Michele Thieme

Lead Conservation Scientist, Fresh Water

Michele Thieme
Media inquiries: News And Press Page

Michele leads WWF’s work in protecting and building the resiliency of freshwater ecosystems. She brings the latest in conservation science to applied conservation projects, informing our actions in river and lake basins around the world.

Human communities have historically flourished along the banks of rivers and lakes. Clean and abundant fresh water is a pre-requisite for a healthy existence—both for humans and other species. Michele’s efforts help conserve freshwater ecosystems aims to ensure a healthy future for these systems and the life that depends on them.

Long driven by a genuine fascination with nature, Michele also feels an obligation to help save freshwater species. “It’s scary. We are losing the species and ecosystems that are the fabric of the natural world,” she explains. “These species have no advocate. As humans, we have the responsibility to advocate for their well-being and continued existence.”

She was a key contributor to the development of the Freshwater Ecoregions of the World and edited a book on the freshwater ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar.

Michele serves on the following committees: Special Advisor, Conservation, IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group Member, WCPA Freshwater Protected Areas Taskforce.

“It is exciting to be able to work both with scientists in academia and conservation practitioners in WWF offices and partner organizations around the world.”

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Media inquiries: News And Press Page


Lead Conservation Scientist


  • M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology, University of Arizona
  • B.S. in Biology and Spanish, University of Virginia

Areas of Expertise

  • Freshwater spatial planning
  • Freshwater biodiversity
  • Protected areas for freshwater systems
  • Monitoring and evaluation