Dr. Matson is dean of the School of Earth Sciences, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in the Department of Earth System Science, and a Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for Environment. She is an interdisciplinary Earth scientist who works to reconcile the needs of people and the planet in the 21st century. Her research addresses a range of environment and sustainability issues, including sustainability of agricultural systems; vulnerability of particular people and places to climate change; the consequences of tropical deforestation on atmosphere, climate and water systems; and the environmental consequences of global change in the nitrogen and carbon cycles. With multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, managers, and decision makers, she has worked to develop agricultural approaches that reduce environmental impacts while maintaining livelihoods and human wellbeing.
From 1993-1997, she was a professor of ecosystem ecology at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to 1993, she was a research scientist at the NASA/Ames Research Center. She is currently a member of the science advisory committee for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and serves on the National Research Council Board on Sustainable Development, the U.S. National SCOPE Committee, and numerous other committees.
She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1994. In 1995, she was selected as a MacArthur Fellow, and in 1997 she was selected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Matson received a BS in biology from the University of Wisconsin in 1975, a MS in environmental science from Indiana University in 1980, and a PhD in forest ecology from Oregon State University in 1983.