Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Elisabeth K Larson


Elisabeth K Larson's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.6636
Org Code: 618
Mail Code 618
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

I am an urban ecologist by training, currently working as a support scientist in the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Prior to that, I was an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the Terrestrial Ecology Program, Earth Sciences Division, NASA Headquarters.

I have been working in the federal research enterprise for environmental and climate science for more than 10 years, and have disciplinary foci on ecosystem ecology, coupled human-natural systems, social science perspectives on climate change, and remote sensing of the environment. Programmatic areas of expertise include: policy for science program management, coordination and alignment of priorities for directed funding, inter-/transdisciplinary team building, stakeholder engagement, knowledge co-production, and diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility (DEIJA).

There are 3 main activities I am involved with:

  • I am the Coordinator for the North American Carbon Program (NACP), a multi-agency, multidisciplinary scientific research program focused on carbon sources and sinks in North America and its adjacent oceans.

Carbon Cycle Science Interagency Working Group

Social Sciences Coordinating Committee

Coasts Interagency Working Group



Senior Scientist

SSAI - Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

August 2014 - Present

Science & Technology Policy Fellow

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) - NASA Headquarters

September 2012 - August 2014

  • Assisted in program management, including planning and co-chairing peer review panels and recruitment of panelists, preparation of funded research highlights, collaboration with interagency and international entities
  • Ex-officio member of the Science Definition Team for the upcoming ABoVE Field Campaign; aided in recruitment and selection of Team members, especially from the social sciences; assisted in developing the Concise Experiment Plan, the foundational document for future NASA requests for proposals

Research Associate/Lab Manager

University of Washington - Urban Ecology Research Lab College of Built Environments

May 2010 - July 2012

  • Collaborated in conceptual development of urban ecology theoretical advances; mentored graduate students
  • Assisted in grant proposal writing and administrative preparation (10+ proposals)

Adjunct Faculty

Maricopa County Community Colleges - Biology Department Scottsdale Community College

January 2010 - May 2010

  • Taught Environmental Biology for Non-majors. Lecture preparation and delivery, running lab sessions, grading

Research Assistant

School of Life Sciences - Arizona State University

January 2007 - December 2009

  • Sustainable Infrastructure for Energy and Water Supply (SINEWS), with Dr. C Perrings
  • Environmental and Economic Impacts of Material Used in Future Urban Development with Dr. C Perrings


IGERT in Urban Ecology - Arizona State University

August 2005 - December 2009

  • Organized reading groups and seminars, liaised with faculty coordinators, advised on requirements and recruiting

Teaching Assistant

School of Life Sciences - Arizona State University

August 2003 - May 2005

  • TA for Biology for non-majors, undergraduate Ecology

Volunteer Coordinator

Mystic River Watershed Association - Arlington, MA

2001 - 2003

  •  Managed a volunteer water quality monitoring program; reported on results to community stakeholders, science steering committee, area water resource managers

Database Analyst

YouthBuild USA - Somerville, MA

2000 - 2001

  • Administered a custom-built software package for tracking student performance and attendance

Product Manager and Database Analyst

Target Analysis Group - Cambridge, MA

1997 - 2000

  • Fundraising data analysis for non-profit organizations; managed up to 9 employees


2014  Course: Remote Sensing of the Environment, University of Maryland

2010  PhD, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University

2007  Stable Isotopes in Ecology Lecture/Lab Course, University of Utah

2000–02  Courses in environmental & related sciences at Harvard Extension

School, UMass Boston, UMass Amherst, IA State University

1996 BA, History, Haverford College, Haverford, PA

Research Interests

Human Dimensions of Environmental Change

Earth Science: Human Dimensions


Ecological Economics

Earth Science: Human Dimensions


Teaching Experience

2014 - Present Guest lecturer, University of Maryland Baltimore County, "Humans and Ecosystems in the Arctic"

2010 Adjunct Faculty, Biology Department Scottsdale Community College

  • Taught Environmental Biology for Non-majors. Lecture preparation and delivery, running lab sessions, grading

2003 - 2005 Teaching Assistant, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University

  • TA for Biology for non-majors, undergraduate Ecology



2019. "An overview of ABoVE airborne campaign data acquisitions and science opportunities." Environmental Research Letters 14 (8): 080201 [10.1088/1748-9326/ab0d44] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Chapter 11 : Built Environment, Urban Systems, and Cities. Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II." Fourth National Climate Assessment [10.7930/nca4.2018.ch11] [Report]

2014. "A critical knowledge pathway to low-carbon, sustainable futures: Integrated understanding of urbanization, urban areas, and carbon." Earth's Future 2 515 [Full Text] [10.1002/2014EF000258] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Urbanization and the carbon cycle: Current capabilities and research outlook from the natural sciences perspective." Earth's Future 2 473 [Full Text] [10.1002/2014EF000255] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "From global change science to action with social sciences." Nature Climate Change 4 656 [Full Text] [10.1038/nclimate2319] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Beyond Restoration and into Design: Hydrologic Alterations in Aridland Cities." Resilience in Ecology and Urban Design: Linking Theory and Practice for Sustainable Cities 183-210 [Article in Book]

2013. "The value of water-related amenities in an arid city: The case of the Phoenix metropolitan area." Landscape and Urban Planning 109 (1): 44-55 [10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.10.008] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Environmental determinants of unscheduled residential outages in the electrical power distribution of Phoenix, Arizona." Reliability Engineering & System Safety 99 161-171 [10.1016/j.ress.2011.10.011] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Small-scale and extensive hydrogeomorphic modification and water redistribution in a desert city and implications for regional nitrogen removal." Urban Ecosystems 15 (1): 71-85 [10.1007/s11252-011-0208-1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Valuing the resilience of the electrical power infrastructure." Power Systems Conference and Exposition (PSCE), 2011 IEEE/PES 1-3 [10.1109/PSCE.2011.5772485] [Proceedings]

2010. "Ego network properties as a way to reveal conflict in collaboration's clothing." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 4 93-101 [16/j.sbspro.2010.07.486] [Proceedings]

2010. "Spanning Boundaries in an Arizona Watershed Partnership: Information Networks as Tools for Entrenchment or Ties for Collaboration?." Ecology and Society 15 (3): 22 [Full Text] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "Ecosensitive approaches to managing urban aquatic habitats and their integration with urban infrastructure." Aquatic habitats in sustainable urban water management: science, policy and practice 43-70 [Article in Book]

2005. "The paradoxical ecology and management of water in the Phoenix, USA metropolitan area." Journal of Ecohydology and Hydrobiology 5 (4): 287-296 [Journal Article/Letter]