Joanna Nelson, PhD
Dr. Joanna Nelson leads LandSea Science by building interdisciplinary teams to create solutions for conservation, heightened resilience, and the well-being of humans and nature. Trained as a scientist in ecology for a changing world, she earned a PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and MS and BS degrees from Stanford University in Earth Systems.
Joanna does award-winning work in sustainability. Chosen as a NatureNet Science Fellow with the Nature Conservancy and Stanford University, her innovative projects include supporting upstream landowners to protect and create the natural and restored ecosystems that provide clean, consistent water supplies in the face of water-scarcity risk. At the coastal margin, she investigates and quantifies how salt marsh buffers the coastal ocean from land-based runoff, including research in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve of California.
Born and raised in California, from Bodega Bay to Monterey Bay, Joanna is deeply connected to the region and dedicated to collaborative environmental solutions. Her expertise expands to US West Coast marine systems, wildfire and glaciology in Alaska, water funds in Latin America, ridge-to-reef connections from timber harvests to coral-reef fisheries in Melanesia, and investments in hydrologic services in South Africa. All of her projects, near and far, reflect an overarching commitment to supporting thriving communities and natural systems from headwaters to the sea.
Joanna’s research has been recognized with the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America. She has recently been invited to speak, teach, or contribute to working groups in California, Fiji, South Africa, and Australia.
Joanna also holds a black belt in Aikido, the martial art of conflict resolution. She likes to surf, bicycle, backcountry ski, and backpack.