ECI Faculty Fellows

ECI Faculty Fellows

Core Faculty

Core faculty are jointly appointed to ECI and an academic department.

Amanda Lynch
Amanda LynchAmanda LynchDirector, Environmental Change Initiative
Professor of Geological Sciences

Professor Lynch's interests lie in the application of climate and meteorological research to concrete problems of policy relevance. Her approaches include regional and global climate models of the contemporary and past climates, weather prediction models, statistical models, and quantitative and qualitative analysis. She has a strong interest in working with under-represented minorities, particularly indigenous people.

Amanda Lynch obtained her Ph.D. in Meteorology in 1993 from the University of Melbourne. From 1992-2003 she was in the United States, most recently at the University of Colorado. She was a Fellow of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, a Visiting Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and a consultant to Los Alamos National Laboratory. She returned to Australia in 2004 to take up a Federation Fellowship and head the Monash University Climate program. She was admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2008, and returned to the U.S. in 2011.

Meredith HastingsMeredith HastingsMeredith Hastings
Assistant Professor of Geology
(401) 863-3638

Professor Hastings research focuses on the reactive nitrogen cycle, with an emphasis on nitrate deposition. The isotopic composition of nitrate represents a powerful new tool for the study of the biogeochemical cycling of reactive nitrogen, its impact on atmospheric composition and its connection to the terrestrial biosphere. Her interest in NOx extends from its connection to the oxidizing efficiency of the atmosphere through its impact on ozone and hydroxyl (OH) concentrations to the biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen in the Earth system via formation of nitric acid (or nitrate), a major component of acid rain and a source of biologically available nitrogen.

Using the isotopic composition of nitrate, Professor Hastings investigates variations in the sources, chemistry, and transport of NOx. On short time scales, this has implications for studying air quality and acid deposition impacts. On longer time scales, she is interested in the natural variability of NOx sources, and the connection between climate, atmospheric composition, and the biosphere. Using data collected on rain, aerosol, snow and ice core samples, as well as global models, her lab studies the impact of various sources and chemical pathways of nitrate production in remote and urban environments, on both short and long timescales.

James R. KellnerJames KellnerJames Kellner
Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
(401) 863-5768

Professor Kellner combines environmental remote sensing with field studies, quantitative methods, and modeling to address questions in basic and applied tropical forest ecology from ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Kellner is leading efforts to understand the role of natural disturbance in mediating the carbon balance of tropical forests. He is also directing a collaborative team to determine whether foliar chemistry in tropical rainforest landscapes is an expression of local environmental conditions or genetic adaptation. Kellner works with a group of researchers to understand the factors responsible for the success or failure of biological invasions in the Hawaiian Islands, and he aims to use this information to inform conservation and management of threatened and endangered species. Kellner has served on NASA’s terrestrial-ecology airborne-science steering committee since 2011. He received his PhD from the University of Georgia in 2008, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Stephen PorderStephen PorderStephen Porder

Associate Professor of Biology
(401) 863-6356

Professor Porder's research lies at the intersection of ecology, geology, and biogeochemistry, and focuses primarily on understanding differences in nutrient cycling across tropical landscapes. The tropics are undergoing the fastest population growth and land use change on the planet. As the human population increases by three billion people (mainly in the tropics) over the coming century, it is essential to understand how these systems will respond to anthropogenic changes. Porder's interests center on tropical rainforests, the jewels of biological diversity on land, which are currently undergoing almost unimaginably fast destruction.

Despite the importance of these systems from a whole host of perspectives, scientists know relatively little about how tropical forests work biogeochemically, how nutrients and energy flow through them, and what constraints there are on plant growth, forest regeneration, and sustainable land conversion. In this context, Professor Porder works to identify biogeochemical patterns across landscapes, to understand how these patterns may affect the function and services of ecosystems, and to consider how to incorporate this variation into models for predicting the response of ecosystems to anthropogenic changes.  To do this my lab combines field work (shooting leaves with a slingshot is a must-learn skill!), chemical and isotopic analyses, GIS and remote sensing.

Leah VanWeyLeah VanweyLeah Vanwey
Associate Professor of Sociology
(401) 863-3184

Professor VanWey studies the dynamics of frontier settlement in the Brazilian Amazon, and the sharing of time, money and other essential support between family members who don't live together. She asks how we can simultaneously protect the Amazon's precious environmental resources while promoting equitable social and economic development. Part of the answer there and elsewhere lies in mobilizing the strong webs of support that have always helped families survive and improve their lives.

Faculty Fellows

Faculty Fellows are highly committed departmental faculty who contribute to the research mission of the Initative.

Heather Leslie Heather LeslieHeather Leslie
Peggy and Henry D. Sharpe Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology 

Ecology and conservation science of coastal and marine systems; ecosystem-based management

John MustardJack MustardJack Mustard
Professor, Geological Sciences
Professor, Center for Environmental Studies

Land Use-Land Cover Change research and applications of remote sensing in environmental science

Sriniketh NagavarapuSri NagavarapuSri Nagavarapu
Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies ,

Environmental and labor economics, primarily in developing countries; linkages between individual decision-making, environmental forces, and poverty alleviation

Christopher NeillChris NeillChris Neill
Director, The Brown-MBL Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences; Director, The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory

Effects of changes in land use and other human activities on the structure of ecosystems and the ways that ecosystems cycle nutrients and organic matter

Jeremy Rich Jeremy RichJeremy Rich
Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry -- especially nitrogen cycling in estuarine and marine environments, molecular techniques to unravel the relationship between microbial diversity and biogeochemical processes

Timmons RobertsTimmons RobertsTimmons Roberts
Professor of Sociology

Climate change equity and adaptation

Dov Sax Dov SaxDov Sax
Director, Center for Environmental Studies 
Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

Biogeography, assisted migration, species movements, climate change and biodiversity

Katherine SmithKate SmithKate Smith
Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Conservation Medicine; Disease Ecology; Biogeography; Global Environmental Change