Plenary Speakers

Susanne Moser

In her research and work with local, state and federal government agencies, non-governmental organizations, foundations, private-sector entities and other researchers, Susi focuses on adaptation to climate change, especially in coastal areas, resilience, transformation, decision support, and effective climate change communication in support of social change.

Opening Plenary

Oregon Ballroom
Sunday, August 6, 5:00 – 6:30 PM

Dr. Susanne Moser is Director and Principal Researcher of Susanne Moser Research & Consulting, based in Hadley, MA, a Research Faculty in the Environmental Studies Department of Antioch University New England and an Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at UMass-Amherst.

Dr. Moser is a geographer by training (Ph.D. 1997, Clark University). Previously she served as a Social Science Research Fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, a Research Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, served as staff scientist for climate change for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and has worked for the Heinz Center in Washington, DC.

Susanne Moser is co-editor with Max Boykoff (University of Colorado-Boulder) of a prize-winning edited volume on Successful Adaptation (Routledge, 2013), and with Lisa Dilling (University of Colorado-Boulder) of a groundbreaking anthology on climate change communication, called Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change, published in 2006 by Cambridge University Press. She contributed to the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of Working Group 2 of the IPCC, served as Review Editor for the IPCC Special Report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” and participated in the Scientific Steering Committee for the Special Report on the “Impacts of 1.5°C and Associated Emissions Pathways.” She also was a member of the federal advisory committee on the Third US National Climate Assessment, co-lead that committee’s Engagement and Communication working group, and served as one of the Convening Lead Authors on the assessment’s coastal chapter. Over the past ten years she contributed repeatedly to California’s state-focused climate assessments.

She is a prolific writer, an inspiring speaker and has served on scientific advisory boards for Future Earth, the International Science Council (formerly, International Social Science Council), the International Human Dimensions Program, US National Research Council, and numerous other organizations. Susi is a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership, Kavli Frontiers of Science, Donella Meadows Leadership, Google Science Communication, and Walton Sustainability Solutions Programs.

Dr. Susanne Moser portrait picture.
Susanne Moser

Susanne Moser

  • Ph.D. from Clark University
  • Prolific writer, an inspiring speaker and has served on scientific advisory boards
  • Director and Principal Researcher of Susanne Moser Research & Consulting

Priyanga Amarasekare

Dr. Priyanga Amarasekare is the 2023 Scientific Plenary keynote speaker for the ESA Annual Meeting. She is the recipient of the prestigious ESA Robert H. MacArthur Award that honors an established ecologist in mid-career for meritorious contributions to ecology, in the expectation of continued outstanding ecological research.  

MacArthur Lecture

Oregon Ballroom
Monday, August 7, 8:00 – 10:00 AM
(Scientific Plenary and Awards Session)

Like Robert MacArthur, she has demonstrated exceptional ability in identifying maximally simple, yet not simplistic, models to achieve new insights on important ecological problems. She is able to see patterns or problems in nature and build models that unravel and explain those observations mechanistically and elegantly, and in the context of evolution. Her work combines biological insight with mathematical skills to develop general theory that applies broadly without sacrificing quality and depth. She has built on his legacy to become one of the few ecologists in the world who conducts both theoretical and experimental work. Like MacArthur, Dr. Amarasekare communicates her insights with logic and clarity without compromising rigor.

Dr. Amarasekare is also an outstanding mentor who has inspired generations of young scientists to follow in her footsteps. Her mentoring is not just at the graduate level: since 2007, she has mentored over 32 undergraduates, including REU students. Of these, 21 have conducted honors projects and five students have won the prestigious Whitcome Summer Research Fellowships.

Read the ESA MacArthur Award press release.

Portrait Image of Priyanga Amarasekare
Priyanga Amarasekare
Photo by Kavan Wijeratne

Priyanga Amarasekare

  • Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine
  • Postdoctoral research at the prestigious National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
  • Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.

Yadvinder Malhi

Yadvinder Malhi is Professor of Ecosystem Science at the University of Oxford, Jackson Research Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery. His research has focused on how the biosphere is responding to global change and feeds back on global change, with a particular focus on the tropics.

New Phytologist Foundation Keynote

Oregon Ballroom
Monday, August 7, 10:30-11:30 AM

He has extensive experience of working with partners in the tropics, notably in establishing a global network of intensive forest monitoring plots across tropical ecosystems, in sites ranging from the slopes of the Andes and Amazonia, the forests of Africa and Borneo, the savannas of Africa and the oceanic islands of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

More broadly he works on the challenges of maintaining a flourishing biosphere in the Anthropocene. Recently he has also focused on the challenge of how to generate nature recovery at scale in response to the ongoing decline of biodiversity.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, where he has chaired several of its biodiversity activities, a Trustee of the National History Museum of London, scientific advisor to several governments and President of the British Ecological Society, the world’s oldest ecological society.

Portrait Image of Yadvinder Malhi.
Yadvinder Malhi
Photo by Jake Bryant

Yadvinder Malhi

  • Professor of Ecosystem Science at the University of Oxford
  • Jackson Research Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford
  • Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery

Rod Schoonover

Rod Schoonover is CEO and Founder of the Ecological Futures Group, (non-resident) Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.

Recent Advances Lecture

Ballroom 252
Wednesday, August 9, 12:15 -1:15 PM

In 2022, he was a Resident Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center studying ecological security topics. He served a decade in the U.S. intelligence community as the Director of Environment and Natural Resources at the National Intelligence Council in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and as Senior Scientist and Senior Analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Prior to joining the government as a AAAS Diplomacy Fellow in 2009, he was a tenured Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a Visiting Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Dr. Schoonover earned his PhD in theoretical chemical physics at the University of Michigan, where he studied complex systems.

Portrait image of Dr. Rod Schoonover.
Rod Schoonover
Credit: Erin Fitzgerald

Rod Schoonover

  • U.S. intelligence community as the Director of Environment and Natural Resources
  • AAAS Diplomacy Fellow in 2009
  • Tenured Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo