NCEAS Science Advisers

This group of thought leaders in ecology and environmental science advise center leadership on new projects, initiatives, and funding opportunities, as well as help us anticipate and cultivate emerging focal areas for our work.


Jennifer Balch

Jennifer Balch is Assistant Professor in the Geography Department, University of Colorado, Boulder. Jennifer’s research aims to understand the patterns and processes that underlie disturbance and ecosystem recovery, particularly how shifting fire regimes are reconfiguring tropical forests, encouraging non-native grass invasion, and affecting the global climate. Jennifer was a NCEAS Postdoctoral Fellow from 2009 – 2012. During this period she led several Working Groups looking at the role of fire in the Earth System, including the first Working Group collaboration between NCEAS and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. More>



Carl Boettiger

Carl Boettiger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley working on regime shifts in ecology and evolution. His research aims to understand, forecast or manage ecological regime shifts by combining novel approaches to mathematical modeling with tools from informatics and data science. He is a firm believer in open science and the co-founder of the ropensci project which has been actively building software and community to facilitate data science research in ecology and related disciplines. Carl has been a regular collaborator on a number of Informatics projects including conceptualizing an Institute for Sustainable Earth and Environmental Software (ISEES) project and the ABI Community Dynamics Project Workshop. More>


John Drake

John Drake is Associate Professor for the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia. His research interests include basic and applied population ecology and ecological epidemiology. His research integrates across traditional biological disciplines and also across the quantitative sciences—computer science, mathematics and statistics. His current projects include population biology of West Nile virus in New York City; evolutionary dynamics of avian influenza virus; ecological niche identification and geographic range prediction for disease vectors; and extinction in experimental zooplankton populations. Drake was a Postdoctoral Fellow at NCEAS from 2004 – 2006 working on risk analysis for emerging infectious diseases. Most recently, he led the NCEAS Working Group on Machine Learning for the Environment (2006- 2008). More>

Fiorenza Micheli

Fiorenza Micheli is a marine ecologist and conservation biologist conducting research and teaching at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, where she is the David and Lucile Packard Professor of Marine Science and the co-director of the Center for Ocean Solutions. Her research focuses on the processes shaping marine communities and incorporating this understanding into the management and conservation of marine ecosystems. She is also a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. In addition to participating in several NCEAS working groups over the years, she was among the first cohort of NCEAS postdoctoral fellows in the late 1990s. More>


Hillary Young

Hillary Young is Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, UC Santa Barbara. She is a community ecologist interested in cascading effects of wildlife decline and land use change, particularly as they affect human health and well-being. Hillary's research aims to understand the drivers of large-scale changes in community structure and ecosystem functions following biodiversity loss and climate change. Her works at both local and global scales using a range of observational, experimental, and meta-analytical approaches. Her work includes sites in East Africa, Pacific Islands, and coastal California. Hillary is new to NCEAS and brings a fresh perspective for how NCEAS can best serve the community. More>


Since our beginning, we have relied on guidance from independent science advisers. We are grateful to the esteemed scientists that served between 1995 and 2013 on our Science Advisory Board (SAB), while NCEAS operated as a National Science Foundation center. Our Science Advisers supersede the SAB.