LTER Network Office

The LTER Network Office (LNO) serves as a hub for the research synthesis, education, and outreach activities of the LTER Network and a first point of contact for organizations who may want to partner or engage with the Network.

General information about the LTER Network:

Dr. Ben Halpern
Executive Director, LTER Network Office

Marty Downs
Director, LTER Network Office

LTER Executive Board and Science Council:
Dr. Evelyn Gaiser, Chair LTER Science Council

The LTER Network Office is housed at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and shares technical and logistical support personnel with the Center. This arrangement allows the LNO to benefit from NCEAS’ more than 25 years of experience in data science, open science for synthesis, and working group facilitation.

LTER Network Office Leadership

Ben Halpern, Executive Director

Benjamin Halpern

Ben Halpern is currently Director of the UCSB National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barbara.

Dr. Halpern has led and participated in many synthetic research projects that have advanced understanding of the state of the world’s oceans and the potential for marine reserves to improve ocean condition. In particular, he has led the development and mapping of cumulative impact assessments at global and regional scales in marine and freshwater systems and has been the lead scientist for the Ocean Health Index project. He also co-founded the Conservation Aquaculture Research Team (CART). He has also conducted field expeditions in tropical and temperate systems in the Caribbean, Red Sea, Mediterranean, Solomon Islands, Indonesia, various parts of the South Pacific, California, and Chile.

Marty Downs, Director

head shot Marty Downs

Marty Downs manages operations of the LNO and handles synthesis support, partnerships, network coordination, communications, and training. Marty brings more than 15 years of science communications experience as a writer, editor and communications professional in academic, non-profit and government organizations. Research in ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry took her to several LTER sites in her early career, but she has focused on research facilitation since 2007. Marty uses she/her pronouns. | 617-833-7930

Jennifer Caselle, Synthesis Activities and Special Projects

Jenn Caselle

Dr. Jennifer Caselle works with LTER leadership to coordinate LNO synthesis research activities and to evaluate those activities. She is a research biologist at UCSB and PI of the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), with extensive experience in long term ecological research and participation in NCEAS working groups. | 805-893-5144

Angel Chen, LTER Data Analyst

headshot of Angel Chgen

Angel has a Bachelor’s degree in statistics and data science from UC Santa Barbara and recently completed an internship with the Arctic Data Center. With the LTER Network Office, she provides data management and analytical support to synthesis working groups.

Gabriel de la Rosa, Communications Officer

Gabriel De La Rosa runs digital communications for the LTER network, including story development, website management, writing mentorship, and editing. Gabriel found his passion for communication after a varied research career and a Master’s in Environmental Science and Management. Gabe uses he/him pronouns. | 310-600-8347

Nick Lyon, LTER Data Analyst

Nick Lyon supports synthesis groups to make more rapid progress on challenging analytical tasks, aids in the curation and archiving of derived datasets, and helps groups to script their analyses in a way that is documented and repeatable. As a data analyst, Nick builds on tools they learned analyzing data for their Master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Iowa State University and continued to refine while working with the Herbivory Variability Network and as a data science consultant.

Cristina Mancilla, Community Engagement Officer

Cristina is the Community Engagement Officer at both NCEAS and the LTER Network Office. She works closely with the Advancing Public Engagement Across LTERs (APEAL) project team to facilitate co-creation and support project management. Cristina also works on advancing DEIJ in environmental data science, synthesis science, and ecology within and through the projects and research at NCEAS.

Molly Phillips, LTER Inclusion and Access Officer

Molly (she/her/hers) facilitates the design and implementation of strategies to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion across the LTER network. Molly is a biologist by training with a background in evolution, ecology, and natural history, with a variety of past work experiences including natural history collections, state agencies, nonprofits and the U.S. Air Force. Through these experiences she became very passionate about the importance of increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (IDEA) in STEM, and now has eight years’ experience working in IDEA spaces with projects like BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium and iDigBio before joining the LTER team in 2024. 

Molly received her Masters of Biology from the University of Manitoba and a B.Sc. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida.


Applicants and participants in LTER working groups, distributed graduate seminars, and other activities will engage with several NCEAS staff members who also support the LTER Network Office:

Jessica Espinosa, Financial Assistant
Jessica efficiently and cheerfully handles meeting and travel reimbursements.

Ginger Gillquist, Meetings and Events Coordinator
Ginger coordinates meetings, travel, and hotels for the LTER Network Office and NCEAS. She’s your first stop to set up a date for working groups or arrange LNO-funded travel. (Plus, she knows all the best restaurants.) | 805-893-7527

Thomas Hetmank, Programmer/Analyst
Thomas supports NCEAS and LTER working groups with remote participation, networking many other IT issues. Stop by his office for everything from missing power cords to dropped connections. | 805-574-9102

Michelle Morris, NCEAS Business Officer
As the NCEAS Business Officer, Michelle manages all NCEAS administrative functions. When she’s not wrangling budgets and grants, Michelle is a dedicated outrigger canoe paddler. | 805-893-7526

LTER Network Office Mailing address:

LTER Network Office
NCEAS, University of California Santa Barbara
1021 Anacapa Street, 3rd Floor
Santa Barbara, CA 93101