ECI Postdoctoral Associates

ECI Postdoctoral Associates

Avery S. Cohn, Visiting ResearcherAvery CohnAvery Cohn

Ph.D., Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley, 2012
M.E.Sc., Environmental Science, Yale University, 2004
B.S., Environmental and Resource Sciences, UC Davis, 2001

Avery is a visiting researcher working on, “Rates and Drivers of Land Use Land Cover Change in the Agricultural Frontier of Mato Grosso, Brazil”, an ECI project funded by NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems and led by Professors Jack Mustard and Leah VanWey and with ECI Ph.D. student, Stephanie Spera. The project is part of Avery’s broader research interests to develop and assess approaches to achieve climate smart agriculture and land use systems in the humid tropics. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. More information on his research can be found at

Noor Johnson, ECI-Voss Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral ScholarNoor JohnsonNoor Johnson

M.A. Public Anthropology, American University
PhD candidate, Anthropology, McGill University

Noor’s research, which has garnered several prestigious fellowships, focuses on the role of Inuit knowledge in climate change research and governance processes in the Canadian Arctic. In the Arctic, land claims negotiations have led to greater Inuit sovereignty and authority over knowledge production, including the development of new protocols for community involvement. Johnson’s research explores how these practices impact the way that climate change is understood and knowledge is valued in local, regional, and global decision-making contexts. Noor’s postdoctoral project will focus on the integration of community-based research and monitoring into the Sustained Arctic Observing Network (SAON), an emerging infrastructure that will synthesize pan-Arctic environmental data and make it accessible to decision-makers at different levels of governance.

Voss Project:  Community-Based Monitoring and Local and Traditional Knowledge as Components of the Sustained Arctic Observing Network (SAON);
Voss Mentors: Amanda Lynch, Professor of Geological Sciences and Douglas Anderson, Professor of Anthropology

Peter Richards, National Science Foundation SBE Postdoctoral Research FellowPeter RichardsPeter Richards

Ph.D., Geography, Michigan State University
MS., Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University

Peter is currently working on a National Science Foundation project researching the role of capital access and institutions in driving land use changes in the State of Mato Grosso in Brazil.  His past research has focused on the tradeoffs between agricultural growth, development, and environmental change in Brazil and Paraguay, with a particular interest in the Amazon region. His work to date includes research on indirect land use change, on the links between urbanization and agricultural change, studies of migration and the movement of capital and labor resources as drivers of socioeconomic and land use change, and of the environmental impacts of a fluctuating exchange rate.

Rebecca Ryals, ECI-Voss Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral ScholarRebecca RyalsRebecca Ryals

MS Duke University;
Ph.D. Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley

Rebecca recently completed her dissertation in the lab of Dr. Whendee Silver, on the potential for rangeland ecosystems to sequester carbon in soils and vegetation through improved land management. Her Voss project builds on a growing collaboration between Hastings and Tang on nitrogen gas fluxes from terrestrial ecosystems. The team created the first system for simultaneous collection of gas phase concentrations of nitrous oxide (N2O), nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO2) released from soils. Rebecca’s project will expand this collaboration, examining the role of fertilizer management and other forms of agricultural intensification in nitrogen dynamics.  Rebecca also be leading a workshop on environmental impacts of intensified agriculture.

Voss Project: Reducing agricultural greenhouse gases and atmospheric pollutants through nitrogen fertilizer management
Voss Mentors: Meredith Hastings, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences and Jianwu Tang, Assistant Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory

Erika Sudderth, Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar

PhD Harvard University (2007), BA UC San Diego (1999)

Erika Sudderth is a post-doctoral research associate in the Schmitt Lab at Brown University. Her research is focused on understanding how global change influences soil, plant, and ecosystem processes. To predict responses of a particular ecosystem to global change scenarios we must understand complex ecological processes, including 1) the genetic and physiological mechanisms that control environmental responses and species distributions, and 2) the effects of environmental factors on plant interactions with competitors, microbes, and animals. Her research program addresses specific questions within this general framework, with an emphasis on linking plant physiological responses to effects on species interactions, plant communities, and ecosystem function.

Maria (Masha) Tsukernik, Research Associate, Lynch LaboratoryMasha TsukernikMasha Tsukernik

PhD and MA University of Colorado, Boulder

Maria (Masha) Tsukernik is really interested in understanding climate change in the Arctic and the Antarctic. Polar regions are experiencing faster changes then the rest of the world and understanding the underlying physical processes is crucial for enhancing our forecast skills. Combining observational and modeling approaches, Masha investigates the role of synoptic scale disturbances in polar atmosphere. Masha is particularly interested in studying sea ice, because it is really cool! On top of that, sea ice cover in the Arctic has become really vulnerable in the past couple of decades, while the Antarctic sea ice does not exhibit a decline. Understanding the similarities and differences between the two poles keeps Masha really interested in the field of polar climatology.

Siri Veland, Research Associate, Lynch LaboratorySiri VelandSiri Veland

PhD in Human Geography, Macquarie University, Australia 2012
MSc MNRSA, Norwegian University of Life Sciences 2005

Siri explores the challenging interfaces of multiple and divergent values, needs and priorities in decision-making concerning natural resource management, disaster risk reduction and vulnerability assessments. She is very interested in how issues such as emergency management, climate change, or even management itself, can be understood as culturally contingent terms, and how these ideas are mobilized in decision-making processes. Siri has worked with Indigenous collaborators in remote Northern Australia exploring how climatic, social and environmental processes are observed and understood as contextualized in traditional Indigenous knowledge, in the social and physical sciences of global environmental change, and in policy processes. Her graduate work contrasted competing knowledge claims through a resilience analysis of coastal processes in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

John A. ZindaJohn ZindaJohn Zinda

Ph.D., Sociology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013
M.S., Natural Resources, University of Michigan, 2007

John Zinda's research focuses on how incentive-based environmental programs affect rural livelihoods and landscapes in China. As in many other parts of the world, the Chinese government has used compensation and alternative income options to urge farmers to reduce environmental degradation. John’s dissertation examines how tourism employment and conservation practices in protected areas affect rural livelihoods. His postdoctoral project focuses on the Grain for Green Program, the world's largest-scale forest recovery effort, under which rural households receive compensation for planting forests on erosion-prone farmland. John's project will join social survey data with forest observations  to examine how afforestation intersects with varying livelihood patterns and ecological conditions across different communities and how those patterns affect forest cover, composition, and structure. This research will provide insights on social factors affecting conservation program implementation and the biodiversity and functioning of novel ecosystems.

Voss Project:  Parsing the Impacts of China’s Grain for Green Program: Conservation Incentives, Community Livelihoods, and Forest Ecosystems;
Voss Mentors: Leah VanWey, Associate Professor of Sociology and Dov Sax, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

John Zinda's web page