work.
Dave Fisher is a research assistant for the Seattle-based NatCap Marine team. He supports the development and application of the InVEST Recreation model. Dave also develops data processing and visualization tools to support users of the Marine InVEST models. He holds a M.S. in Geography from the University of Oregon, with specialization in GIS, biogeography, and paleoecology, and a B.A. from the University of Rochester.
Yonas Ghile, Ph.D.
Yonas Ghile is leading the development of water models for the Natural Capital Project. He has extensive experience working on a wide array of water, climate and the environment. Prior to joining the Natural Capital Project he was a senior research associate at the University of Massachusetts and has carried out a number of research projects in the USA, Africa and Asia to address the contemporary global issues of extreme hydrological events, climate change and environmental degradation. In addition to his research experiences, he developed practical tools for flood risk prediction and climate risk assessment. His research interest include hydrologic predictability and river basin management tools, flood forecasting, water allocation mechanisms, transboundary river issues, water economics and policies, managing climate risks and decision scaling. He earned a Ph.D. in Hydrology from University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and has won several fellowships.
Kathryn Glowinski is a member of the software team, working on refactoring InVEST models for platform independence. In particular she has worked on the InVEST 3.0 models for both Finfish Aquaculture and Overlap Analysis. Kathryn recieved her B.S in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from St. Lawrence Univeristy.
Jesse Gourevitch is a Junior Scientist with the NatCap team at the University of Minnesota. He is helping to develop a model to quantify the economic costs of nitrogen pollution and is applying InVEST models for several land-use scenarios in Minnesota. Jesse earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies from Carleton College.
Robert Griffin, Ph.D.
Rob's research interests are focused on the interaction of the economy and coastal and marine environments, and he is currently involved in valuation for an array of marine models as part of the Natural Capital Project. Rob received a B.A. in Economics and his Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Rhode Island. During his graduate studies, Rob was a National Science Foundation IGERT fellow with an interdisciplinary research focus on coastal ecosystems. His research focused on the use of auctions for allocating rights to offshore energy resources. He has worked on projects for NOAA on fisheries policy, the US Department of the Interior on energy policy, and with the World Wildlife Fund on sustainable coastal development. He has international experience working for the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries on a fisheries quota project and as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Marine Resources in Bremerhaven, Germany. As someone who enjoys the coast, Rob has spent close to a decade working in surf-rescue. He is PADI certified open water diver, and spends any free time in, on, or under the water.
Greg Guannel, Ph.D.
Greg Guannel is part of the Natural Capital Project's Marine Initiative, developing Marine InVEST's coastal protection module. Guannel's research involves the incorporation of natural habitat in the modeling of nearshore hydrodynamics as well as short- and long-term shoreline change. Greg received his Civil Engineer Degree from Ecole Superieure des Travaux Publics in Paris, France, his M.S. in Ocean Engineering from Texas A&M University, and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University.
Perrine Hamel, Ph.D.
Perrine is part of the Freshwater and Terrestrial Environment team of the Natural Capital Project. She helps develop and improve existing water models and provides technical support in applications of those models for watershed services. Prior to joining the team, Perrine worked as an environmental engineer in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and earned her PhD at Monash University in Australia in the field of urban hydrology. Her dissertation work involved both environmental monitoring and theoretical work, including modeling of stormwater systems at multiple scales. Perrine holds her Civil and Environmental Engineering diploma from Ecole Centrale Nantes, France.
Peter Hawthorne, Ph.D.
Peter Hawthorne's work for the Natural Capital Project involves developing capabilities for optimization and trade-off analysis in InVEST, new population-based models for biodiversity, and collaborations with the Nature Conservancy, WWF, and other groups to apply these tools. As a grad student, Peter's research interests in ecology included metapopulation theory, stochastic processes in niche and neutral models, and the effects of dispersal limitation on populations, with occasional diversions through economics and evolution. In addition to his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Minnesota, Peter holds an A.B. in mathematics from Harvard University.
Justin Andrew Johnson
Economics Ph.D. Candidate and Graduate Researcher
Justin Andrew Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. Justin's research explores how ecosystem services affect economic systems, and vice versa. For the Natural Capital Project, Justin is developing InVEST models for non-timber forest products, biodiversity impacts using the GLOBIO framework and methods to optimize management decisions when multiple ecosystem-service matter (and potentially conflict). In addition to ecosystem service valuation, Justin researches food security, climate change and agricultural management in developing countries, along with more traditional topics in economics such as dynamic general equilibrium modeling of economic growth. Justin's work has led him to research areas including China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Brazil. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, he received his B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies at St. Olaf College.
