NatureNet Science Fellows

2018 Partners and Mentors

Applicants are required to identify a university mentor at a partner institution and a Nature Conservancy mentor. It is expected that applicants will reach out to university and Nature Conservancy mentors to identify best fit and engage in co-development of the proposal. Letters of support are required from both mentors.

The Call for Applications for 2018 NatureNet Science Fellows went out on September 1, 2017 and ended November 15, 2017.

See the NatureNet Science Fellows Program FAQ for more information.

The Nature Conservancy's University Partners

2018 NatureNet Science Fellowship Project List

The Nature Conservancy's University Partners

The program is run in partnership with a diversity of universities that represent traditional and non-traditional disciplines relevant to conservation science. Applicants must identify  one university as their home institution, but are encouraged to suggest collaborations with additional universities and institutions if those collaborations will greatly enhance the research. Each university will only consider applications to the project themes identified. This year’s participating universities for the full fellowship program are.


Faculty affiliated with ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) are eligible to serve as Nature Conservancy Mentors. Faculty affiliates span seven academic departments and we encourage applicants to select a primary and two secondary mentors from different academic units. An abbreviated list of project mentors and interests are below and a full list of CBO Faculty Affiliates can be found here. Questions about finding or contacting an ASU mentor should be directed to the “main contact” listed under each category.

Sustainable Agriculture: Joni Adamson, Rimjhim Aggarwal (main contact), Becky Ball, Shauna BurnSilver, Netra Chhetri, Paul Coseo, Maria Cruz-Torres, Thomas Day, Kevin Gurney, Jon Harrison, Arjun Heimsath, Ann Kinzig, Leslie Landrum, David Manuel-Navarrette, Tom Moore, David Pearson, Osvaldo Sala, Shade Shutters, Andrew Smith, Heather Throop, Christopher Wharton, Jianguo Wu, Amber Wutich

Fisheries and Marine: Ariel Anbar, James Elser, Leah Gerber, Hilairy Hartnet, Lekelia Jenkins, Jack Kittinger, Beth Polidoro (main contact), Rosimiery Portela

Economics and Decision Making: Joshua Abbott (main contact), Ariel Anbar, Kathleen Andereck, Michael Barton,Christopher Boone, Megha Budruk, Candice Carr Kelman, James Collins, Gary Dirks, Kevin Dooley, Janet Franklin, David Guston, Hilairy Hartnett, Marco Jansen, Yang Kuang, Adam Lampert, Rob Melnick, Clark Miller, Ben Minteer, Soe Myint, Gyan Nyaupane,Mary Jane Parmentier, Theodore Pavlic, David Pearson, Charles Perrings, Patricia Reiter, Charles Redman, Daniel Sarewitz, Michael Schoon, Abigail York

Freshwater and Wetlands: Heather Bateman, Nancy Grimm, Patricia Gober, Rolf Halden, John Sabo (main contact), Enrique Vivoni, Elizabeth Wentz, Paul Westerhoff, Dave White

Urban Conservation: Sharon Hall


The Institute at Brown for Environment and Society brings together faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students from diverse fields across campus to study complex challenges at the interface of human and natural systems, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations and systems. IBES organizes its research into four problem-based themes: Natural Systems, Food and Water, Human Health and Wellbeing, and Equity and Governance.

Forests: Tyler Kartzinel, James Kellner
Sustainable Agriculture: Tyler Kartzinel, Stephen Porder
Grasslands and Prairies: Tyler Kartzinel


The Earth Institute provides a focal point for interdisciplinary collaborations that involve natural sciences, engineering and social sciences through 28 research centers and programs. In particular, faculty at Columbia provide research opportunities in climate change, sustainable agriculture, and energy technology and conservation through the Earth Institute's Agriculture and Food Security Center, Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology.

Project Themes: Economics and Decision Making, Urban Conservation, Sustainable Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries and Marine


Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future engages interdisciplinary teams of faculty and researchers to address the challenges of sustainability spanning energy, the environment, and economic development. The Center engages with external non-academic organizations to apply research discoveries for real-world impact.

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future has nearly 500 faculty fellows who are committed to applying their research expertise and knowledge to solving the challenges of a sustainable future. Cornell is accepting applications for all 2018 project themes. To identify a university mentor at Cornell who best fits your project theme, browse the Fellows database.


