Our team


Our staff are a talented, strategic, lively and passionate bunch - adept at multitasking and seizing good opportunities.

Board of directors

Our very active board members contribute their energy, skills, wisdom and strategic guidance to our work and are a major part of the PBI team.

Advisory council

An extraordinary group of skilled specialists gives us inputs on technical, scientific, policy and legal matters.

Our staff


Dr. Phoebe Barnard - Executive Director

Dr. Phoebe Barnard
Executive director

Phoebe is a US-born and raised, internationally known climate change ecologist, conservation biologist, sustainability strategist, and environmental planner. She assumed responsibility for directing PBI from January 2017. Phoebe was earlier lead scientist for climate change and biodiversity futures at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, and before that, national biodiversity coordinator and national climate change coordinator for the Namibian Government.  She speaks and writes widely on conservation biology, climate change, citizen science, sustainability tipping points in society, the global economy, women’s leadership, and African development. She is affiliate professor at University of Washington, Bothell, and research associate at the African Climate and Development Initiative and the Center of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, both at University of Cape Town. She hopes to build upon Peter Morrison’s deep legacy to take PBI to the next level of visibility, strategy, and impact.

Lucila Castro

Lucila Castro
Conservation biologist

Lucila is a conservation biologist based in Argentina who works on our South America Wildlands and Biodiversity Project. Lucila has studied the flamingos of Argentina and conservation issues related to Mar Chiquita, a salty lake in northeastern Córdoba Province.  She joined PBI's staff in 2013 and has gained expertise in biodiversity studies of wildlands, evaluation of conservation priorities and establishment of protected areas. She is currently working on a PhD in conservation biology at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, and manages our PBI Córdoba office.

María Laura Steffolani - Conservation Biologist

María Laura Steffolani 
Conservation biologist

Laura is a biologist and conservation biologist with degrees from the National University of Córdoba (BS) and the University of Salamanca, Spain (MS). She completed an internship with PBI in early 2016 and later joined our staff in our Córdoba office. Laura’s interests are conservation and biological behavior.

Sarah Knudsen

Sarah Knudsen
Director of operations & development

Sarah holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in geography and French from Western Washington University. With the geography program at Huxley College of the Environment, her degree included extensive environmental science study.  Her professional experience includes an internship with the Whatcom Land Trust, and several years in the insurance and risk management realm.

George Wooten - Botanist and Website Developer

George Wooten
Botanist & web developer

George is a multi-faceted botanist and website developer with expertise in many areas of conservation science. George has worked for PBI since 2000 on projects including botanical surveys, ecological assessments and wildfire behavior analysis. He also works with Conservation Northwest and is an adjunct instructor for Wenatchee Valley College, where he teaches botany and ethnobotany.

Heather Conkerton - Conservation Science Intern

Heather Conkerton
Conservation science intern

Heather Conkerton grew up in New Orleans appreciating good food, good music, and a laid-back, friendly culture. Her love of nature and outdoor places, as well as the creatures that reside in them, prompted her to obtain a B.A. in Communications, and an M.S. in Environmental Studies: Conservation Biology. She has traveled and lived widely, and studied many different animal species and habitats. When she’s not spreading the word about the importance of biodiversity, you may find her dancing, biking, exploring new places, or relaxing with a good book.

Keighley Lane - Conservation Science Intern

Keighley Lane
Conservation science intern

Keighley holds a degree in Environmental Science & Policy, with a focus on Environmental Economics, from Smith College in Northampton, MA. Before she joined the PBI team, Keighley worked as a naturalist in Maui and Colorado, in addition to internships at top-tier conservation NGOs such as The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy. Keighley's diverse experience helps her contribute to a variety of PBI's initiatives, including grant-writing, fundraising, citizen science coordinating, and event planning.

Our board of directors


Craig Olson, PhD, President

Craig Olson, PhD

Craig has worked extensively in natural resource inventory and monitoring design and implementation, for state and federal agencies in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California. Craig received his PhD in wildland resource science/ biometrics from UC Berkeley and his MS in Forest Fire Management from the University of Washington. He recently shared his expertise as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mexico, helping with forest and fire management in a program focused on climate change and biodiversity.

Marnee Chua, Vice President

Marnee Chua
Vice president

Marnee Chua is the cofounder of Works Progress, a co-working space in North Seattle, and executive director of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. She has worked with non-profit organizations, educational institutions and start-up boards for over 15 years. As development director for the University of California, Merced, Marnee was the lead fundraiser for student affairs. While serving in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1999, Marnee co-founded the Palawan Conservation Corps, a non-profit focused on livelihood training for out-of-school youth.

