Robert Max Holmes Ph.D.

  • Acting President and Executive Director
  • Senior Scientist
Robert Max Holmes

Dr. Max Holmes’ research has taken him from the Siberian Arctic to the tropical Congo, and a world of places in between. His work focuses on rivers and what water quality measurements can tell us how climate change and other human disturbances impact water and chemical cycles in the environment. He is also interested in the vast quantities of ancient carbon held in Arctic permafrost, which may be released as permafrost thaws, exacerbating global warming. Dr. Holmes directs the Arctic Great Rivers Observatory and the Cape Cod Rivers Observatory, and co-directs the Global Rivers Observatory. He recently co-founded Science on the Fly, an initiative that unites the fly fishing and science communities to study and protect rivers around the world.

Dr. Max Holmes taking water samples from wooden canoe.

Dr. Holmes’ work has been featured in the New York Times and on 60 Minutes. He speaks frequently on climate-related topics, and has appeared at the Aspen Ideas Festival and Mountainfilm. He previously served as the Director of the National Science Foundation’s Arctic System Science Program and in 2015 was named National Fellow of the Explorers Club.

Even when he’s not working, Dr. Holmes is likely to be on the water, boating and fishing with family.

The solutions to climate change should be political, but they should also be non-partisan. We are all passionate about this work, but we are also fiercely independent in our search for solutions.

Selected Publications

Increasing alkalinity export from large Russian Arctic rivers

Drake, T. W., et al. (2018). Environmental Science and Technology.


Increasing river discharge to the Arctic Ocean

Peterson, B. J., et al. (2002). Science.