The Institute of Environment and Sustainability has over 70 faculty over eight research centers and is focused on climate, water, energy, air quality, urban sustainability, and conservation. Postdoctoral fellows are expected to have two UCLA advisors, each representing a different field–the point of this is to insist upon transdisciplinary research.The fields can be drawn from natural sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, business, engineering, public health and humanities.

Postdoctoral fellows are expected to have two UCLA advisors, each representing a different field. A small sample of faculty indicating the breadth of IoES research is below, but potential fellows should be sure to view the entire list of potential faculty mentors.

Economics and Decision Making

  • Adapting to Climate Change, Evaluating Environmental Policy Instruments, Financing  Urban Environmental Services - J. R. DeShazo
  • Environmental Awareness and Change Agent Behavior - Magali Delmas
  • Financing the Protection and Restoration of Urban Natural Areas - Stephanie Pincetl
  • Economics of Sustainability Practices - Deepak Rajagopal
  • Climate Change Hazard Indices - Alex Hall

Urban Conservation

  • Best-practices for Greenprinting, Connecting Conservation Planning with Development and Climate Change - Brad Shaffer
  • Monitoring Human Well-being After Natural Infrastructure - Stephanie Pincetl

Sustainable Agriculture

  • Pasture Health Indicators and Grazing Management, Pollinators in a Changing Climate - Peter Kareiva

Fisheries and Marine


The University of Pennsylvania has an integrated program in energy research (VIPER), a Biology Department with several faculty members interested in conservation, and a strong sustainability program hosted through the Wharton School of Business. In addition, Penn’sMaterials Science and Chemistry programs offer research opportunities in “green chemistry.”

Contact any of these departments to discuss project ideas in the context of the NatureNet priority project list with focus on energy technology, science and engineering for climate, and water security. Applications are also being accepted for the following:

Economics and Decision Making

  • Green Chemistry That Contributes to a Sustainable Supply Chain for Rare Earth Metals - Eric Schelter
2018 NatureNet Science Fellowship Project List


