Participating Scientists

Dr. Holly Alpert- White Bark Institute

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Holly Alpert currently lives near Boulder, Colorado, and works with the Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management

Holly Alpert lives near Boulder, Colorado and works with the Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management Program, which is based in the eastern Sierra Nevada region of California.  Through this program, she works with communities in the area to ensure that they have reliable and potable water supplies and can adapt to shifting water resources under climate change.  Holly has served on the board of Sierra Classic Theatre and the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and is currently the Board President of the Amargosa Conservancy, a desert conservation organization based in Shoshone, CA.  Holly recently founded a non-profit research organization, the Whitebark Institute, a young organization dedicated to innovative interdisciplinary environmental problem-solving. Holly holds a B.A. in Environmental Science and American Studies from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz. In her spare time, Holly enjoys hiking and skiing the slopes in the Eastern Sierra and Colorado Front Range and recently rafted the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

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Dr. Robin Kodner- Western Washington University

Robin is an alpinist and biologist specializing in the study of microbial communities in the ocean as well as mountain environments. Currently a Professor of Biology at Western Washington University, Robin has been an outdoor educator for over 15 years in the mountains and on sail boats. She uses both the ocean and mountain environments as platforms for teaching basic sciences.  Robin received her PhD in biology from Harvard University. Her postdoctoral work at the University of Washington took her to San Juan Island in the pacific northwest to research algae communities in the marine environment.  
Twenty years rock climbing and passion for ski mountaineering led Robin to expand her research into the alpine realm, studying snow algae communities. Her goal is to collect snow algae from hard to reach places  - using her climbing skills to help us understand and document threaten glacial ecosystems. Her research employs genomic techniques to take snap shot of microbial community structure.  She is using the snow microbiome as a model to understand how communities evolve in respond to climate change.

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Dr. Sylvie Arques – Research Associate & GIS Analyst – Department of Environmental Studies, Western Washington University

Dr. Sylvie Arques received a Ph.D. in Physical Geography from the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble (France) in 2005. Sylvie has extensive experience working in the French Alps where she conducted research on periglacial geomorphology, plant ecology and environmental changes on a variety of coarse clastic landforms (talus slopes, avalanche landforms, moraines landslides and debris flows). She developed an integrated geo-ecological approach at several spatio-temporal scales.

Sylvie is a passionate aviator and holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate as well as a Flight Instructor Certificate. She also flies drones for mapping and wildlife monitoring. She loves observing the Earth from above, understanding weather patterns, and analyzing changes in landscapes and landforms. She is a skier, snowboarder and backcountry skier. She grew up in Africa and traveled all around the world. She is currently working at Western Washington University studying anthropogenic and climate changes in alpine environments.

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.Dr. Liz Balgord-Assistant Professor, Geosciences, Weber State University

I am a geology professor specializing in sedimentology, tectonics, geochronology and low-temperature thermochronology. I use the sedimentary rock record as an archive of past mountain building events. I spent much of the last five years working in the high Andes of central Argentina studying early foreland basin deposits in order to determine the timing of initial mountains uplift.  My lab work involves using geochronology and thermochronology to determine the crystallization and cooling history of minerals which can then be used to estimate uplift and erosion rates. When I’m not in the field or the lab I spend as much time as I can enjoying the Wasatch Mountains via climbing, hiking and trail running.

Dr. Ruth Sofield- Associate Professor, Environmental Studies, Western Washington University

I am most interested in research at the intersection of environmental chemistry and toxicology. My educational background has led me here with degrees and research experiences in biology, environmental science, toxicology, and environmental chemistry. My students and I use both laboratory and field work in our research; the laboratory studies let us answer specific questions in a controlled setting, while the field work is where the application of that work occurs. The majority of our work has focused on the impacts of aquatic chemistry on metal toxicity in aquatic environments.

Dr.Samantha Weintraub - Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Utah

I am a terrestrial biogeochemist and ecosystem ecologist, with a passion for exploring the controls on carbon and nutrient cycling in diverse ecosystems and in response to global change. By combining varied analytical techniques and disciplinary perspectives, my research illuminates feedbacks between physical and biological drivers of ecosystem dynamics, especially in complex and mountainous terrain. I work across scales, from soil pores to watersheds, and utilize tools such as stable isotopes, element abundances and ratios, soil microbial activities, trace gas emissions, remote sensing, and models to explore biogeochemical organization. My dissertation research focused on understanding element cycling and limitation in heterogenous tropical rainforests. As a postdoctoral scholar, I am continuing to pursue tropical ecosystem research while also investigating biogeochemical dynamics and their relation to climate and hydrology in mountains of the semiarid Western US.

