Amber Pairis
Amber Pairis Profile Photo
Dr. Amber Pairis
Associate Research Professor, Climate Adaptation and Literacy Program Lead

Professional Preparation

Dr. Pairis is an experienced science director with a demonstrated history of working in the community. Over the past 15 years her research has focused on endangered and threatened species on islands and island like habitats. She spent considerable time on the Northwest Hawaiian Islands studying Hawaiian Monk seals, sea turtles, seabirds and endemic plants. Her dissertation work brought her home to southern California where she focused on California Gnatcatchers and fire ecology in coastal sage scrub ecosystems. Following completion of her PhD, Pairis pivoted into science policy and application and begun focusing on climate change adaptation and resilience for natural and human communities.

Dr. Pairis believes strongly that her efforts should focus on being of service to the people and communities she works closely with. She sees her role to elevate, support, and promote the vision and priorities of her partners. As evidenced by her extensive network of collaborative partnerships and her projects, her efforts have manifested into numerous community visioned, led, and implemented efforts that seek to advance community resilience in the face of a changing climate. This includes extensive work to support youth to be climate leaders now and in the future through her Climate Kids program at https://www.climatekids.org. In 2019, Dr. Pairis was recognized by KPBS and the National Conflict Resolution Center as San Diego’s Community Hero for Climate Change.


2005 PhD Biology Antioch New England Graduate School, Environmental Studies-Conservation


1996 BA Environmental Studies, Natural History and Wildland Conservation University of California, Santa Cruz


1996 BA Fine Arts-Emphasis Photography University of California, Santa Cruz

Senior Show – Solo Exhibit: Four sisters-the Power of Imagination. Immersive experience utilizing audio, projections, framed images, and hand-made photo books.

Current Project Focus

Over the past 6 years Dr. Pairis has been working collaboratively alongside community partners to build the Climate Science Alliance, a network committed to the development of collaborative conservation and climate adaptation work – both research and application. Her work requires leveraging existing research and catalyzing actions to build a bridge between western and Indigenous perspectives of climate adaptation and natural resource conservation. Her approach employs a model her and her team have developed for boundary-spanning co-production and outreach, demonstrating truly meaningful engagement and collaboration with Indigenous communities and supporting the integration of traditional and cultural perspectives in conservation actions.

Project Websites

Professional Contributions & Awards

  • 2020-current: Steering Committee and Contributing Author-Status of Tribes and Climate Change Report. Overseen by Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
  • 2020-current: Contributing Author-IPCC North America Working Group
  • 2019 KPBS and the National Conflict Resolution Center San Diego Community Hero Award for Climate Change
  • 2017-present: Lead organizer for Bi-annual Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit
  • 2017 Pairis awarded U.S. Department of the Interiors Climate Adaption Leadership Award for Natural Resources
  • Advisory Board Climate Adaptation Fund-Wildlife Conservation Society-Doris Duke Charitable
  • Contributor Translational Ecology Working Group-Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center
  • Appointed by Secretary Jewel to the Federal Advisory Committee for Climate Change and Natural Resource Science representing the interests of state government (2014)
  • Appointed by Governor Brown as the Assistant Secretary for Climate Change, California Natural Resources Agency (2013)
  • Affiliate, NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (2018-2021)
  • Supported launch of the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (2018-2019)

Select Publications

Rojas, Isabel M.; Megan Jennings, Erin Conlisk, Mark De Guzman, Diane Foote, Alicia Konishita, Jack Mikesell, Amber D. Pairis, Sherry Ryan, Emanuel Storey, Doug Stow, Alexandra Syphard, Alexandria Warneke, Krista West, and Rebecca Lewison. (In Prep) Identifying and protecting refugia: Advancing conservation in a changing world.

