Photo by Matt Cashore, University of Notre Dame

Since the 1990s, I’ve been studying and showing how climate change can cause major ecological disruption, with a focus on endangered species. I always have a butterfly or two that I’m using to understand the relationship between climate change and biology, but my research now includes many aspects climate change science.

For example, I work with land managers, city planners, and other stakeholders to figure out how we should manage natural resources in the face of climate change. I’ve conducted multiple studies on strategies such as managed managed relocation (assisted migration) of certain animal and plant species. In another study, my team and I explored the value of green and cool roofs to mitigate urban heat island effects. I have studied the need for people around the world to adapt to climate change to preserve lives and livelihoods. Most recently, I’ve joined forces with a satellite company and an investment company to create a new venture that detects greenhouse gas emissions and shares that information with stock trackers and the public. 

I also have the good fortune of directing an interdisciplinary “action tank”–the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota–that uses the power of the university to build a future where people and planet can prosper together. As director, I work to fill critical knowledge gaps and build sustainability leaders around renewable energy, climate change adaptation, corporate sustainability and the creation and preservation of natural capital.