Elisabeth K Larson

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Elisabeth K Larson

  • SUPPORT SCIENTIST
  • 301.614.6636
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 618
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: SCIENCE SYSTEMS AND APPLICATIONS INC
  • 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.

    The majority of my work here at NASA is related to incorporating humans into our understanding of ecological processes. Rather than thinking of humans as external factors that mainly disturb the ecosystem, we recognize that people are internal agents that both drive and respond to changes in the system. Developing this kind of ecological understanding requires an interdisciplinary perspective, including (but not limited to) the fields of urban planning, sociology, economics, anthropology, history, engineering, etc.

    There are 2 main activities I am involved with:
    • NASA's new field campaign: Arctic and Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE).  The high northern latitudes are experiencing some of the fastest rates of climate change of any place in the world. These changes raise numerous questions about the impacts to and responses of coupled social-ecological systems -- from the challenges that coastal villages and subsistence hunters face to the environmental ramifications and economic benefits of potential new resource extraction.
    Social Sciences Coordinating Committee
    Biogeochemical Cycles cluster of the Process Research Coordinating Committee.

    In my research life, I have focused on Designed Ecosystems.

    Current Projects

    Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment

     Climate change in the Arctic and Boreal region is unfolding faster than anywhere else on Earth, resulting in reduced Arctic sea ice, thawing of permafrost soils, decomposition of long- frozen organic matter, widespread changes to lakes, rivers, coastlines, and alterations of ecosystem structure and function. NASA's Terrestrial Ecology Program is in the process of planning a major field campaign, the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), which will take place in Alaska and western Canada during the next 5 to 8 years. ABoVE will seek a better understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems and society to this changing environment.

    Positions/Employment

    8/2014 - Present

    Senior Scientist

    SSAI, Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
    9/2012 - 8/2014

    Science & Technology Policy Fellow

    American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), NASA Headquarters
    • 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
    5/2010 - 7/2012

    Research Associate/Lab Manager

    University of Washington, Urban Ecology Research Lab College of Built Environments
    • Collaborated in conceptual development of urban ecology theoretical advances; mentored graduate students
    • Assisted in grant proposal writing and administrative preparation (10+ proposals)
    1/2010 - 5/2010

    Adjunct Faculty

    Maricopa County Community Colleges, Biology Department Scottsdale Community College
    • Taught Environmental Biology for Non-majors. Lecture preparation and delivery, running lab sessions, grading
    1/2007 - 12/2009

    Research Assistant

    School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
    • 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
    8/2005 - 12/2009

    Fellow

    IGERT in Urban Ecology, Arizona State University
    • Organized reading groups and seminars, liaised with faculty coordinators, advised on requirements and recruiting
    8/2003 - 5/2005

    Teaching Assistant

    School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
    • TA for Biology for non-majors, undergraduate Ecology
    2001 - 2003

    Volunteer Coordinator

    Mystic River Watershed Association, Arlington, MA
    •  Managed a volunteer water quality monitoring program; reported on results to community stakeholders, science steering committee, area water resource managers
    2000 - 2001

    Database Analyst

    YouthBuild USA, Somerville, MA
    • Administered a custom-built software package for tracking student performance and attendance
    1997 - 2000

    Product Manager and Database Analyst

    Target Analysis Group, Cambridge, MA
    • Fundraising data analysis for non-profit organizations; managed up to 9 employees

    Education

    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

     

    Arctic Ecosystems

     

    Biogeochemistry

     

    Ecological Economics

     

    Designed Ecosystems

    Frequently, when people think about the process of urbanization, they focus on the destruction and degradation of whatever types of ecosystems were there before. However, people also create "designed" ecosystems -- purposefully created to fulfill specific needs and desires.

    These novel ecosystems have both intended and unintended ecosystem functioning, and I am particularly interested in examining their biogeochemical, hydrologic, and socio-economic aspects.


    Publications

    Refereed

    Romero-Lankao, P., K. R. Gurney, K. C. Seto, et al. M. Chester, R. M. Duren, S. Hughes, L. R. Hutyra, P. Marcotullio, L. Baker, N. B. Grimm, C. Kennedy, E. Larson, S. Pincetl, D. Runfola, L. Sanchez, G. Shrestha, J. Feddema, A. Sarzynski, J. Sperling, and E. Stokes. 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 (Link)] [10.1002/2014EF000258]

    Hutyra, L. R., R. Duren, K. R. Gurney, et al. N. Grimm, E. A. Kort, E. Larson, and G. Shrestha. 2014. "Urbanization and the carbon cycle: Current capabilities and research outlook from the natural sciences perspective." Earth's Future, 2: 473 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1002/2014EF000255]

    Weaver, C. P., S. Mooney, D. Allen, et al. N. Beller-Simms, T. Fish, A. E. Grambsch, W. Hohenstein, K. Jacobs, M. A. Kenney, M. A. Lane, L. Langner, E. Larson, D. L. McGinnis, R. H. Moss, L. G. Nichols, C. Nierenberg, E. A. Seyller, P. C. Stern, and R. Winthrop. 2014. "From global change science to action with social sciences." Nature Climate Change, 4: 656 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1038/nclimate2319]

    Larson, E. K., S. R. Earl, E. M. Hagen, et al. R. L. Hale, H. E. Hartnett, M. McCrackin, M. McHale, and N. B. Grimm. 2013. "Beyond Restoration and into Design: Hydrologic Alterations in Aridland Cities." Resilience in Ecology and Urban Design: Linking Theory and Practice for Sustainable Cities, Dordrecht: 183-210.