Daniel Karp is a postdostoral "NatureNet" fellow, funded through the Nature Conservancy and based at the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University. Daniel's past work has focused on developing innovative solutions for reconciling conservation activities with food production practices. He combines ecological field research with molecular lab work, statistical analysis of large datasets, and modeling. Currently, Daniel is co-leading an effort to develop new agricultural models for InVEST, specifically models focused on the control of damaging crop pests by their natural predators. Daniel is also working with the Natural Capital Project to examine tradeoffs in managing agricultural systems for pest control, food safety, and water quality in the California Central Coast. Daniel earned his Ph.D. and B.S. from Stanford University in Biological sciences in 2013 and 2009.
GIS Programmer Analyst
Ginger Kowal is a GIS Programmer Analyst with the freshwater and terrestrial NatCap team, where she works on several projects developing and applying InVEST tools. She is contributing to the development of a new InVEST tool to model grassland forage ecosystems. Ginger holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an M.S. in Ecology from the University of Calgary, and a certificate in geospatial technology from Asheville-Buncombe Technical College. Prior to joining NatCap, she led the development of an agent-based spatially explicit population model to inform landscape-scale habitat management for the gopher tortoise in the Southeastern U.S.
Software Engineer and GIS Analyst
Martin Lacayo develops the Marine InVEST tools, a set of models for quantifying the services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems. His work focuses primarily on automating GIS processes for conservation modeling and improving the usability of spatial decision support tools. He received his M.S. from the Department of Geography at the San Diego State University and his B.A. in Computer Science from Macalester College.
Shan Ma, Ph.D.
Shan Ma is part of a team adapting and applying InVEST at three Department of Defense demonstration sites to inform their resource management and land-use policy. In particular, she is leading the valuation of different ecosystem services of interest at the installations. Her research interests lie in non-market valuation of ecosystem services and its implications for real-world policy. Shan Ma earned her Ph.D. and M.S in agricultural, food and resource economics from Michigan State University, and a bachelor's degree in environmental economics and management from Renmin University of China. Shan Ma was a Mirzayan Science Policy Fellow with the Board on Agricultural and Natural Resources at the National Academies before joining the Natural Capital Project.
Lisa Mandle, Ph.D.
Lisa Mandle is developing and improving models of terrestrial ecosystem services for InVEST and for applications in Latin America. She works with the Natural Capital Project team and its partners to assess and develop plans to mitigate the effects of development projects such as mining and transportation infrastructure on ecosystem services. Lisa is an ecologist and conservation biologist who studies the impact of land management decisions on biodiversity and the provision and distribution of ecosystem services. Her previous work combined field studies and modeling to examine trade-offs between non-timber forest product management and biodiversity conservation in India to inform local management decisions. She received a doctoral degree in botany from the University of Hawaii Manoa and holds bachelor's degrees in biology and anthropology from Brown University.
Joanna Nelson, Ph.D.
NatureNet Fellow, Ecologist
Joanna Nelson works with the Natural Capital Project team to design and coordinate monitoring protocols across multiple watersheds in Latin America, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of water funds in supporting water quality, quantity, and other ecosystem services, as well as biodiversity. She brings her experience in ecological experimental design and water quality in the context of global change. She has worked with rural Costa Rican communities on water quality, with Koyukon Athabaskan communities in interior Alaska on resilience to a changing wildfire regime, and with many stakeholders in broad-scale estuarine ecosystem-based management. Her academic background centers on multiple global changes and their potential interactions and social-ecological resilience. Joanna is passionate about integrating local and scientific knowledge for improved stewardship of land and water. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California in Environmental Studies and her M.S. and B.S. from Stanford University in Earth Systems Science. She is a co-awardee of the Ecological Society of America's Sustainability Science award.
Nasser Olwero oversees WWF US Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program including managing the GIS lab and providing GIS and RS support to the Conservation Science Program. He graduated from Moi University in Kenya (undergraduate and postgraduate) with an M.Phil. degree in Environmental Science majoring in Environmental Information Systems.
Brian Robinson, Ph.D.
Brian Robinson is interested in how ecosystem services, and institutions to manage ecosystem services, impact livelihoods in developing countries. With the Natural Capital Project, Brian is developing InVEST modules on property rights, non-timber forest product harvesting and methods for modeling the distribution of ecosystem service benefits across a landscape. Although formally housed at the University of Minnesota, Brian is currently a visiting research economist in Beijing with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, working on empirical studies of ecosystem service valuation and PES programs in China. For Brian's doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he investigated the impact of management institutions on forest resources and livelihoods in Yunnan, China. Brian also holds masters degrees from MIT in City Planning and Environmental Engineering and a BS in Earth Sciences from Georgia Tech.
