Joseph Kiesecker is a Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Lands Team. In this capacity his main responsibilities include developing new tools, methods, and techniques that improve conservation. He pioneered the Conservancy’s Development by Design strategy, to improve impact mitigation through the incorporation of predictive modeling to provide solutions that benefits conservation goals and development. He also conducts his own research in areas ranging from disease ecology, to the effectiveness of new conservation tools such as conservation easements.
His training was in ecology, conservation biology and animal behavior, with a Ph.D. from Oregon State University in 1997. He has held faculty appointments at Yale University, Penn State University and currently holds a faculty appointment at the University of Wyoming. He has been a Donnelly Fellow, and has received funding for his research from National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the IUCN and numerous private foundations. Kiesecker has published over 100 articles, on topics ranging from climate change to the effectiveness of conservation strategies; examples of his work have been published in Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Conservation Biology, Ecology and American Scientist.
His past work has focused primarily on the conservation and ecology of freshwater systems. In particular, he has been interested in the global amphibian decline phenomenon. This line of research has involved investigating how perturbations resulting from climate change and land use changes can stress organisms, making them more susceptible to disease. He began his job with the Conservancy in 2004 with the challenge of putting years of classroom teaching and academic research into conservation practice in the real world.