Our Affiliates are senior-level scientists, journalists, communicators, and artists. While not employed through INSTAAR, they work closely with INSTAAR researchers on a wide range of climate and environmental science projects, art-science collaborations, and public engagement. Prospective affiliates should contact individual INSTAAR Fellows to explore potential partnerships.

People A to Z

Laura Backus

  • Technical Advisor, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers
  • Ecologist, Engineers Without Borders


Ecological restoration in wetlands and post-flood riparian areas; monitoring long-term results of volunteer restoration projects; erosion control with native species in Ecuadorian cloud forest.

James Balog

  • Director, Extreme Ice Survey


James Balog has been a leader in photographing, understanding and interpreting the natural environment for three decades. To reveal the impact of climate change, James founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. National Geographic showcased this work in June 2007 and June 2010 issues. The project is also featured in the 2009 NOVA documentary Extreme Ice and in the 2012 feature-length documentary Chasing Ice.

Larry Benson

  • Hydrologist, Water Resources, USGS


Creation of lake-based records of climate change in the western United States; response of prehistoric Native American cultures to climate change; application of cosmogenic isotopes to the dating of glacial features in the Rocky Mountains.

Gordon Bonan

  • Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)


Terrestrial ecosystems, their responses to climate change, feedbacks that amplify or mitigate climate change, and human perturbations in land cover, land use, and ecosystem functions that alter climate. Development of and experimentation with coupled models of Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere system.

Patrick Bourgeron

  • Senior Research Scientist, Retired, formerly with INSTAAR and Center for the American West, CU-Boulder

Research Programs, Labs, and Groups


Integrated ecological assessments; conservation, ecosystem, landscape, and plant ecology; conservation and land use planning; ecosystem management; biogeography; statistical and numerical modeling; biological diversity; ecological classification and mapping; technology transfer; strategic planning for science and conservation programs; communication outreach; managing system and organizational change.

Peter Brannen

  • Science journalist


Peter Brannen is a science journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Wired, and The Guardian among other publications. His book, The Ends of the World, about the five major mass extinctions in Earth’s history, was published in 2017 by Ecco. Peter was a 2018 Scripps Fellow at CU Boulder. He is particularly interested in paleoclimate, geochemistry, the carbon cycle, and ocean science.

Paul Brooks

  • Professor, Hydrology and Water Resources, The University of Arizona
  • Institute of the Environment, The University of Arizona


Interactions between the biosphere and the cycling of water, energy, and biogeochemicals, primarily carbon and nutrients.

Cassandra Brooks

  • Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Departments/Academic Programs


Antarctica; environmental governance; marine science; natural resource conservation; protected areas

Diane Burko

  • Artist


Burko locates her practice at the intersection of art and science. In 2006, her concern for the future of our environment and issues of climate change led her to develop series of ongoing projects. She develops visual strategies in paintings and photography using historical comparisons of global glacial change through repeat photography, Landsat maps, and other visual data to help explain earth science to the public. Her work confronts issues of geological and chronological time—past, present, and future.

Alton C. Byers

  • Co-Manager, High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP)
  • Distinguished Visiting Scholar, College of the Environment, Wesleyan University, Connecticut


Applied research, alpine conservation and restoration programs, climate change impacts, highland-lowland interactive conservation, and mountain photography.


Devin Castendyk

  • Senior Geochemist, Mine Environment Group at Golder

Research Programs, Labs, and Groups


Open pit mines: pit lake analysis, predictive modeling, and closure planning. Mine water management, tailings management, contaminant source control, and water treatment.

Cory Cleveland

  • Assistant Professor in Terrestrial Biogeochemistry, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, University of Montana


Terrestrial ecosystem ecology and soil biogeochemistry. In general, his research focuses on understanding the biotic and abiotic controls over terrestrial biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem processes.

Jesse Colangelo

  • Research Associate, CU Boulder Department of Geological Sciences


Environmental microbiology and geochemistry. Investigates drivers and relicts of microbial evolution, focusing on the metabolically diverse bacteria of low energy subsurface marine sediments.


