Joe Mascaro is a tropical ecologist and Director of Academic Programs at Planet, a San Francisco-based aerospace company that operates the largest fleet of Earth-imaging satellites. Joe works with universities and individual investigators to utilize Planet’s unprecedented imaging resources to enhance primary research and education, improve forest monitoring and conservation, expand food security, and promote ecological resilience for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
As an popular science author, Joe has contributed to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Space Review, and Aeon Magazine, exploring wide ranging themes, from human views on nature in the Anthropocene, to the potential infusion of space technology in efforts to increase sustainability.
As a paradigm-changing ecologist and contributor to more than 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts, Joe’s research explored the proliferation of novel ecosystems in the Anthropocene. In Hawaii, he showed that novel ecosystems maintained critical ecosystem properties such as tree species diversity, productivity, and nutrient turnover even after the decline in native species. As part of a community focused on the broader consequences of the Anthropocene, Joe also contributed to the development of a generalized theory of novel ecosystems. In postdoctoral work at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Joe innovated new remote sensing methods to track the loss of carbon from the world’s tropical forests.
Prior to joining Planet, Joe was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in the US Global Development Lab at USAID, supporting worldwide efforts to use science and technology to reduce poverty. Joe is a graduate of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, with a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.