Dr. W. Patrick Arnott (Pat) - Professor, University of Nevada Reno

I am a professor in the Atmospheric Science program of the Department of Physics at the University of Nevada Reno, and was a research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno for 13 years prior to 2005.  My main research interests are associated with instrumentation development for atmospheric aerosol and cloud hydrometeor characterization.  Two of my patents have been commercialized with Droplet Measurements Technologies of Boulder CO.  My climber science program interests are about glacier energetics, particularly the roles that aerosol deposited on snow and ice play on determining glacier melting, sublimation, and runoff.  I work with the climber science group to supply and use portable instruments for spectral snow albedo measurements, and for portable meteorological and gas measurements including atmospheric pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide and monoxide concentrations.   It's especially fruitful for me to teach the use of microcontrollers on Arduino and Teensy boards for data acquisition and storage in my instrumentation class, and to use these outcomes in research applications.  Our local snow field, Tahoe Meadows, located near Lake Tahoe California, USA, has been, and continues to be a site where we senior thesis students do snow sampling projects to test new instruments and methods.

Dr. Aaron Celestian - Associate Faculty, Western Kentucky University

Dr. Aaron Celestian is a mineralogist and his research is the molecular-scale characterization of Earth materials to understand their roles in a variety of environments.  By characterizing mineralogical assemblages and possible diagenesis during transport, he hopes to better understand their provenance and environmental/health related impacts.  The primary tools he uses in the course of this research are non-destructive techniques such as X-ray diffraction for bulk mineral identification, Raman microscopy for chemical mapping of minerals, and electron probe studies for determining micro-morphology and elemental composition.

Dr. Michael J. Medler - Professor & Chair: Department of Environmental Studies, Western Washington University

Dr. Michael J. Medler received a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Arizona in 1997.  He has served as chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University and as President of the Association for Fire Ecology.  He was also the founding editor of the Journal Fire Ecology, and he has testified about wildfires and climate before the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Currently, he is teaching at Huxley College of the Environment. He is also the director of the WWU Spatial Institute, which provides local leadership and resources in spatial technologies ranging from Geographic Information Systems to interactive web-mapping. Before graduate school, Dr. Medler worked for a variety of federal agencies on trial-crews and fire-crews as well as working as a ranger.  He also spent time as rock climbing guiding and worked manufacturing aid climbing equipment.  These experiences shaped his interest in using spatial technology to help map and understand both the physical and cultural issues surrounding wildfire as well as other natural processes in the mountains.  He is particularly interested the problems associated with fire in the wildland urban interface and in the mountainous regions of the developing world.

Dr.Javier Naupari -Associate Professor, La Molina University

Dr. Javier Naupari is an Associate Professor in Rangeland Ecology and Management and head of the Rangeland Ecology Lab at the Agricultural State La Molina University. Dr. Naupari, a Fulbright alumnus, received his PhD degree in Natural Resources at the University of Idaho and MS degree in Range Animal Production at La Molina University. In 2012, he received a Fulbright NEXUS award for collaborative research by mid-career professionals. His research area is remote sensing and geographic information systems applied to ecological processes in mountain range ecosystems. He is currently involved in assessing the ecological status and productivity of rangeland ecosystems and the impacts of climate change on livestock production. Dr. Naupari has joint the American Climber Science Program since June 2013 and collaborated in rangeland condition assessment in the Huascaran National Park.

Dr. Bernhard Bach- Director Of Undergraduate Laboratories, University of Nevada Reno

Dr. Bernhard Bach is a physicist and Director of Undergraduate Laboratories at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Dr. Bach spent 15 years in industry and developed two high-tech optics firms before joining the faculty at the University of Nevada. His background is in optical science, spectroscopy and instrumentation; he has served on the NSF’s industrial advisory board for Ultraviolet Science and Engineering.  Dr. Bach has been climbing for 28 years and has established a number of first ascents in the mountains of North and South American as well as Africa.

Dr. Krishna Kumar Shrestha- Professor, Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University Nepal

Dr. Krishna Kumar Shrestha, is a Professor Botany at the Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He has been teaching Plant Systematics, Biodiversity, and Ethnobotany since last 35 years. He has obtained his Ph.D. degree in Plant Systematics from the Komarov Botanical Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia in 1993, and deputed as the Post Doctoral Darwin Fellow at the Natural History Museum, London during 1997-1999.

