Product Type: Science Feature
Author(s): Wilson, J.T
Wilson, J.T. 2012. Investigating global change, environmental response, and adaptation: Jill Baron's 30 years as an ecosystem ecologist. Web Feature. http://www.fort.usgs.gov/Baron/Default.asp.
This publication is�available from the USGS Fort Collins Science Center .
Three decades of research, 145 publications (including two books), 15 graduate students, leadership in scientific organizations, invited talks around the world, and two collaborative entities that facilitate scientific synthesis—it’s a lot to pack into one career. But USGS research ecologist and Colorado State University senior scientist Jill Baron isn’t finished yet. Since 1981, Dr. Baron has conducted research on the effects of atmospheric deposition (especially nitrogen deposition) on alpine lakes and surrounding ecosystems in the Loch Vale watershed in Rocky Mountain National Park. The foundation for this research is the Loch Vale long-term ecological research and monitoring program, established by Dr. Baron. While Loch Vale provides a site for in-depth, place-based research, Dr. Baron is also involved in national and international initiatives to convey the effects of reactive nitrogen on ecosystems, identify ways for public land managers to prepare for and adapt to climate change, and address the complex interactions of global changes to mountain ecosystems. She is a founding investigator of the Western Mountain Initiative, a multi-agency group of scientists who conduct research to understand and predict the responses of Western mountain ecosystems to climatic variability and change. As a member of the USGS Science Strategy Team, she helped create and now co-directs the John Wesley Powell Center for Earth System Science Analysis and Synthesis. She talks to scientists worldwide as well as school kids and hiking clubs, and provides interviews to scientific and popular media via print, radio, and film. She seems never to stop. But to her, it’s not just about conducting the science and producing data; it’s also about communicating the findings in a way that inspires action and generates solutions. “Being a scientist is both a privilege and a responsibility,” she says. "Scientific knowledge drives us to seek solutions and promote better stewardship of our natural resources.”