MEDIA RELEASE: World-renowned scientists appointed to support leading edge science-based provincial environmental monitoring system


The Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) is strengthening its scientific capacity with the appointment of six internationally recognized environmental science experts to a Science Advisory Panel that will provide peer review and validate its provincial environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting programs and activities.

The key role of the SAP will be to provide a “science audit” function of the programs and activities delivered by AEMERA. Advice from the SAP will be used to guide continuous improvements in AEMERA’s scientific standards and processes to ensure they are credible and meet or set global best practices.

The six panel members include:

Dr. Jill Baron, Chair – Founder & Co-Director of the John Wesley Powell Centre for Earth System Science Analysis and Synthesis at Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado

Dr. John Giesy – Faculty Member in the Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of the Toxicology Centre and Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Zoology at Michigan State University; and Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Dr. Joanne Nightingale – From the National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom, and a Research Scientist, Sigma Space Corporation Contractor in the Terrestrial Information Systems Branch at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland
London, UK

Dr. Reed Noss – Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor, Davis-Shine Professor of Conservation Biology, and Pegasus Professor in the Department of Biology at University of Central Florida; and President of the Florida Institute for Conservation Science
Orlando, Florida

Dr. Russell Schnell – Deputy Director of the Global Monitoring Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Boulder, Colorado

Dr. Alexander J.B. (Sascha) Zehnder – Founder and director of triple Z Ltd. and former president of the ETH Board and Professor emeritus of ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Visiting Professor and member of the Board of Trustees of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; and Scientific Director of Water Resources of Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions
Zurich, Switzerland

“These scientists are all recognized as leading experts in their individual fields of science and I am pleased that each of them not only accepted our invitation to provide advice to AEMERA, but that they did so enthusiastically and despite the many other commitments and demands on their time,” said Dr. Lorne Taylor, Chair of AEMERA’s Board of Directors. “We are honoured to have these individuals providing their independent oversight to assess and validate the quality of our science against global and leading edge best practices.”

“Attracting the interest and involvement of international scientists of this calibre is a big win for AEMERA and for the province,” said Kyle Fawcett, Alberta Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. “Their role in providing peer review and external validation of AEMERA’s monitoring, evaluation and reporting activities is crucial to establishing a globally recognized, leading edge, science-based monitoring system for our province.”

The appointment of the SAP is a major step forward in establishing the scientific foundation to AEMERA as it prepares to become fully administratively operational on April 1, 2015. AEMERA also recently announced the appointment of Dr. Fred Wrona as its Vice-President and Chief Scientist effective April 7, 2015. The Science Advisory Panel will meet up to two times a year beginning with its first meeting in June 2015. Full biographies and Terms of Reference for the Science Advisory Panel are available at

To complement the SAP, in the Spring of 2015 AEMERA will also be appointing a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Panel to bring similar advice and insight to ensure traditional knowledge is integrated into its science and monitoring programs.

The Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) is an arm’s length provincial agency responsible for measuring, assessing and informing the public on the condition of Alberta’s environment on key ambient air, water, land and biodiversity indicators including information necessary to understand cumulative effects.


For more information, please contact:

Val Mellesmoen
(587) 986-7710