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Debra Peters

depeters's picture


Phone: 575 646 2777

USDA-ARS-Jornada Experimental Range
Las Cruces, NM  88003


Title & Affiliation(s):

  • Ecologist, USDA-ARS, Jornada Experimental Range
  • Lead Principal Investigator, Jornada Basin LTER
  • Adjunct Faculty, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, New Mexico State University

Primary Research Interests:

  • Global change effects on ecosystem dynamics across spatial scales; boundary and ecotone dynamics; spatially-explicit simulation modeling of ecosystem dynamics; nonlinear spatial and temporal dynamics; catastrophic events; cross-scale interactions
  • 2013 to 2017 - Senior Advisor, Office of the Chief Scientist, USDA, Washington, DC
  • 2003 to present - Lead Principal Investigator, Jornada Basin LTER Project
  • 1998 to present - Rangeland Ecologist, Range Management Research Unit, USDA, ARS, Las Cruces, NM
  • 1994 to 1997 - Research Scientist, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • 1989 to 1993 - Research Associate, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • 1988 to 1989 - Post-Doctoral Associate, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • 1984 to 1987 - Graduate Research Assistant, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO


1988    Ph.D.    Colorado State University, Colorado; Range Science
1983 M.S. San Diego State University, California; Biology
1981 B.S. Iowa State University, Iowa; Biology


Synergistic Activities:

  • Proposal Panelist: NSF Ecology (1994-96); Ecosystems (1998); LTER (2003); EaSM (2010); USDA NRICGP Ecosystems Program (1997)
  • Subject Matter Editor: American Midland Naturalist (1997-1999), Ecological Applications (2000-2003), Ecology and Ecological Monographs (2002-2010), Ecosystems (2005-2010), Oecologia (2007-2010), Editor-in-Chief, Ecosphere journal (2010-present)
  • Advisory and Governing Boards: National Ecological Observatory Network (2008-2010), Ecological Society of America (2009-2010), USGS John Wesley Powell Center (2010-2012)

Leadership Activities:

  • Lead research scientist, USDA ARS, Jornada Experimental Range (2002-2010). Responsibilities include leading synergistic activities and coordinating research among the 11 research scientists based at the Jornada. Responsible for: directing the writing of the 5 year project plan approved by the ARS in 2002 and in 2007, leading research scientists meetings, supervising staff and managing resources, interacting with National Program Leaders (NP205), and completing annual reports.
  • Lead principal investigator, Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Research Project funded by the National Science Foundation (2003- ). Responsibilities include leading and integrating research of 16 research scientists (11 non-ARS), developing and writing the renewal proposal funded in 2006, 2012, 2016, communicating with NSF program officers and PIs from other LTER sites, responding to LTER Network-level requests, and leading NSF site reviews.
  • Lead and co-initiator of the “Trends in Long-Term Ecological Data project” (2004 - ). Responsibilities include leading the development and implementation of the project, and coordinating data and metadata synthesis activities among scientists and technical staff from 26 LTER sites, 9 USFS sites, 8 USDA ARS sites, and one site from the University of Arizona. Provide leadership in promoting local to regional and continental-scale synthesis by providing easily accessible derived data from raw data collected by the sites. Provide leadership in development of two products: a book illustrating the utility of long-term data in addressing within-site and continental-scale scientific questions, and a dynamic web page containing easily accessible derived data and metadata.