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Arizona Conservation Science

The Nature Conservancy’s conservation science program in Arizona engages stakeholders and expertise in applied science and policy to develop new information, ideas, and tools that can help solve some of our most pressing challenges affecting people and nature

Our Small Team in Arizona

Marcos Robles
Lead Scientist
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As lead scientist for the Arizona chapter, Marcos leads the development of science that demonstrates impacts of our conservation strategies. Working with science and conservation teams, he identifies key research questions and directions,  implements a compelling scientific agenda, cultivates partnerships with external scientific agencies and academic institutions, and communicates our science work to media, public, private and academic sectors. As a working scientist on the team, Marcos develops science to advance forest climate mitigation and adaptation strategies at landscape to regional scales.

Trained as an ecosystem ecologist, Marcos has worked in conservation science for 20 years. Prior to joining the Conservancy, he worked on regional to national scale projects as a conservation scientist for NatureServe. Marcos obtained his Masters degree in Ecology from Colorado State University, assessing conservation effects on soils in semi-arid grasslands, and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Environmental Science at University of California at Berkeley.

Marcos is located in our Tucson office

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Gita Bodner, PhD
Conservation Ecologist
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Gita’s focus with The Conservancy is on helping land managers identify and fill their biological information needs and tie this information back into decision making. A major part of this work has been partnering with the Bureau of Land Management to design more informative and efficient ecological monitoring for the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area near Tucson, AZ.

Gita got her start as an Ecologist as a child in the woods of northern New Mexico. She has been active in conservation of the Sky Island-Apache Highlands region since 1993, doing teaching, outreach, policy, and science work with several schools and non-profits. Her Ph.D. research on biodiversity and systematics of tropical jumping spiders indulged her love of the little things that run the planet and taught her to make the most of limited data about an unlimited world.

Gita is located in our Tucson Office

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Travis Woolley
Interim Forest Director/Forest Ecologist
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Travis uses an understanding of ecological relationships in forested ecosystems and sampling/monitoring expertise to design and implement science-informed adaptive management and monitoring programs. In a collaborative framework, he also develops and applies a variety of techniques and practices that promote innovation in monitoring, modeling, and the use of science-based information in decision-making.

Trained as a Forest Ecologist, Travis was introduced to monitoring through his time working at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. Here he gained an appreciation for Long Term Ecological Research and the value it can bring to management decisions. Before coming to The Nature Conservancy, Travis worked as a Faculty Research Assistant for The College of Forestry, Oregon State University, designing and implementing research projects examining a variety of forest health issues. Examples of research include snag creation for wildlife habitat, disease environment interactions, old-growth vs. re-growth forest structure, post-fire tree mortality, and bark beetle and fire interactions.

Travis is located in our Flagstaff office.

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Lisa McCauley, PhD
Spatial Scientist
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Lisa serves as the spatial scientist lead on projects the in conservation science program in the AZ Chapter. She uses science-based tools, information and analyses to assist in protecting natural systems and ensuring natural systems adapt to changing land use and climate. Lisa has been with TNC since 2015 and has led multiple studies evaluating the co-benefits of large-scale forest restoration, including carbon and drought mortality under climate change.  She continues to work internally and with partners to advance our forest and climate work at multiple scales. She also manages the spatial data for the wet/dry mapping, including conducting spatial and statistical analyses, and works with our Healthy Cities program on spatial analyses.

Lisa has a PhD in Conservation Biology with experience in spatial and statistical analyses, landscape ecology, GIS, climate modeling, and landscape modeling. Her past projects include studying the effects of agriculture on isolated wetlands loss and hydrology, the effect of urbanization of cypress wetlands, and the effects of climate change on grassland bird distributions.

Lisa is located in our Tucson office

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Jessie Pearl, PhD
Freshwater Scientist
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Jessie provides scientific support to inform freshwater conservation planning, strategies and priorities. Additionally, she develops and pursues scientific investigations that anticipate future changes in climate, hydrology, and ecosystem resilience and demonstrate impacts of conservation practices at regional scale. Ultimately this research is used to catalyze policies, funding, and partnerships.

Jessie’s academic background is in paleoclimate, geochronology, geohydrology, and dendrochronology. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona where her dissertation used tree-ring records to reconstruct climate and extreme events in the northeastern United States. Her postdoctoral work with the US Geological Survey utilized her expertise in dendrochronology and geochronology to more precisely date past earthquake events in Cascadia.

Jessie is located in our Tucson office

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