He is the Founder President of Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal (ESON) since 1997, and General Secretary of Nepal Botanical Society since 2005. He has published five books, 42 research articles in international journals, 30 research articles in national journals, and over 30 popular articles. Similarly, he has coordinated more than 25 research projects on Plant biodiversity, Flora and ethnobotany. Prof. Shrestha is the editorial board member of Flora of Nepal (10 volume series), a collaborative project of Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (UK), University of Tokyo (Japan) and Nepal Academy of Science & Technology (Nepal). He is also the editorial board member of four international and national peer reviewed journals.

Dr. Narcisa Pricope- University of North Carolina

Dr. Narcisa Pricope is a geoscientist working on applied questions at the intersection between land systems science, watershed science, and population geography. Her overarching interest and long-term focus revolve around understanding the vulnerability of different populations to environmental change in the context of transboundary-managed water and natural resources. Narcisa’s research examines the drivers, patterns and impacts of vegetation change and degradation on both ecosystems and people particularly in the spectacular southern and eastern African drylands. Dr. Pricope is currently an Assistant Professor of Applied Geography at University of North Carolina Wilmington where she created and leads the Socio-Environmental Analysis Lab. She is currently the chair of the Human Dimensions of Global Change specialty group of the Association of American Geographers and many other scientific and exploration organizations.

Graduate Students


Janardan Mainali- Fullbright Scholar, University of North Carolina- Wilmington

Janardan Mainali is currently a Fulbright scholar pursuing his graduate studies at department of Geoscience at University of North Carolina Wilmington. He also has  a master's degree in Botany from Tribhuvan University of Nepal. His main interests are in elucidating ecological problems using remote sensing, GIS and quantitative tools. Currently he is investigating how different vegetation types response to current variabilities of climate in Himalayan region. He is also interested in assessing socio-ecological system like spatio-temporal dynamics of climate vulnerabilities and people's adaptation strategies.  Born and raised in foothill of mountain in Nepal, Mr. Mainali is obsessed with hills and mountains. He has hiked to some high Himalayan trails of Nepal like Larke Pass, Annapurna, Everest, Rolwaling etc. In addition to ACSP he is affiliated to Research Solutions Nepal, a Kathmandu based research consultancy and Research and Development Society, a research non-profit from Nepal and expects to enrich Nepal's research capacity with state of art technology and new knowledge for betterment of mountain environment and livelihood of the people.

Kamal Humagain- PhD Student, Texas Tech University

Kamal Humagain is pursuing his doctorate degree in the Department of Natural Resources Management at Texas Tech University. He completed his Master of Science (MSc) in Botany and Master of Arts (MA) in Sociology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He got an opportunity to work with the Fulbright Professor John All in Nepal who became his source of inspiration in the field of GIS and Remote Sensing. As a result, he obtained his Master of Science (MS) in Geosciences along with the Graduate GIS Certificate from Western Kentucky University. He has visited several Alpine regions of Nepal (including Everest, Manaslu, Annapurna, and Langtang regions) for botanical exploration and spatial data collection. His research interests include utilization of spatial techniques (GIS/Remote Sensing) along with field methods in the field of natural resource management. He is currently working on the project in Jemez Mountains, New Mexico to analyze impacts of forest restoration techniques on vegetation using field sampling and spatial techniques.

Jhony Soca Jorge- Agricultural State La Molina University, Lima, Peru

Jhony is a Masters student assessing the impact of grazing on high-elevation grassland communities using a set of cattle grazing exclosures established by ACSP researchers in 2014. His work in ongoing through 2015.

George Livingston Burgess- Western Washington University

George carried out his Master thesis research on the ACSP expedition to the Cordillera Blanca in 2014. He is testing the use of benthic macroinvertebrates as indicators of water quality.

Undergraduate Students

Kyle Swanson, Physics Department, University of Nevada, Reno. Senior Thesis: Snow Albedo Spectral Analysis: A Study to Further Understanding of Snow and Glacier Energetics, 2015.

Amberose Kelley, Western Washington University. Amber participated in the Peru 2014 expedition to the Crodillera Blanca and carried out a project with ACSP to quantify the diversity of arthropod communities in Polylepis forests and adjacent grasslands across an 1500-m elevational gradient. This project is in progress.

Wilmer Sanchez Rodriguez, UNASAM, Huaraz, Peru. Wilmer is completing his senior thesis equivalent with the ACSP by measuring annual deposition of light absorbing particles on glaciers in Huascaran National Park on the Ynapaccha glacier.