P. Thompson Davis

  • Professor, Natural and Applied Sciences, Bentley University
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire


Glacial and climate history of mountainous areas in New England, western North America, and Baffin Island.

E. James Dixon

  • Professor of Anthropology, University of New Mexico


Arctic archeology; Paleoindian archeology; Quaternary paleoecology; high altitude-high latitude adaptations; museum studies.


Brian Ebel

  • Research Hydrologist, USGS


Unsaturated flow and soil physics, surface water/groundwater interaction, hillslope hydrology and runoff generation, near-surface hydrologic response simulation, landslide and debris flow initiation, preferential flow, quantitative model performance evaluation, and post-wildfire hydrology.

Dennis Eberl

  • Hydrologist, Project Chief, USGS
  • Emeritus Scientist, USGS


Geochemistry, clay mineralogy, X-ray diffraction, crystal growth.

Scott Elias

  • Professor of Quaternary Science, University of London Royal Holloway


Quaternary insect fossils, paleoecology, paleoclimatology.


Áslaug Geirsdóttir

  • Professor of Geology, Department of Earth Sciences and Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland


Quaternary stratigraphy, glacial geology, paleoclimatology.

Joshua Grinath

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences at Idaho State University

Research Programs, Labs, and Groups


Ecosystem functioning and ecological community structure: the distribution of species abundances, biomass and interactions in ecological networks.


Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

  • Coordinator, Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration Program, Denver Botanic Gardens


Palynology, pollen transport and deposition, pollination biology, long-distance transport of biological material, airborne fungal spores.


Jason Janke

  • Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Metropolitan State College of Denver


Mountain geomorphology and climate change; soils and rock; glaciers and permafrost.

Pierre Y. Julien

  • Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University


River mechanics, erosion and sedimentation, hydraulics, geosciences, surface hydrology.


Marda Kirn

  • Founding Director, EcoArts Connections


Working with EcoArts Connections to bring together people from all walks of life to understand the realities of climate change and celebrate the delights of sustainability – in transformative programs sparked by the arts.

Josh Koch

  • Research Hydrologist, US Geological Survey


Josh Koch’s research focuses on hydrology and biogeochemistry in cold regions. He studies surface water/groundwater interactions, preferential flow and runoff mechanisms, and the impact of permafrost presence and thaw on hydrology, biogeochemistry, and aquatic ecosystems.

Kerry Koepping

  • Director, Arctic Arts Project


Environmental and travel photography; Design, marketing, communications; Project management

Vladimir G. Konovalov

  • Leading Scientific Researcher, Department of Glaciology, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences


Glaciology, hydrology and climate in high mountain areas of the world.


Henry Loescher

  • Director of Strategic Projects, CEO Office, NEON


Determining the biotic and abiotic controls on ecosystem-level carbon and energy balance across spatial and temporal scales.


Owen Mason

  • Research Associate, GeoArch Alaska


Coastal geomorphology, geoarchaeology, northwest Alaska prehistory.

James R. McGoodwin

  • Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder

Departments/Academic Programs


The development of fisheries policies for high-latitude regions, where the impacts of global warming and climatic change are forecast to be especially severe; fishing communities and fisheries management.

Amy Miller

  • Ecologist, Southwest Alaska Network, National Park Service


Plant community ecology and watershed biogeochemistry, particularly in alpine environments.

Matt Miller

  • USGS Research Hydrologist, Earth Systems Modeling Branch


Quantifying the the relationships between water quality, hydrology, land use, and climate at watershed, regional, and national scales.  Development of modeling tools that improve process understanding of integrated terrestrial-aquatic systems.

Natalie Mladenov

  • Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering, Kansas State University


Surface and ground water quality; aquatic biogeochemistry; atmospheric deposition and organic aerosols; water and sustainability in southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Delwyn Moller

  • Adjunct Professor, University of Auckland


Development of novel remote sensing systems for Earth Science, particularly via imaging radar and interferometry for mapping terrain, water, snow, and ice-covered surfaces.