    Larson, E. K., and C. Perrings. 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]

    Larson, E. K., and N. B. Grimm. 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]

    Maliszewski, P., E. K. Larson, and C. Perrings. 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]

    Perrings, C., E. K. Larson, and P. J. Maliszewski. 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]

    Muñoz-Erickson, T. A., B. B. Cutts, E. K. Larson, et al. K. J. Darby, M. Neff, A. Wutich, and B. Bolin. 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 (Link)]

    Cutts, B. B., T. Muñoz-Erickson, K. J. Darby, et al. M. Neff, E. K. Larson, B. Bolin, and A. Wutich. 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]

    Marsalek, J., M. Lafont, D. Rousseau, et al. I. Wagner, E. K. Larson, M. G. Braioni, and E. Day. 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, London: 43-70.

    Larson, E. K., N. B. Grimm, P. Gober, and C. Redman. 2005. "The paradoxical ecology and management of water in the Phoenix, USA metropolitan area." Journal of Ecohydology and Hydrobiology, 5 (4): 287-296.

    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.

    The majority of my work here at NASA is related to incorporating humans into our understanding of ecological processes. Rather than thinking of humans as external factors that mainly disturb the ecosystem, we recognize that people are internal agents that both drive and respond to changes in the system. Developing this kind of ecological understanding requires an interdisciplinary perspective, including (but not limited to) the fields of urban planning, sociology, economics, anthropology, history, engineering, etc.

    There are 2 main activities I am involved with:
    • NASA's new field campaign: Arctic and Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE).  The high northern latitudes are experiencing some of the fastest rates of climate change of any place in the world. These changes raise numerous questions about the impacts to and responses of coupled social-ecological systems -- from the challenges that coastal villages and subsistence hunters face to the environmental ramifications and economic benefits of potential new resource extraction.
    Social Sciences Coordinating Committee
    Biogeochemical Cycles cluster of the Process Research Coordinating Committee.

    In my research life, I have focused on Designed Ecosystems.

    Publications

    Refereed

    Romero-Lankao, P., K. R. Gurney, K. C. Seto, et al. M. Chester, R. M. Duren, S. Hughes, L. R. Hutyra, P. Marcotullio, L. Baker, N. B. Grimm, C. Kennedy, E. Larson, S. Pincetl, D. Runfola, L. Sanchez, G. Shrestha, J. Feddema, A. Sarzynski, J. Sperling, and E. Stokes. 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 (Link)] [10.1002/2014EF000258]

    Hutyra, L. R., R. Duren, K. R. Gurney, et al. N. Grimm, E. A. Kort, E. Larson, and G. Shrestha. 2014. "Urbanization and the carbon cycle: Current capabilities and research outlook from the natural sciences perspective." Earth's Future 2 473 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1002/2014EF000255]

    Weaver, C. P., S. Mooney, D. Allen, et al. N. Beller-Simms, T. Fish, A. E. Grambsch, W. Hohenstein, K. Jacobs, M. A. Kenney, M. A. Lane, L. Langner, E. Larson, D. L. McGinnis, R. H. Moss, L. G. Nichols, C. Nierenberg, E. A. Seyller, P. C. Stern, and R. Winthrop. 2014. "From global change science to action with social sciences." Nature Climate Change 4 656 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1038/nclimate2319]

    Larson, E. K., S. R. Earl, E. M. Hagen, et al. R. L. Hale, H. E. Hartnett, M. McCrackin, M. McHale, and N. B. Grimm. 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

    Larson, E. K., and C. Perrings. 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]

    Larson, E. K., and N. B. Grimm. 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]

    Maliszewski, P., E. K. Larson, and C. Perrings. 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]

    Perrings, C., E. K. Larson, and P. J. Maliszewski. 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]

    Muñoz-Erickson, T. A., B. B. Cutts, E. K. Larson, et al. K. J. Darby, M. Neff, A. Wutich, and B. Bolin. 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 (Link)]

    Cutts, B. B., T. Muñoz-Erickson, K. J. Darby, et al. M. Neff, E. K. Larson, B. Bolin, and A. Wutich. 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]

    Marsalek, J., M. Lafont, D. Rousseau, et al. I. Wagner, E. K. Larson, M. G. Braioni, and E. Day. 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

    Larson, E. K., N. B. Grimm, P. Gober, and C. Redman. 2005. "The paradoxical ecology and management of water in the Phoenix, USA metropolitan area." Journal of Ecohydology and Hydrobiology 5 (4): 287-296

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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