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About Us

Lucinda Johnson

Dr. Lucinda Johnson - NRRI

Associate Director/Initiative Director - Water
Ph.D., Zoology, Michigan State University

Lucinda’s areas of interest include environmental assessment and bioindicators, impacts of climate change, and decision making in the environmental sciences. Research projects include: effects of multiple stressors on aquatic communities; testing indicators of coastal ecosystem integrity; and predicting impacts of climate change on stream communities.

Will Bartsch

Will Bartsch - NRRI

Senior Research Scientist
M.S. Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota

Will’s research focuses on the development and analysis of spatial data to better understand aquatic and terrestrial environments. He is particularly interested in increasing access to spatial data in an effort to both facilitate communication about Minnesota’s natural resources and improve the decisions that impact those resources.

Mae Davenport

Mae Davenport - UMN TC

Professor, Director of Graduate Studies-Natural Resources Science and Management, Director-Center for Changing Landscapes
Ph.D., Natural Resources Science and Management, University of Minnesota

Mae’s research interests center on the human dimensions of natural resource management, specifically sustainable land use planning; community-based ecosystem management; recreation planning; and human beliefs, attitudes and behaviors associated with landscape change.

Dr. David Mulla - UMN TC

W.E. Larson Chair and Professor for Soil & Water Resources
Ph.D. Agronomy, Purdue University

David’s research emphasizes (1) the measurement, modeling, and management of uncertainty and risk for non-point source pollution of surface and groundwater; (2) the characterization and estimation of field-scale variability for precision farming; (3) the evaluation of alternative farm management strategies for improved soil quality and sustainability; and (4) evaluation of policies for soil and water resources.

John DuPlissis - NRRI

Interim Director/Forest and Land
M.S., Forest Resources, University of Minnesota

John leads the Institute’s silviculture research group focused on developing cutting-edge applied forest management research leading to stabilization and expansion of forest-based industry in Minnesota. His research interests include forest growth and yield modeling, carbon credits, forest products industry wood supply, and urban wood utilization.

Dr. George Hudak - NRRI

Initiative Director - Mining, Minerals and Metallurgy
Ph. D., Geology, University of Minnesota

George guides the overall strategic research plan for the Minerals and Metallurgy Initiative, seeking to define our mineral resources and demonstrate the competitive and responsible use of those resources. He is an economic geologist/applied volcanologist with specific expertise in Precambrian volcanic- and structurally-hosted mineral deposits and their associated hydrothermal and mineralizing systems.

Chris Filstrup - NRRI

Applied Limnologist
Ph.D., Biology, Baylor University

Chris is a lake scientist specializing in harmful algal bloom ecology, nutrient cycling in lakes, watershed nutrient reduction strategies, and freshwater resources management. His research interests take him from small farm ponds to Lake Superior. He also specializes in working with large datasets to investigate how climate and land use interactions affect water quality across the continental US.

Cindy Hagley - NRRI

Extension Professor
M.S., Aquatic Ecology/Limnology, University of California - Davis

Cindy’s main interests are Great Lakes coastal environments, water & environmental quality, coastal resources sustainability and use, and Great Lakes literacy. She is an experienced discussion facilitator, administrative and programmatic coordinator, and scientific outreach professional, serving educators and stakeholders

Kris Johnson

Kris Johnson - NRRI

Research Scientist
M.S., Geographic Information Science, University of Minnesota

Kris is the lead developer of mapping applications at NRRI. He also manages and maintains servers and acquires, catalogs, and disseminates spatial data. Additionally, he produces maps and performs spatial data analysis. When time and opportunity allows he likes to bring donuts in for his co-workers.

Kristina Nixon

Kristi Nixon - NRRI

Research Scientist
M.S., Conservation Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kristi is a GIS analyst with an educational background in Conservation Biology and Geography.  She is interested in landscape and community ecology, spatial modeling, and web map development to help inform sustainable natural resources management.

Jane Reed

Jane Reed - NRRI

Web Developer
M.S. Geology, University of Delaware

Jane works with NRRI teams to develop websites and web applications for internal and grant driven projects. Her work includes sitemap and content planning, website design and development, graphics creation, and website text and functionality updates.

Sarah Roth - UMN TC

Research Scientist
M.S., Natural Resource Science and Management, University of Minnesota

Sarah is a social science researcher with a focus on understanding the values, attitudes, and drivers associated with conservation behavior. Her research experiences include working with farmers, forestry and logging professionals, urban communities, and local to state level government staff. She also trains other individuals and organizations in social science research methods.

Jake Galzki - UMN TC

Research Scientist
M.S., Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota

Jake’s research centers around GIS and remote sensing and their applications to help improve soil and water quality and agricultural sustainability. His recent work has focused on targeting best management practices, hydrologic modeling, and analysis of spatial data to inform decision making on natural resource management.

Beth Bernhardt - NRRI

Aquatic Scientist
M.S., Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota Duluth

Beth’s research interests include limnology, water resources management and climate change impacts on aquatic systems of Northern Minnesota. On any given day she may be found collecting water samples from regional lakes and streams, performing chemical analyses in the laboratory, or at a computer wearing her laboratory manager hat, working on spreadsheets and drinking coffee.

Retired or no longer on the Atlas Team

Norm Will

Norm Will - NRRI

Information Technology Professional (Retired)
M.S., Computer Science, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Norm created interactive mapping applications, including the user interface for the Natural Resource Atlas. He managed, maintained, and helped develop websites. He also wrote the programs used to download and store data from remote data acquisition devices deployed by NRRI.

George Host

Dr. George Host - NRRI

Initiative Director - Forest and Land (Retired)
Ph.D., Forest Ecology, Michigan State University

George is a landscape ecologist and was the Director of the Forest and Land Initiative as well as NRRI’s Geographic Information System Laboratory. Areas of expertise include quantification of environmental stressors, spatial analysis, and visualization of complex data for scientific and public audiences.

Rich Axler

Dr. Rich Axler - NRRI

Senior Research Program Manager (Retired)
Ph.D., Ecology/Limnology, University of California - Davis

Rich’s interests are lake and water quality management and restoration, aquatic ecosystem responses to pollutants, nutrient cycling and food web dynamics, web-based, data visualization tools for environmental education, and constructed treatment wetlands.

Paul Meysembourg

Paul Meysembourg - NRRI

Research Scientist (Retired)
B.A., Geography, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Paul’s research interest include the application of Geographic Information Systems to better understand the Great Lakes region.

Elaine Ruzycki

Elaine Ruzycki - NRRI

Senior Research Scientist (Retired)
M.S., Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota

Elaine’s professional interests include lake and stream water quality management and restoration; phytoplankton ecology, algal taxonomy, physiology and community composition. She was co-manager of the NRRI Central Analytical laboratory.

Julie Oreskovich

Julie Oreskovich - NRRI

Research Scientist (Retired)
B.S. Geology/Biology, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

Julie was a Scientist for the Economic Geology Program. In her years with NRRI, Julie’s focus had been in the industrial minerals field, particularly with processing, testing and firing of Minnesota’s clay resources and product development. She has a special interest and extensive experience in bloating clays.

Dean Peterson

Dr. Dean Peterson - NRRI

Senior Research Program Manager (No longer on Atlas Team)
Ph.D., Geology, University of Minnesota

Dean is the Program Manager of the NRRI’s Economic Geology Group. His research interests include magmatic systems, economic geology, geological mapping, Precambrian geology, mineral potential modeling, and three-dimensional modeling of ore systems. Dean has participated in the US government’s Office of Polar Programs studying the enormous Ferrar Magmatic system in Antarctica.

Cai Meijun

Dr. Mei Cai - NRRI

Research Technical Manager (No Longer on Atlas Team)
Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Mei’s research interests include water chemistry, stormwater, climate change, watershed and environmental statistics. Current study focuses on the effects of environmental stressors to aquatic biological communities and highway stormwater treatment.

Vanessa Perry

Vanessa Perry - UMN TC

Graduate Student (No Longer on Atlas Team)
Ph.D., Natural Resource Science and Management, University of Minnesota

Vanessa has a particular interest in applied research that links communities and science to develop best practices for effective management of resources. Her graduate studies focused on individual and community decision making related to natural resource management challenges in both urban and rural areas across Minnesota. She has since graduated.

Jenn Shepard

Jenn Shepard - UMN TC

Research Professional (No Longer on Atlas Team)
M.S., Natural Resource Science and Management, University of Minnesota

Jenn’s natural resources science and management interests include: collaborative management of natural resources, adaptive governance of complex environmental problems, and natural resource conflict management. She has since moved to a new role within the University.