2015 Tahoe Science Conference
September 21-23, 2015
“Tahoe Science in a Changing Climate”

To register for the conference click here.
Early registration ended August 31, 2015.

Conference Program (PDF)

2015 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth J. Austin, WeatherExtreme, Ltd
“Weather is Everywhere: From Specialty Forecasting to Solving Cases Using Forensic Meteorology” (PDF)

MEETING LOCATION: The conference venue is the Joe Crowley Student Union on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.

POSTERS: Posters will be displayed throughout the conference and will be featured during a social session on the evening of September 21 to encourage open discussion between the presenters and conference attendees.

HOTEL ACCOMODATIONS: A block of rooms have been reserved at the Silver Legacy Resort ( for the Tahoe Science Conference. To make reservations call (800) 687-8733 and reserve your room. Be sure to mention our group code: OUIR915 to receive the group room rate of $59.00/night.  Or click here to process the registration online with the group code. 

Other options: There are plenty of lodging options near by. For a non-casino experience, we recommend the Whitney Peak Hotel. They offer a government rate of $95/night. Make sure to book in advance for rate availability.

TRANSPORTATION:  The Silver Legacy offers complimentary shuttle service daily from the Reno Tahoe International Airport every 30 minutes from 5:00am to 12:00am. The RTC Sierra Spirit Bus stops outside of the Silver Legacy every 15 minutes from 7:00am-7:00pm and provides service to the University of Nevada, Reno for $0.25 each way.

PARKING: Complimentary event parking at the University of Nevada, Reno is available at the West Stadium Parking Garage on the east side of Virginia Street, just north of the Lawlor Events Center. Park on the top level and enter the provided event parking code (#9212315) at the kiosk by the elevators for a day use pass each day. It will dispense a parking pass to display on your dash. Click here for the Campus Parking Map.

SPONSORSHIP: Sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit for the online form. Click here for the sponsorship breakdown and mail-in form.

Tahoe Science Conference Program (PDF)

Tahoe Science Poster Session Abstracts



Real-world Applications of Remote Sensing, Data Visualization and GIS – a Workshop on Data, Platforms, and Analysis Techniques for Natural Resource Management Professionals

Remote sensing, from satellite, aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems (drones), provides a wealth of information from which to monitor and assess features on the Earth’s surface. However, use of remote sensing data can be challenging for most natural resource managers. The objective of the Real-world Applications of Remote Sensing, Data Visualization and GIS Workshop is to provide a forum for natural resources professionals looking to enhance their understanding of remote sensing data, data collection platforms and data analysis techniques. The workshop will include lecture formatted presentations of current research that utilizes remote sensing data and technologies, along with helpful information on accessing remote sensing data, using analysis software tools and an overview of different platforms used to collect remote sensing data.

Air Quality in the Tahoe Basin and Sierra Nevada: Implications for People and Ecosystems

At our session the following issues will be discussed: spatial and temporal trends of air pollution distribution; pollution exposure regimes; long-range transport of pollutants; air pollution modeling in complex terrain; impacts of wildland fires on air quality; compliance with the National and California Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS); atmospheric deposition and impacts on terrestrial ecosystems; suggestions for air quality control measures at the local scale of the Lake Tahoe Basin and regional scale of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Focus of this session will be on the recent Tahoe Basin research findings in the context of the larger Sierra Nevada range. After a brief introduction by the Session co-chairs, an overview of key air quality issues in the western United States will be presented by our invited speaker (Prof. Dan Jaffe). It will be followed by 4 talks on distribution and formation of ozone and secondary organic aerosols in the Lake Tahoe Basin (Burley et al., Rayne et al., Preisler et al., Zielinska et al. ). Information on background levels of health and ecologically important inorganic air pollutants collected at high elevation transects across the Sierra Nevada and White Mountains will be presented (Bytnerowicz et al.). It will be followed by discussion of impacts of the 2013 Rim Fire on ambient particulate matter air quality in Sierra Nevada and the state of Nevada (Cisneros et al.). The last talk will present models diagnosing and predicting impacts of the 2013 California wildfires on air quality in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Reno (Mejia and McCord).

Lessons in Paleoclimates from Sierra Nevada to the Great Basin

Understanding historical climate trends, spatial patterns and variability can provide information on the range of potential changes that may occur in the future. This session presents studies from the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin that examine conditions and responses to past climate regimes ranging over time scales from the Pleistocene to the recent Holocene.

Extreme Tahoe—Droughts, Floods and other Natural Experiments

This session will address climatic forces that bring major droughts, storms and floods to the Tahoe basin and Sierra Nevada more generally, along with landscape and societal responses, historically and in the projected climates of the future. We will present recent research about the mechanisms of drought and storm, about meadow and forest responses to droughts, and about societal vulnerabilities in the region to epic winter storms. We will also present some new data systems and sources, specifically tuned to analysis, preparations, and planning for extreme weather and climate events in the Tahoe area.

New Goals, New Science: The Future of Environmental Restoration in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Over the last twenty years of the Environmental Improvement Program, a tremendous amount of work has been done to restore and protect the natural environment. As we move into the future, new priorities and concepts in environmental improvement are beginning to emerge. This interactive session will include a panel of both scientists and managers that will touch on how science has informed management thus far and what new science managers may need going forward. How will new concepts and trends such as the valuation of ecosystem services, the changing economic landscape, and the new direction of the Regional Plan affect our science and management needs? The panel will be looking for feedback from and interaction with the audience on these important questions.

Monitoring for Extremes

Americans are more at risk from natural hazards now than at any other time in our Nation’s history. In the United States each year, natural hazards are the cause of hundreds of deaths and cost tens of billions of dollars in disaster aid, disruption of commerce, and destruction of homes, critical infrastructure and the environment. The stresses of climate change are projected to exacerbate these threats. To improve resilience, actions must be guided by the best information about hazards, risk, and the cost-effectiveness of monitoring and mitigation technologies.  The session will focus on four efforts to provide such information.

Forest Ecology and the Role of Fire

This session will report on new research findings, management applications, and future challenges in managing forest ecosystems in the Lake Tahoe basin for long-term resilience.   The session is organized into two segments:  1) how fire has shaped forests and how to shape forests to be resilient to future change and disturbance; and 2) how to manage forests to maintain native species and communities and the vital role that biodiversity plays in forest resilience.

A Tahoe Without Snow? Predicting and Adapting to Less Snow in the Tahoe Basin

Snow is an important resource for the Lake Tahoe Basin.  It supports streamflow and groundwater, is critical to forest health, and provides significant economic benefit through recreation.  However, meteorological drought and regional warming threaten the area with earlier and smaller snow melts.  This session will explore both the snowpack observations and the consequences of changing precipitation and snowmelt patterns.  In particular, we are interested in better understanding how water availability for people and ecosystems has responded to the recent drought and identify ways to build resiliency into these systems under expected changes in snowpack regimes over the 21st century.

Protecting Lake Tahoe: Aquatic Ecosystem Science Informing Management Decisions

Lake Tahoe is renowned for its pristine cobalt waters and impressive clarity. Protecting this outstanding national resource has been the focus of federal, state and local entities for over half a century. To effectively manage natural and anthropogenic influences, it is imperative that there is a current understanding of the interaction between chemical, physical and ecological processes. Management decisions must be adaptable and updated to include best available science and knowledge. In this session, we will hear some of the latest science on Tahoe’s nearshore, water clarity, and nutrient and sediment conditions. We will then hear how agencies are incorporating new science into management decisions. There will be an opportunity for open discussion at the conclusion of the panel.