Nancy B. Grimm

Arizona State University

Primary Section: 64, Human Environmental Sciences
Secondary Section: 63, Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2019)


Nancy Grimm is the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Ecology and a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist at Arizona State University, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1985 and her M.S. in 1980. Her B.A. is from Hampshire College in Massachusetts. She has been a faculty member in the School of Life Sciences (and its previous incarnations) since 1997, is an affiliate of the School of Sustainability, and has held visiting or adjunct appointments at the Center for Advanced Studies in Blanes, Spain, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the University of New Mexico. She was President and is fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Freshwater Science, and is fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). She has served as an NSF program director, a staff scientist and lead author for the National Climate Assessment, and is currently an editor of AGU's Earth's Future. International and national advisory board service includes the Margalef Prize Selection Committee, the National Research Council's Standing Committees to Advise the US Global Change Research Program and on Hydrological Sciences, and the Advisory Committee for the Australian CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, among many others.

Research Interests

Grimm studies the interaction of climate variation and change, human activities, and ecosystems. Her long-term stream research focuses on how variability in the hydrologic regime affects the structure and processes of desert streams, especially wetland plant distribution, metabolism, nitrogen cycling, and hyporheic processes. Her related research in cities addresses how stormwater infrastructure affects water and material movement across an urban landscape. As the founding director of the interdisciplinary Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER program, she brought together earth, life, and social scientists to develop new frameworks for understanding urban social-ecological-technological systems (SETS). She currently co-directs the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network, for which the SETS framing is central. In that project, she co-produces 'with governmental and non-governmental organizations, academics, and community leaders' positive future visions and strategies to increase urban resilience in the face of extreme events. She leads a new global initiative to bring together networks of researchers and practitioners who are developing nature-based solutions for urban resilience to climate change and extreme events.

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