Dave Stokes, PhD, Past President

Dave Stokes, PhD
Past president

Dave is an associate professor in environmental science at the University of Washington, Bothell. David received his PhD in zoology from the University of Washington and is an expert in conservation planning, conservation biology, wildlife movement, invasive species and human preferences in conservation. Dave is an excellent teacher and is highly respected by his numerous conservation science and planning students. Dave ensures that Pacific Biodiversity Institute uses the best available science and conservation approaches in our projects.

Jan Hersey, Secretary

Jan Hersey

Jan is a citizen scientist and volunteer with PBI's work in the Salish Sea. A student of our world's interconnected web, she has studied native plants and completed the NC Master Gardeners and Washington State University Beach Watchers programs. Jan holds a BA in English from Skidmore College and has spent her career as a writer of everything from newspaper feature stories to books, videos, corporate marketing and branding materials, and natural resource and environmental education guides and signage.

Hans Smith, Treasurer

Hans Smith 

Hans first joined PBI as an intern in early 2003 and worked with us on our Sonoran Desert ecological assessment. Then he joined our staff, where he worked as a conservation scientist and project manager for nearly six years. Hans is a Habitat Biologist with the Yakama Nation managing salmon recovery projects in the Methow Valley. He has a Bachelor's degree from the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, and is an excellent botanist and biologist, with advanced skills in GIS, web map programming, and project management.

D. Eric Harlow, Board member at large

D. Eric Harlow
Board member at large

Eric joined a two-week PBI expedition to Argentina in 2013, and in 2015 he returned as a PBI volunteer for three months, where he joined several biodiversity expeditions and an international Flamingo Census with PBI’s senior Argentinian biologist, Lucila Castro. Although Eric’s background is in geology and hydrology, he has worked extensively on Spotted Owl conservation, and is a Master Birder. He now works as a consultant on environmental impact assessments, and recently traveled to Timor Leste to work on the environmental compliance, climate change adaptation, and risk reduction aspects of a USAID project.

Our advisory council 

Fernando Barri, PhD

Fernando Barri, PhD
Fernando is a researcher and professor at the National University of Córdoba, in Argentina. He was the director of the nature reserve, Vaquerias, that belongs to the university. He has a Master's degree in Wildlife Management and a PhD in Biological Science. He is now in charge of the project "Actions for the Conservation of the Southern portion of the Great American Chaco" in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Gerardo Ceballos, PhD

Gerardo Ceballos, PhD
Dr. Ceballos is a distinguished researcher in Ecology at the University Autonomous of Mexico (UNAM) and member of the Mexican Academy of Science. Dr. Ceballos's research program is the conservation of species and ecosystems. Throughout his research at the UNAM he has made great effort to link the advances made in basic research with solutions to environmental problems. He is an ecologist and conservationist with numerous books published in Mexico and articles published in the best scientific journals. His work has been honored with multiple awards in different parts of the world.

Enrique J. Derlindati, PhD

Enrique J. Derlindati, PhD
Enrique has extensive experience studying high Andes flamingos and wetlands, and also researches the responses of forest birds to human activities. He received his PhD from the National University of Tucumán, Argentina, and is a professor and researcher at the National University of Salta.

Harold Mooney, PhD

Harold Mooney, PhD
Hal Mooney is a professor emeritus at Stanford University, fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and president of the California Academy of Sciences. He has held national and international leadership roles in biodiversity, invasive species, global warming and Mediterranean climates, setting up worldwide networks like the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP).

Stephen Ralph

Stephen Ralph
Stephen has extensive experience in natural resource management in the Pacific Northwest, focused primarily on the impact of industrial scale forest practices and hydropower development on fish and wildlife habitats. He spent 10 years as the lead salmon ecologist for EPA Region 10, served as an environmental analyst for Seattle City Light's hydropower facilities, was a researcher at the University of Washington, and was the principal habitat biologist for Olympic Peninsula Tribes.

Paula Rivera, PhD

Paula Rivera, PhD
Paula is a researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and professor at the National University of Chilecito, in Argentina. She has extensive experience in the study of reptiles and mammals of the center of Argentina, focusing on biodiversity and conservation.

Bob Rose

Bob Rose
Conservation and stewardship consultant, Bob Rose, has been president of Evergreen Islands, executive director of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, and also helped draft, motivate and implement the Washington Natural Resources Conservation Areas Act. Bob holds a masters in urban planning and natural resource management from the University of Washington. 

Melanie Rowland, Esq.

Melanie Rowland, Esq.
Melanie served as a senior attorney for NOAA's Office of General Counsel , concentrating on Endangered Species Act protection for marine mammals and marine fish. She is co-author of the current edition of the nation's leading wildlife law treatise.