Our People

Marissa Ahlering

Science Director

North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota

Marissa Ahlering smiling against a prairie backdrop.

Marissa Ahlering Lead Prairie Ecologist for The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota © Cara Byington

Areas of Expertise

Grassland ecology, climate change adaptation, prairie reconstruction planning

Media Contact

Chris Anderson
ph. 612-845-2744


Dr. Marissa Ahlering has a passion for prairies and prairie conservation. She joined The Nature Conservancy in 2010 and currently serves as the Science Director for Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. She works with a team that broadly focuses on conservation and management of natural systems and the benefits they provide. Her work focuses on conservation issues such as the importance of plant diversity to other ecosystem functions, implementing adaptive management, and integrating climate adaptation strategies into TNC’s biodiversity conservation work.

She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership. Her many published works include a chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment focused on the Northern Great Plains, a 2021 paper in Rangeland Ecology and Management about ranch-level sustainability indicators and a 2020 paper in Ecosphere about adaptive management on tallgrass prairies. Previously, she worked with a nonprofit organization in Kenya, the University of Missouri and the Smithsonian Institution studying the coexistence of the Maasai people and elephants. 

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