Rob Motta


Climate change communication, in particular the impacts of sea level rise.

Daniel R. Muhs

  • Research Geologist, USGS


Geomorphology, soils, and stratigraphy to reconstruct paleoclimates over the past two and a half million years of geologic time.

Sheila Murphy

  • Hydrologist, US Geological Survey
  • Investigator, Boulder Critical Zone Observatory


Research focuses on the characterization of the hydrology and water chemistry of watersheds and how they are affected by both natural factors and disturbance.


Shad O’Neel

  • Research Geophysicist, USGS


Glacier-climate interactions and sea level rise; small glaciers; glacier-generated seismicity; photogrammetry.


Aviva Rahmani

  • Ecological Artist


Aviva Rahmani is an ecological artist who works with scientists to design solutions for degraded environments.

Richard Reynolds

  • Research Geologist, USGS


Development of dry landscapes and ecosystems through understanding interactions among geologic, ecologic, and climatic processes; geologic, biologic, and human controls on dust generation; Quaternary climate and evolution of landscapes in response to climatic change; environmental magnetism; chemical and magnetic records of pollution in sediments and mineral dust.


Mike SanClements

  • Staff Scientist, NEON


Soil science, ecology, and biogeochemistry, particularly the cycling of elements within natural systems and the response of these cycles to changing climate and atmospheric deposition.

Sam Simkin

  • Staff Scientist, NEON


Ecosystem ecology, plant community ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape ecology

Petr Sklenář

  • Associate Professor, Department of Botany, Charles University in Prague


Ecology, plant biodiversity.

Dena Smith-Nufio

  • Acting Division Director, Division of Earth Sciences at National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Former Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology, CU Museum of Natural History and Associate Professor of Geological Sciences

Departments/Academic Programs


I’m a paleobiologist who uses the fossil record to study the evolution and ecology of insects. As a former faculty member and museum curator, I am quite passionate about specimens, data access, education and outreach. It’s important to me that we work together to build a more diverse and inclusive STEM workforce.

Eric Sokol

  • Research Scientist/Quantitative Ecologist, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)

Research Programs, Labs, and Groups


I am an ecologist and my work focuses on understanding the processes that control patterns in biodiversity. This includes visiting and collecting data from diverse ecosystems as well using computer models to simulate and predict how metacommunity dynamics can be linked to diversity outcomes.

Susann Stolze

  • Research Associate and Lab Manager, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines


Stable isotopy; paleoenvironmental and climate reconstructions; palynology.


Howard E. Taylor

  • Research Chemist and Project Chief, Environmental Analytical Chemistry and Water Quality Project, Water Resources, USGS


Water chemistry and trace element analysis.

Arnaud Temme

  • Associate Professor, Kansas State University


Soil geography and geomorphology.

Ernesto Trujillo-Gomez

  • Project Scientist, UC Merced/USDA ARS

Research Programs, Labs, and Groups


Hydrologist with extensive experience in mountain hydrology, snow physics, remote sensing, water resources engineering, data analysis, and field work in extreme environments.

Jocelyn Turnbull

  • Senior Scientist, GNS Science
  • Formerly with ESRL Global Monitoring Group, NOAA


Radiocarbon: high precision measurement; atmospheric applications, carbon cycle, fossil fuel emission quantification, urban anthropogenic emissions, modelling, and more.


Ryan Vachon

  • Founder and Executive Director, Earth Initiatives
  • Founder and CEO, One Premise Innovative Communications


Climate scientist, educator, videographer, ice climber.


Wei Wang

  • Executive Director, High-Throughput Screening Core Facility, CU Boulder


Atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric trace gas measurements, biosphere-atmosphere interactions

Ryan W. Webb

  • Research Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

Research Programs, Labs, and Groups


Snow and vadose zone hydrology.