Public Release: 

Carnegie's Greg Asner elected Fellow of American Geophysical Union

Carnegie Institution for Science

Washington, D.C.--Carnegie investigator Greg Asner has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He is one of 60 new members. The honor is given "to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and attained acknowledged eminence in the fields of Earth and space sciences."

Asner was hired as the Department of Global Ecology's first addition in 2001. He has pioneered new methods for investigating tropical deforestation, degradation, ecosystem diversity, invasive species, carbon emissions, climate change, and much more using satellite and airborne instrumentation, coupled with on-ground fieldwork. His innovative techniques measure the chemistry, structure, biomass, and biodiversity of the Earth in unprecedented detail over massive areas not thought possible before. He has developed new technologies for conservation assessments, including tropical forest carbon emissions and stocks, hydrologic function and biodiversity. He leads the one-of-a-kind Carnegie Airborne Observatory-3, CLASLite forest change mapping project, and the spectranomics biodiversity project.

The founding director of the department and cochair of Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Chris Field, remarked, "Greg's research has had an enormous international impact on the science of global ecology and on enhancing conservation efforts, particularly in tropical forests worldwide. He is just the type of gifted researcher that Andrew Carnegie's originally envisioned for this institution for the improvement of humankind."

Asner received his bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in environmental engineering, biogeography, and environmental biology, respectively. In 2006, his research was designated a Science Magazine Breakthrough of the Year. In 2007, Popular Science magazine selected him as one of its Brilliant Ten young scientists. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

In addition to his work at the interface of ecosystems, land use and climate change, Asner is heavily engaged in teaching others to use his technology for tropical forest management and conservation. His research has led to some 450 publications, with dozens more in the pipeline.


The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future. The department is located on the campus of Stanford University, but is an independent research organization funded by the Carnegie Institution. Its scientists conduct basic research on a wide range of large-scale environmental issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, biological invasions, and changes in biodiversity.

The Carnegie Institution for Science has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It is a private, nonprofit organization with six research departments throughout the U.S. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing nearly 60,000 members in 139 countries.

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