Distinguished Ecologists 2014-15

John Sanderson - Honor Alumnus

October 22, 2014

John SandersonJohn Sanderson is Director of Conservation Science for the Nature Conservancy of Colorado. John manages a staff of scientists and project directors working on conservation challenges ranging from ensuring adequate streamflow for endangered fish in the Yampa River, making energy development compatible with sage grouse on protected lands in northwest Colorado, keeping hundreds of thousands of acres on the Great Plains intact to support native wildlife, and adapting conservation strategies to a changing climate.

After earning his BS in Engineering from Purdue University and an MS in Botany from the University of Vermont, John got his start in Colorado doing field inventory and conservation planning for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. He later earned his PhD in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State.


Rick Karban - Visiting Distinguished Ecologist

March 11 - 12, 2015

Rick Karban

Rick Karban, an ecologist at the University of California at Davis, is interested in understanding how plants behave in their environments. He is currently looking at how plants communicate using volatile chemicals to adjust their defenses against herbivores. This research stems from his long-term interest in the ability of plants to sense their environment and mount effective induced responses. His work also uses long-term data sets and short-term manipulative experiments to ask why herbivores are abundant in some years and rare in others.

He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He found that experience trying and is interested in helping to spare young ecologists from similar difficulties.



Peter Vitousek - Visiting Distinguished Ecologist

April 8 - 9, 2015

Peter VitousekPeter Vitousek, Clifford G. Morrison Professor of Population and Resource Studies in the Biology Department, has been on the faculty at Stanford University since 1984. His research interests include evaluating the global cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how they are altered by human activity; supporting agronomists in China in their development of high-yielding but low-impact cropping systems; determining the effects of invasive species on the workings of whole ecosystems; understanding how the interaction of land and culture contributed to the sustainability of Hawaiian society before European contact; and more generally using the extraordinary ecosystems of Hawai`i as models for understanding how the world works.

He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the 2010 Japan Prize. He was born in Hawaii, and is director of the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources and co-director of the First Nations Futures Institute.

Julian Olden - Rising Star Ecologist

April 22 - 23, 2015

Olden Research GroupJulian Olden's research explores the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems spanning the fields of conservation biology, biogeography, invasion ecology and biostatistics. Julian seeks to integrate science-based approaches with on-the-ground management decisions, and actively engages in science communication and citizen science.

He recently received the Outstanding Researcher Award from the UW College of the Environment, the 2010 Early Career Conservationist Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, and was in the first cohort of Early Career Fellows awarded by the Ecological Society of America in 2013.



Jill Baron - Resident Distinguished Ecologist

September 24, 2014

Jill BaronDr. Jill S. Baron is an ecosystem ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and a Senior Research Ecologist with the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University. Her interests include applying ecosystem concepts to management of human-dominated regions, and understanding the biogeochemical and ecological effects of climate change and atmospheric nitrogen deposition to mountain ecosystems.

She is founder and Co-Director of the John Wesley Powell Center for Earth System Science Analysis and Synthesis. Baron was President of the Ecological Society of America in 2014. Baron is active in US National Climate Assessment efforts, has given testimony to Congress on western acid rain and climate change issues, and was Editor-in-Chief of Issues in Ecology, an Ecological Society of America publication for non-scientists from 2009-2012. She is founder and Principal Investigator of the Loch Vale Watershed long-term monitoring and research program in Rocky Mountain National Park, an instrumented catchment with 32 years of continuous records.

Dr. Baron received her Ph.D. from Colorado State University in 1991, and has undergraduate and master's degrees from Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin.