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Office of the Director

Dr. Benjamin Z. Houlton - Director of the John Muir Institute of the EnvironmentBen-Houlton_Barn

Benjamin Houlton studied chemistry (B.S.) and environmental engineering (M.S.) before receiving his Ph.D. degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. He spent two years working as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Global Ecology, a time in which he also forged collaborations with CSIRO's Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research in Australia.

Currently, a Professor of Global Environmental Studies at the University of California – Davis, Ben holds the distinction of Chancellor's Fellow and was recently appointed Director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment. Ben’s research interests include ecosystem processes, climate change and the growing risks of human alterations to the global carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus cycles.

At the John Muir Institute of the Environment, Ben catalyzes research discovery across more than 300 faculty-experts from all of UC Davis’s colleges and professional schools with the goal of devising innovative solutions to the environmental sustainability challenges of the 21st century. Most recently, Ben has been spearheading the new “OneClimate” initiative, which envisions an interdisciplinary, team-based approach to cut carbon pollution and help people and ecosystems adapt to extreme weather events.

Ben's research has appeared in leading scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Climate Change and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, among many others, and been covered by news media including Scientific American The Christian Science MonitorDiscovery NewsMSNBC/TodayNature, and BBC's "The Naked Scientists". He has appeared as a guest on NPR's "Morning Edition", MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" and local TV and radio shows.

Office: 122D The Barn
Phone: 530-752-2210 Fax: 530-752-1552

Dr. Susan L. Ustin - Associate Director of Research for the John Muir Institute of the Environment

Professor Ustin has more than 35 years of experience working with satellite and airborne earth observing remote sensing programs, including extensive field based methods (spectral signature development, radiance/reflectance calibration, quantifying biophysical condition of targets).

She was a pioneer in the development of environmental applications of imaging spectroscopy data from spectral mixture analysis to leaf radiative transfer models and has worked on a wide range of terrestrial, freshwater, and near-shore aquatic ecosystems, advancing community scale mapping and more recently of species mapping, development of methods for quantifying canopy/soil/water chemistry.

Over the past 25 years, she has served on or led several NASA satellite proposals to fly an imaging spectrometer in space. She has received various awards for her work, most notably being awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Zurich in 2010. She has managed two educational outreach programs, UCD Space Grant (NASA) program for the past 27 and the CalView (USGS AmericaView) program from inception for 13 years.

She has published more than 200 peer reviewed journal articles, 130 scientific proceedings and other publications, 34 book chapters, and edited one volume of the Manual of Remote Sensing, for the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. She is currently finishing a book on leaf optics with Professor Stéphane Jacquemoud at the Paris Diderot University.

Office: 119B The Barn
Phone: 530-752-0621 Fax: 530-752-5262

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