Mamta Mehra, Ph.D. is an environmental professional with expertise in climate change, agriculture, and natural resource management. She has more than ten years experience working in these sectors.
Dr. Mehra joined Project Drawdown in 2015 as a Senior Fellow focusing on Drawdown solutions in the Land Use and Food sectors. She presents Project Drawdown's work at various conferences, creating awareness of climate change solutions. She also serves as an independent consultant to various national and international organisations on climate change issues, and is one of the analysts of the Keeling Curve Prize.
Previously, Dr. Mehra worked in different research capacities for Swiss Aid, UNDP-Australian Aid, and World Bank on projects involving community-based agriculture insurance, capacity-building of civil servants on climate change issues, resource conservation, and diversified farming systems.
Dr. Mehra is very passionate about application-based research and has started working on a restoration project for the revival of the abandoned croplands through agroforestry practices in her native state in India. In the next phase of work she wants to work on the implementation of Drawdown solutions at various scales.
Dr. Mehra has a master's degree in Water Resource Management and Ph.D. in Sustainable Resource Use Management from TERI University, India.
Robin Pelc, Ph.D. is a marine scientist whose interests lie at the intersection of science and policy with a focus on environmental and social sustainability. She has a Masters of Science in Earth Systems from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied the effects of Marine Protected Areas.
Robin is an adjunct faculty member at California State University Monterey Bay, where she teaches marine science and biology service learning and scientific writing. Robin also works on greenhouse gas verification projects and collaborates with leading organizations in the sustainable seafood movement, providing technical writing, data analysis, project management, and scientific review for fisheries sustainability projects.
Prior to starting her position at California State University, Robin was the Fisheries Program Manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program. In this role, she developed the scientific criteria used to assess the sustainability of worldwide fisheries operations, and oversaw the scientific reports that form the basis of the program’s wild seafood purchasing recommendations. She has also conducted field research in Marine Protected Areas in South Africa, worked as a Coastal Resource Manager for the Pacific island nation of Palau, and published an analysis of renewable energy from the ocean for the Environmental Defense Fund.
Melissa Ward, Ph.D. is an ecologist and oceanographer, who studies carbon cycling in coastal habitats and landscapes. Specifically, she studies the ability for natural coastal habitats to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration.
Melissa recently graduated from University of California, Davis with a Ph.D. in marine ecology, where she continues to work as a scientist and a marine science instructor. Her research assesses:
- carbon storage in seagrass and salt marshes sediments (Blue Carbon) across the U.S. West coast, and
- the ability for seagrasses to ameliorate the impacts of ocean acidification through photosynthesis.
This work brings together a network of stakeholders including academics, resource managers, and aquaculturists, each of which are invested in the research as a means to reach sustainable climate solutions. Simultaneously, Melissa is working with policymakers as a consultant to encourage and pass policies that support the protection and restoration of key coastal habitats. Melissa plans to broaden her work on climate solutions through her science fellowship with Project Drawdown and through developing collaborations with the Blue Carbon Lab in Melbourne, Australia.
Emilia Jankowska, Ph.D. is an oceanographer focusing on marine benthic systems and their functioning under human pressures such as habitat disturbances, climate warming, and microplastic pollution. Her expertise includes organic carbon cycle and sinks, benthic biodiversity, and food web reconstruction with the use of trophic markers. Emilia's Ph.D. project evaluated the effects of seagrass recovery on the functioning of the benthic communities. She was a principal investigator of a research project founded by Polish public sector, a member of two COST (European Association of Science and Technology) working groups - 'Development and implementation of a pan-European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System' and 'Seagrass productivity - from genes to ecosystem management.' She also participated in projects funded by the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme evaluating climate warming effects in the European Arctic.
After receiving her Ph.D. she collaborated with NGOs in Malaysia and Indonesia and directly applied conservation practices in mangroves restoration, reducing plastic pollution, and environmental education. For the last year, she worked for the SYSTEMIQ Ltd. in London in a project run together with the PEW Charitable Trust that aimed to develop and provide tools for businesses and policymakers to solve the global marine plastic pollution problem. Emilia led microplastic pollution workstream modeling microplastic pathways and solutions to cut their emissions to the oceans. Currently, she is evolving towards sustainable use of ocean resources.
Emilia received her Ph.D. at the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences and the University of Gent. Emilia is author of 17 peer-reviewed publications (h-index of 6), and has participated in international conferences and science popularization campaigns.