  • Adapting to Climate Change: Climate smart development requires change at and in multiple scales and sectors. What are some economic strategies that can strengthen climate resilience and co-benefits? [TNC Mentor: PRIYA SHYAMSUNDAR, LEAD ECONOMIST]
  • Evaluating Environmental Policy Instruments: Rigorous evaluation of program outcomes can contribute to sustainable solutions. How do we evaluate the welfare outcomes of environmental interventions and scale-up learning? [TNC Mentor: PRIYA SHYAMSUNDAR, LEAD ECONOMIST]
  • Financing Urban Environmental Services: Demand for improving the quality of urban environments and public services in developing countries is growing. How is this demand driving the financing and distribution of services? Can demand along with incentives to city governments enable improved services and environmental quality? [TNC Mentor: PRIYA SHYAMSUNDAR, LEAD ECONOMIST]
  • Economic Strategies for Soil Health: Resource management practices and technologies with long-term soil benefits may be difficult to implement. What bottlenecks impede adoption and how do we incentivize acceptance of new practices? [TNC Mentor: PRIYA SHYAMSUNDAR, LEAD ECONOMIST]
  • Soils and Carbon Sequestration Potential: Quantifying the potential of soils to sequester carbon in TNC landscapes. [TNC Mentor: DEBORAH BOSSIO, LEAD SOIL SCIENTIST]
  • Soil Health Indices and Thresholds: Developing land management relevant soil health indices and thresholds. [TNC Mentor: STEPHEN WOOD, ASSOCIATE SOIL SCIENTIST]
  • Environmental Awareness and Change Agent Behavior: How does environmental awareness relate to change agent behavior (e.g., having influence through an organization, voting), and how does environmental change agent behavior relate to consumer behavior (e.g., driving)? Does engaging in change agent behavior increase or decrease consumer’s conservation behavior? [TNC Mentor: SHELIA M.W. REDDY, SENIOR ECONOMIST]
  • Financing the Protection and Restoration of Urban Natural Areas: What is potential to sustainably finance large-scale protection of peri-urban natural areas? Or restore urban natural areas? How should urban areas be restored to meet the needs of people first? How well do these designs support biodiversity conservation goals as compared to pure ecological restoration designs? What are the implications for sustainable financing? [TNC Mentor: SHELIA M.W. REDDY, SENIOR ECONOMIST]
  • Economics of Sustainability Practices: There is very little robust research on the economics of sustainability practices in agriculture that make a clear business case and identifies how long it takes for the practices to pay and what investment or policy are needed to drive adoption. [TNC Mentor: JON FISHER, SENIOR CONSERVATION SCIENTIST W/CENTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY]
  • Behavioural Economics and Coastal Fishing: How best to drive change in behaviour in coastal fishing communities in AP. [TNC Mentor: EDWARD GAME, LEAD SCIENTIST ASIA PACIFIC]
  • Environmental Decision Making: Using value of information thinking to determine what science is needed for making the best climate change mitigation and adaptation decisions [TNC Mentor: HUGH POSSINGHAM, CHIEF SCIENTIST]
  • Climate Change Hazard Indices: Go beyond simplified statements such as ‘what was once a 1-in-20 year event or a 95th percentile daily rainfall event is now more frequent’ and transform climate change model outputs into a series of decision maker focused hazard indices that indicate the influence of climate change on critical ecosystem services due to changes in erosion, flooding, landslides, drought or other extreme events. [TNC Mentor: TRACY BAKER, SPATIAL SCIENTIST AFRICA]
  • Water Markets in New York: A way to help solve water quality issues?Agricultural water use is basically free in New York and yet agricultural uses impact many NY waters both in terms of overall quantity of use but also in terms of water quality impacts. Excess organic materials and nutrients from agriculture, exacerbated by climate change, can lead to water toxicity that is costly to treat (such as in the city of Auburn, NY). What is the potential for market based/trading style schemes to help manage water quality and quantity issues in NY and create a new economic engine for water resource management at the same time? [TNC Mentors: GEORGE SCHULER, DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION SCIENCE & PRACTICE NEW YORK and DARRAN CRABTREE, DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION PROGRAMS NEW YORK]
  • Green Chemistry That Contributes to a Sustainable Supply Chain for Rare Earth Metals: The mining, refining, and purification of metals such as rare earths are extraordinarily energy intensive and waste-generating processes that create severe environmental burdens. What is needed now are new efficient and greener processes for metal separations along with the evaluation of the comparative economics of these more sustainable processes with existing technologies. New chemical methods will be informed through economic analysis to understand key performance metrics for new technology deployment. [TNC Mentors: TIMM KROEGER, SENIOR ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMIST and MARTHA ROGERS, NATURAL CAPITAL ECONOMIST, CENTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE; University Mentor: ERIC SCHELTER, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA]


  • Best-practices for Greenprinting: How should rapidly growing cities in high biodiversity regions plan for the protection of that biodiversity? How can biodiversity protection be integrated into urban plans that have multiple other goals, from ecosystem service provision to transportation planning and economic development to climate adaptation? What guidelines, methodology, and tools are needed to answer these questions and implement greenprinting? [TNC Mentor: ROB MCDONALD, LEAD SCIENTIST GLOBAL CITIES]
  • Monitoring Human Well-being After Natural Infrastructure Installation: Understanding how the installation of natural infrastructure within urban areas affects other aspects of human well-being. For example, how projects using natural infrastructure to manage storm water are affecting neighbors well-being in other ways, positively and negatively. Is natural infrastructure perceived positively? Is it positively or negatively affecting property values and neighborhood cohesion?What are the equity implications of natural infrastructure projects? [TNC Mentor: ROB MCDONALD, LEAD SCIENTIST GLOBAL CITIES]
  • Global Priorities for Climate Adaptation Using Nature-based Solutions: What cities have the greatest potential for nature-based solutions to meet climate adaptation goals? In other words, given finite funding, which cities should be prioritized for investment in nature-based solutions first? [TNC Mentor: ROB MCDONALD, LEAD SCIENTIST GLOBAL CITIES]
  • Energy Development and Siting Tool: Given the extent and varied nature of energy development, siting tools are needed to address all energy development (both renewables and non-renewables) and determine the ecological and cost benefits analysis of energy development at a local and landscape scale, and what human dimensions need to be considered, in addition to forecasting where energy development might be headed.[TNC Mentors: RICHARD KOSTECKE, ASSOC. DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION TEXAS and/or LIZ KALIES, DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE NORTH CAROLINA]
  • Connecting Conservation Planning with Development and Climate Change: Taking a closer look at conservation design and promoting biodiversity with an eye towards connectivity and range shifts within a framework of changing climate and urbanizing/developing landscape.[TNC Mentor: RICHARD KOSTECKE, ASSOC. DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION TEXAS]
  • Dynamic Spatial Planning for Power, Water, and Biodiversity [TNC Mentor: HUGH POSSINGHAM, CHIEF SCIENTIST]
  • Repowering for Biodiversity: Spatial planning approaches and methods for repowering to minimize GHG emissions while minimizing impacts to biodiversity [TNC Mentor: HUGH POSSINGHAM, CHIEF SCIENTIST]