Magee, C., and A. Pairis. (2021) Manzanita Tribal Resilience Project: Building Climate Resilience for Synaaw and the People. Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Environmental Department and Climate Science Alliance. https://www.climatesciencealliance.org/manzanita-resilience-project

Jasperse, L., and A. Pairis (2020) Climate Change Consortium for Specialty Crops: Southern California Region. California Department of Food and Agriculture, Climate Science Alliance. www.climatesciencealliance.orgresilient-roots-resources

Rob Badger, Nita Winter, Peter Raven, Ileene Anderson, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Kitty Connolly, Jos Gonzles, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Kenna Kuhn, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Margaret Leinen, Gordon Lepig, Amber Pairis, Will Rogers, Erin Schrode, Douglas W. Tallamy, Wendy Tokuda, Susan J. Tweit. Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change. Published 2019 by Winter Badger Press and California Native Plant Society.

Pairis, A. and L. Jasperse. (2019) La Jolla Band of Luiseo Indians Adaptation Plan: Living Document. La Jolla Band of Luiseo Indians Environmental Department and Climate Science Alliance. https://www.climatesciencealliance.org/la-jolla-adaptation-plan

Pairis, A. and A. Warneke. Resilient Roots: Understanding Climate Challenges and Opportunities for Agriculture. Edible San Diego Magazine (July 8, 2020). https://ediblesandiego.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/resilient-roots-understanding-climate-challenges-and-opportunities-agriculture

Jennings, Megan K., Dan Cayan, Julie Kalansky, Amber D. Pairis, Dawn M. Lawson, Alexandra D. Syphard, Udara Abeysekera, Rachel E.S. Clemesha, Alexander Gershunov, Kristen Guirguis, John M. Randall, Eric D. Stein, and Sula Vanderplank. (San Diego State University). 2018. San Diego County ecosystems: ecological impacts of climate change on a biodiversity hotspot. Californias Fourth Climate Change Assessment, California Energy Commission. Publication number: CCCA4-EXT-2018-010

Enquist, C., S. Jackson, G. Garfin, F. Davis, L. Gerber L, J. Littell, J. Tank J, A. Terando, T. Wall, B. Halpern, J. Hiers, T. Morelli, E. McNie, N. Stephenson, M. Williamson, C. Woodhouse, L. Yung, M. Brunson, K. Hall, L. Hallett, D. Lawson, M. Moritz, K. Nydick, A. Pairis, A. Ray, C. Regan, H. Safford, M. Schwartz, M. Shaw. (2017) Foundations of Translational Ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment vol: 15 (10)

Pairis, Amber. (2016) Designing and Implementing Climate Adaptation Strategies. Western Section of the Wildlife Society

Franco, G., L. Bedsworth, and A. Pairis (June 2014). Californias Comprehensive Approach to Climate Change: The Pivotal Role of Research. EM Magazine-Air and Waste Management Association.

Bruce A. Stein, Amanda Staudt, Molly S. Cross, Natalie Dubois, Carolyn Enquist, Roger Griffis, Lara Hansen, Jessica Hellman, Joshua J. Lawler, Eric Nelson, Amber Pairis (2013). Preparing for and Managing Change: Climate Adaptation for Biodiversity and Ecosystems. Frontiers of Ecology

Nancy B. Grimm, F. Stuart Chapin III, Britta Bierwagen, Patrick Gonzalez, Peter M. Groffman, Yiqi Luo, Forrest Melton, Knute Nadelhoffer, Amber Pairis, Peter Raymond, Josh Schimell, and Craig E. Williamson (2013). The Impacts of Climate Change on Ecosystem Structure and Functioning. Frontiers of Ecology.

Pairis, A. (2021). Status of Tribes and Climate Change Report, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ Marks-Marino, D. (Ed.) , Status of Tribes and Climate Change Report: https://sites.google.com/view/stacc2021-itep/about-the-stacc-report

Rojas, I., Jennings, M., Conlisk, E., Syphard, A. D., Mikesell, J., Kinoshita, A., Stow, D., Storey, E., De Guzman, M., Foote, D., Warneke, A., Pairis, A., Ryan, S., Flint, L. E., Flint, A. L., Lewison, R. (2021). A landscape-scale framework to identify refugia from multiple stressors, Conservation Biology, open access, 23