Victoria Peterson is a part of the communications team at Natural Capital Project, working as a Communications Intern. She updates, develops, and edits content for the Natural Capital Project website, as well as our social media streams and self-publications, and assists with other outreach and communications projects. She received her B.A. in English from St. Lawrence University.
Lauren Rogers, Ph.D.
Lauren Rogers is a fisheries ecologist with the Natural Capital Project's marine team. Her work is focused on building tools for understanding what climate change will mean for marine ecosystems, fisheries, and the people who depend on them. She is also working on the development and application of Marine InVEST. Lauren's research is motivated by a desire to understand how marine ecosystems are affected by changes in climate, and to determine which features of ecosystems make them resilient to increasing human pressures. Her previous work has focused on population spatial structure, portfolio effects, and the drivers behind short and long-term fluctuations in the abundance of harvested fish species. Prior to joining the Natural Capital Project, Lauren was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Oslo. Lauren received her Ph.D. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences from the University of Washington and her B.S. in Earth Systems Science from Stanford University.
Jess Silver is a research assistant for the Natural Capital Project's Marine Initiative. The team is building Marine InVEST, a set of models for quantifying the services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems. Jess's research interests include marine and estuarine microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. She has a Master's degree in microbial ecology from the University of Washington, and a B.A. in biology from Wellesley College.
Training Program Manager and Geographer
Gregg Verutes leads the training program which hosts various introductory sessions and technical workshops throughout the world. His current focus is developing innovative techniques that use maps, games, and problem-based exercises to teach students, scientists and practitioners about valuing nature. He also serves as a GIS specialist for the marine team working on coastal zone management in Belize and coastal hazard research throughout the United States. Mr. Verutes received his M.S. from San Diego State University and his B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University.
Adrian L. Vogl, Ph.D.
Adrian is leading application of the InVEST models for watershed services, and developing decision support models for spatial planning, permitting new infrastructure projects and mitigation, and targeting investments in watershed conservation. Adrian co-led development of the RIOS tool, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Latin American Water Funds Platform. In addition, Adrian is leading efforts to link the InVEST economic valuation approach with outputs from other hydrologic models. Before joining the Natural Capital Project, Adrian worked in central Texas developing land-use planning decision support tools that incorporate freshwater and groundwater ecosystem services, land development, and conservation planning. Adrian received her Ph.D. in Aquatic Resources from Texas State University-San Marcos, and her B.A. from the University of Arizona in Cultural Anthropology.
Mary Jane Wilder, D.M.A.
Mary Jane Wilder provides administrative support as part of the operations team. She was previously Chair of The Department of Fine and Performing Arts and Professor of Music at MidAmerica Nazarene University. Mary Jane earned her D.M.A. and M.M. from The University of Missouri--Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and her B.S. from William Jewell College. In addition to her interests in camping, hiking, and bird watching, she is a volunteer with Northern California Shiba Inu Rescue.
Stacie Wolny develops and applies the terrestrial hydrology toolset for the Natural Capital Project and supports Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology. After twelve years working as a system administrator and software engineer in Silicon Valley, she started studying GIS as a way to combine her computer background with a love of natural history and ecology. Stacie received a B.S. in computer science from Penn State University and studied GIS at Foothill College and San Jose State University.
Spencer Wood, Ph.D.
Spencer Wood works directly with partner organizations in Canada and Belize who are revising and evaluating their coastal management plans, using tools produced by the Natural Capital Project. His scientific research focuses on empirical and mathematical approaches to understanding interactions between humans and the environment in complex socio-ecological networks. This includes studies on patterns of tourism in Belize, ancient human settlement in the Aleutian Islands, and distributions of species interactions in New Zealand and British Columbia. Previously, Spencer participated in a variety of ecological studies on intertidal biodiversity, nearshore wave transformation, coastal sedimentation, and fire recovery. He earned his PhD from the University of British Columbia and is currently based in Seattle, WA.
Katherine Wyatt is part of the Seattle-based Natural Capital Marine team. As part of her work, she supports the development of the recreation and marine related InVEST tools. She is also involved habitat suitability, fisheries, and climate change projects. She is particularly interested in how the intersection and synthesis of multiple disciplines can improve decision making. Katherine received a M.S. from University of Washington's School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology from Lewis and Clark College. Her previous work focused on statistical analysis, GIS, and collaborative conservation.