  • New Technologies for Large Scale Vegetation, Wildlife, and Fire Regime Monitoring: Landscape monitoring using remote sensing is difficult in mountains, looking for innovative ways to do vegetation and wildlife monitoring in response to different fire regimes. [TNC Mentor: LIZ KALIES, DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE NORTH CAROLINA]
  • Impact of Fire on Pollinators in Different Forest Types: Does fire management promote pollinators and is there variation by forest type? Can pollinators as an indicator species for a wide scale fire management monitoring program? [TNC Mentor: LIZ KALIES, DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE NORTH CAROLINA]
  • Impact of Fire and Climate Change on Water Quality: How are vegetation changes (as a result of fire suppression and/or climate change) in mountain areas are effecting water quality and quantity, over time? [TNC Mentor: LIZ KALIES, DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE NORTH CAROLINA]
  • Managing for Functional Diversity in Northern Forests: Influence on Water Quality and Flows under Climate Change How does forest complexity influence water quality and flows in the aquatic systems embedded in northern forest? How should we adjust forest management practices to sustain water resources as the climate changes? [TNC Mentor: MEREDITH CORNETT, DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION SCIENCE MN/ND/SD]
  • Field Evaluation of Landscape Management on Riau Peatlands: This includes studies focused on attributes such as gibbons, sunbears, tigers, large trees, spectral and acoustic complexity. [TNC Mentor: EDWARD GAME, LEAD SCIENTIST ASIA PACIFIC]


  • Characterizing and Managing Depleted Western Rivers: Western rivers are heavily used for water supply, with often severe ecological consequences (narrowed channels, armored streambanks, declining fish populations). When returning to “natural” is not an option, what is our conservation target and how do we get there? [TNC Mentor: JOHN SANDERSON, COLORADO DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE]
  • River Flow Ecology and Restoration: Science around basin-level river flows including investigations of ecology and restoration strategies for Myanmar and the Mississippi Basin. [TNC Mentor: KRISTEN BLANN, FRESHWATER ECOLOGIST MN/ND/SD or EDWARD GAME, LEAD SCIENTIST ASIA PACIFIC]
  • Ecosystem Services and Climate Change: What are the groundwater and surface water impacts resulting from conservation actions (protection, restoration and management) in grasslands and forests under past, present and likely future climate conditions? [TNC Mentor: KRISTEN BLANN, FRESHWATER ECOLOGIST MN/ND/SD]
  • Avoiding Water Degradation Through Land Protection: What are the direct source water benefits of avoided conversion (grasslands, wetlands and forests)? How do the costs of avoided conversion (protection through fee title or conservation easement) compare with engineered water treatment solutions? [TNC Mentor: MEREDITH CORNETT, DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION SCIENCE MN/ND/SD]


  • Invasive Species Management: Assuming we cannot eradicate invasive species, what is the threshold we should be striving for in terms of a balance between native and invasive species? [TNC Mentor: RICHARD KOSTECKE, ASSOC. DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION TEXAS]
  • Conservation Grazing vs. Prescribed Fire for Grassland Management: What are the tradeoffs for using conservation grazing and prescribed fire (or both) to achieve desired outcomes for multiple benefits such as biodiversity, water quality and flows, pollinators, or beef production)? [TNC Mentor: MARISSA AHLERING, LEAD PRAIRIE ECOLOGIST MN/ND/SD]
  • Rethinking Grassland Disturbance Regimes Under Climate Change: Most of our fire and grazing management in disturbance-dependent grasslands is based on assumptions about historical processes. What adjustments are needed for forward-looking management in temperate grasslands? (e.g., timing, frequency, intensity) [TNC Mentor: MARISSA AHLERING, LEAD PRAIRIE ECOLOGIST MN/ND/SD]


NatureNet Science Fellows Program Indirect Cost Policy


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