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Media Sources Guide

CATEGORY: Environment and ConservationClear

Environment and Conservation: Sub-Categories:

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Alonso Aguirre

Executive Director, Smithsonian- Mason School of Conservation

Expertise: Animal Conservation, Animal Science, Animal Epidemiology, Disease Outbreaks, Animal-to-Human Disease Transmission, Conservation Medicine, Ecology, Global Change

Alonso Aguirre directs the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, based in Front Royal, Va. He is an animal epidemiologist, a veternarian, and conservation activist.

Previously he was senior vice president at EcoHealth Alliance in New York, also holding different appointments at the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Columbia University and Tufts University. After obtaining his D.V.M., he received a M.S. in wildlife ecology and epidemiology and a Ph.D. in wildlife biology and protected areas management from Colorado State University where he served as assistant professor years later. He acted as wildlife epidemiologist for NMFS Protected Species Investigations, heading and pioneering the epidemiology program for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals and sea turtles.

He authored the books Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice and Helminths of Wildlife: A Global Perspective, New Directions in Conservation Medicine: Applied Cases of Ecological Health, and published over 160 professional papers, monographs and scientific reports. He also served as co-editor and now as review editor of the new Springer journal EcoHealth. He also is a co-editor of the Journal of Wildlife Diseases and European Journal of Wildlife Research.

Aguirre is also an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at Mason.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Changwoo Ahn

Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

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Expertise: Wetland Ecology, Environment, Water Quality

Dr. Ahn’s general research interests and experiences include the ecological functions of created wetlands, wetland system ecology, water quality, wetland creation and restoration, nutrient dynamics and ecological modeling. He also has recently begun to apply the techniques of environmental molecular biology in his research to study the linkages between sediment microbial community patterns and nutrient processes in wetlands.

His lab Wetland Ecosystem Laboratory has several main topics of study: wetland creation/restoration techniques, ecological monitoring of mitigation wetlands and microbial community patterns along biogeochemical gradients in constructed wetlands.

Through his postdoctoral work at the Illinois Water Resources Center of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ahn focused on developing a dynamic model to predict vegetation responses to many different scenarios of river hydrology being manipulated for the restoration of Illinois floodplain-river ecosystem. Through this project, Ahn worked with a number of stakeholders, including The Nature Conservancy and National Science Foundation.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Patrick Gillevet

Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy

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Expertise: Molecular Environmental Biology, Bioinformatics, Molecular Evolution, Genomics, Crohn’s Disease, Breast Cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Cirrhosis of the Liver and HIV

Gillevet has been the lead scientist at the Environmental Biocomplexity and Ecology group at George Mason University since 1996. This group focuses on using state-of-the-art molecular techniques to study problems in molecular environmental sciences and genomic evolution. Gillevet is also the director of Mason’s new MicroBiome Analysis Center where he and his team of researchers are studying bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa within the human body. The effect of these organisms on human health will be a major focus of research at the center where investigators will explore microbial imbalances on or within the gut, mouth, respiratory tract and urinary and reproductive systems.

Prior to joining Mason, Gillevet was the technical director of the University of Illinois’ Center for Prokaryotic Genome Analysis from 1988 to 1990 and served as the director of Harvard University’s Harvard Genome Laboratory from 1990 to 1993. He established an integrated fluorescent sequencing facility at the National Center for Human Genome Research from 1993 to 1996. Gillevet holds a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Manitoba. His research interests include molecular environmental biology, molecular evolution, genomics, Crohn’s Disease, and bioinformatics.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Christian Jones

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy

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Expertise: Tidal Freshwater Ecosystems, Stream Ecology, Watershed Management, Chesapeake Bay

Dr. R. Chris Jones, Chair of the Environmental Science and Policy Department is a freshwater ecologist who researches tidal freshwater ecosystems (emphasizing plankton and macrophytes), stream ecology (emphasizing benthic macroinvertebrates), and watershed management.

He is also director of the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC), which uses scientific tools and research to help society understand and sustain natural processes in ecosystems, watersheds, and landscapes of the Potomac River.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Andrew Light

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Policy; Director, Center for Global Ethics

Expertise: Environmental Ethics, Philosophy of Technology, Climate Change

 Light is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. A globally recognized environmental ethicist – specializing in the ethical dimensions of environmental policy, restoration ecology, and, more recently, climate change – he has authored, co-authored and edited 17 books on environmental ethics, philosophy of technology, and aesthetics, including "Environmental Values" (2008) and "Reel Arguments: Film, Philosophy and Social Criticism" (Westview 2003). Light is also co-editor of the journal Ethics, Place, and Environment and serves on the editorial boards of Environmental Ethics, Environmental Values, Ecological Restoration, Philosophical Practice and Theoria. He is currently finishing a book on the ethics of restoration ecology in a changing climate.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Edward Maibach

Professor and Director, Center for Climate Change Communication

Maibach works as a "climate coach" to help organizations such as government agencies and companies communicate their positions on climate change. He is an experienced public health advocate and social change professional. Using social science research methods such as surveys and interviews, his center tries to engage public and policy makers in becoming part of the solution for climate change. Maibach is the author of the book "Designing Health Messages: Approaches from Communication Theory and Public Health Practice," which is widely used by academics and practitioners. He recently published a study that surveyed 133 local health department directors on their perceptions of and preparedness for climate change

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Jagadish Shukla

Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences; Director of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies

Expertise: Climate Change, Weather, Short-Term Climate Variability

Shukla is president of the Institute of Global Environment and Society and the founder of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, a top research center devoted to an improved understanding of climate variability and predictability. He is one of the premier researchers of short-term climate variability and continues to research ways to more accurately predict weather and climate variations in the three-month to one-year range.

Shukla is a lead author and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore.

He received the International Meteorological Organization Prize for 2007 given by the World Meteorological Organization. Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine appointed him a commissioner for climate change, and he is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

He has founded and implanted many weather and climate research centers globally.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

William Sommers

Director, EastFIRE Laboratory

Expertise: forest fires, forest fire management, forest fire prevention, climate sciences, ecosystems, ecological risk assessment, sustainable development

Dr. William Sommers, director of the EastFIRE Laboratory at George Mason University, studies the impacts of climate change on global fire while focusing on wildfires in the eastern U.S.

Sommers is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service and from 1986-2000 served as its director of Forest Fire and Atmospheric Sciences Research. A trained meteorologist, Sommers is an expert on the unique environmental and monetary challenges of wildfire prevention, prediction and management in different regions of the country.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Mark Uhen

Assistant Term Professor, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences

Expertise: Oceanic Science, Environment, Marine Mammals, Geology

Mark Uhen is a geologist and an expert in the evolution of cetaceans and other marine mammals. He looks at changes in the diversity of whale species and how they correlate with the evolution and diversification of diatoms, tiny, abundant algae that live in the ocean. Uhen also looks at the ways that fossil diversity is affected by global changes.

He is interested in how the body size of whales changes over time, and how whales became the largest living organisms in the world.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,