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About GLORIA Great Basin

GLORIA (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments) is an international network and methodology for surveying alpine summits that was developed by a central group in Austria. The objective of this collaboration is to assess global distributional shifts of alpine species in response to climate change using a simple repeat sampling method for comparisons across time and place. In 2004, CIRMOUNT established a North American GLORIA chapter and sponsored the establishment of the first GLORIA sites in North America in the White Mountains of California. Since then, 29 GLORIA summits in 8 target regions have been added in the Great Basin region. We resurvey a rotating number of peaks in each mountain range every 5 years with a focus on collecting presence, abundance, and phenology data of alpine plants. We partner with local citizen scientists, research institutions, federal agencies, and the larger GLORIA community to assess changes in the distribution of alpine floras, as well as changes in other important components of mountain systems.

The international GLORIA program is headquartered at the University of Vienna, Austria, and founded by Georg Grabherr, Professor Emeritus, Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation Ecology and Landscape Ecology. The international headquarters coordinates field projects around the world, including the Multi-Summit Target Regions and GLORIA Master Sites. Standardized methods and assessments are developed and reviewed by the international program, which is overseen by GLORIA Science Director, Harald Pauli, Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation Ecology and Landscape Ecology, University of Vienna, Austria. 


Current and Former Board Members

GLORIA Great Basin, is an organization that exists to support and help fund the GLORIA field work in California and Nevada. Since 2004, a number of agency partners, graduate students, botanists, and alpine enthusiasts have volunteered to help collect data for this collaborative project.

Brian Smithers,

Brian started as a volunteer with the GLORIA project in 2013, and has has been co-directing GLORIA Great Basin operations since 2017. He is Research Assistant Professor at Montana State University where he studies montane ecology.

Meagan Oldfather,

Meagan has been volunteering with the GLORIA project since 2009 and was the GLORIA Great Basin Co-Director from 2017 - 2022. She is a USGS Biologist with the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center.

Jim & Catie Bishop,

Board Members

Jim & Catie have been an essential part of the GLORIA project since the very first California survey in 2004. They are both active in the state CNPS (California Native Plant Society) organization; Jim is our thunderstorm specialist and Catie is one of our alpine botanists.

Jan Nachlinger,

Board Member

Jan is a botanist/plant ecologist and collects vascular plants & bryophytes in the Great Basin, Mojave Desert, and Sierra Nevada. She has volunteered on GLORIA projects since 2009.

Seema Sheth,

Science Director

Seema started volunteering for GLORIA in 2017. She is currently an Assistant Professor in plant evolutionary ecology at North Carolina State University. Much of Seema's research aims to understand how climate change impacts plant species' geographic distributions.  

Mike Koontz,

Mike has been volunteering with the GLORIA project since 2013. He is a Research Scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Lead Scientist for Ecosystem Monitoring and Forecasting at Vibrant Planet. His research uses plant ecology and geospatial data science to better understand how demography and disturbance shape ecosystem resilience.


Mary Burke,

Development Director

Mary has been volunteering with GLORIA since 2013 when she attented a GLORIA workshop in the White Mountains. She is currently the Director of Conservation & Environmental Leadership at the UC Davis Arboretum & Public Garden where she has been for over 25 years working on plant collections and major campus initiatives.

Adelia Barber,

Past Director 

Adelia started as a volunteer with the GLORIA project in 2006, and was the GLORIA Director in California from 2009 to 2016. She has a PhD from UC Santa Cruz in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, having specialized in reproduction and population biology of Great Basin bristlecone pine.

Connie is a research scientist with the US Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, and has been critical to the establishment of GLORIA sites in the western states.


Kaleb Goff,
Treasurer, Field Coordinator

Kaleb has been volunteering with GLORIA since 2021, and has been working as field coordinator since 2022. Kaleb is a PhD student in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at North Carolina State Unversity.

Connie Millar,

Founder of the North American GLORIA Chapter

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