Originally trained in mathematics and art, Dr. Sönke Johnsen has studied camouflage, signaling, and non-human visual modalities for the last decades. He is particularly interested in vision and camouflage in the open ocean and worked on coastal and terrestrial species, magnetoreception, nocturnal illumination, and human cataracts. His research combines mathematical analyses with behavioral and morphological studies and in situ measurements and imaging. His fieldwork primarily involves open-ocean research cruises that use SCUBA and deep-sea submersibles. In addition to exploring the evolution and diversity of the optical and visual tricks that animals perform, Dr. Johnsen is interested in improving communication between theoretical and experimental scientists and between scientists and artists. His research has been presented in numerous magazines, newspapers, and television shows.
A prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science and mathematics education, Bruce Alberts, was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama in 2014 and the 2016 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science. Dr. Alberts served as Editor-in-Chief of Science (2009-2013) and as one of the first three United States Science Envoys (2009-2011). He is now the Chancellor’s Leadership Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned after serving two six-year terms as the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
During his tenure at the NAS, Alberts was instrumental in developing the landmark National Science Education Standards that have been implemented in school systems nationwide. The type of “science as inquiry” teaching we need, says Alberts, emphasizes “logical, hands-on problem solving, and it insists on having evidence for claims that can be confirmed by others. It requires work in cooperative groups, where those with different types of talents can discover them – developing self confidence and an ability to communicate effectively with others.”
Alberts is also noted as one of the original authors of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, a preeminent textbook in the field soon to be in its sixth edition. For the period 2000 to 2009, he served as the co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, a new organization in Amsterdam governed by the presidents of 15 national academies of sciences and established to provide scientific advice to the world.
Committed in his international work to the promotion of the “creativity, openness and tolerance that are inherent to science,” Alberts believes that “scientists all around the world must now band together to help create more rational, scientifically-based societies that find dogmatism intolerable.”
Widely recognized for his work in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, Alberts has earned many honors and awards, including 16 honorary degrees. He currently serves on the advisory boards of more than 25 non-profit institutions, including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Dr. Gordon E. Uno joined the Department of Botany and Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma in 1979 after completing his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California, Berkeley. He was appointed a David Ross Boyd Professor of Botany in 1997 and was the Department’s Chair from 2000-2015. Dr. Uno has authored or co-authored 27 textbooks and supplemental resources including: Principles of Botany; Handbook for Developing Undergraduate Science Courses; Developing Biological Literacy; Biological Science: an Ecological Approach; and Inquiring About Plants. He has been elected President of both a science education organization (National Association of Biology Teachers—NABT), 1995, and a science organization (Botanical Society of America—BSA), 2016. He also served on the Board of Directors for the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) for nine years and was elected an officer of that organization. Dr. Uno was a Program Officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation (NSF), 1998-2000, he became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2000, and he was awarded Honorary Membership by the NABT in 2001. He has taught over 15,000 undergraduates and received one national, two state, and three University-level teaching awards. He has led many faculty development workshops for university and secondary science instructors and received multiple grants from the NSF including three from the Research Coordination Networks in Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) program to study faculty professional development and the introductory biology course. Uno was the Chair and organizer of the first Gordon Research Conference on Undergraduate Biology Education Research (GRC-UBER) and was Chair of the College Board committee (2010-2016) that revised the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology course and wrote the new Biology exams, taken by 250,000 students each year. He has just received funding from the NSF to rewrite the AAAS document, The Liberal Art of Science.
Dr. Mario R. Capecchi is an American molecular geneticist and a co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He shared the prize with Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies. He is currently the Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Born in Italy in 1937, Dr. Capecchi emigrated to the United States after World War II and later became a geneticist and professor. He is famous for the groundbreaking work on targeted gene modification (creating a knockout mouse). This is a mouse, created by genetic engineering and in vitro fertilization, in which a particular gene has been turned off. Capecchi has also pursued a systematic analysis of the mouse Hox gene family. This gene family plays a key role in the control of embryonic development in all multicellular animals. They determine the placement of cellular development in the proper order along the axis of the body from head to toe.
Dr. Mark Mangel is the Distinguished Research Professor of Mathematical Biology and Director of the Center for Stock Assessment Research at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he has served since 1996, and Chair of the Board of Directors of FishWise, a company co-founded by one of his students that uses methods of business to increase sales of sustainably harvested fish. He also holds visiting Professorships at the University of Bergen and the University of Tasmania. From 1980-1996, Mangel was at the University of California Davis. There he was founding Director of the Center for Population Biology (1989-1993).
His awards include the Koopman Paper Prize from the Operations Research Society of America, 1982; JASA Applications Paper from the American Statistical Association, 1983; Joseph Myerhoff Fellowship, Weizmann Institute of Science, 1987; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1987; Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship, Oxford University, 1988; Distinguished Statistical Ecologist, International Association for Ecology, 1998; Mote Eminent Scholar, Florida State University, 2000; Fellow, California Academy of Sciences, 2000; Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2003; UCSC Academic Senate Excellence in Teaching Award, 2003; Astor Lecturer, University of Oxford, 2007; Kaeser Lecturer University of Wisconsin, 2008; Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2009; Kendall Award for the best paper published in The Transactions of the American Fisheries Society in 2009; Lamberson Ecology Trust Lecturer Humboldt State University, 2010; the Distinguished Alumnus Lecture, Institute of Applied Mathematics, University of British Columbia, 2012; and Fellow, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 2013. He jointly shared the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011, shared with colleagues at the Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St. Andrews for “Research and Teaching to Promote Better Governance of the Oceans”.
In summer 2013, Mangel was the Principal Scientific Expert (and the only independent expert of three involved in the case) for Australia in the case in the International Court of Justice “Whaling in the Antarctic: Australia v. Japan. New Zealand Intervening”. Details of that case, including a link to Mangel’s testimony can be found at http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=1&code=&case=148&k=64.
In June 2014, Mangel received Doctor of Science honoris causa from the University of Guelph.
Citation: “This degree is awarded in recognition of your significant academic contributions combining mathematics and statistics with theoretical ecology and evolutionary biology. You have profoundly influenced an entire generation of ecologists, environmental scientists and applied mathematicians on how to solve important practical problems and make the world a better place”.
Mangel has numerous journal publications, about 19,500 citations in Google Scholar, a lifetime h-index of 65 and of 38 for the period since 2010, and books that include Decision and Control in Uncertain Resource Systems (1985, Academic), Dynamic Modeling in Behavioral Ecology (with Colin Clark, 1988, Princeton), The Ecological Detective. Confronting models with data (with Ray Hilborn, 1997, Princeton University Press), Dynamic State Variable Models in Ecology: Methods and Applications (with Colin Clark, 2000, Oxford University Press), and The Theoretical Biologist’s Toolbox. Quantitative Methods for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2006, Cambridge, University Press). He edited Classics of Theoretical Biology (A Special Issue of the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. Part I: Volume 52 Numbers 1,2. Part II: Volume 53, Numbers 1,2), Sex Allocation and Sex Change: Experiments and Models (Lectures on Mathematics in the Life Sciences, Volume 22) and Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Krill (Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57(Supplement 3). He has supervised more than 50 undergraduate research projects, 28 MS and PhD students and 30 post-doctoral colleagues.
His professional service includes editorship of Behavioral Ecology, 1994-1999; member of the editorial boards of Evolutionary Ecology Research (1991-); The American Naturalist (2007-); Oecologia (1998-); member of the Committee of Scientific Advisors of the US Marine Mammal Commission (1990-96); member (1988-1993) and then chair (1990-1993) of the SIAM-AMS Committee on Mathematics in the Life Sciences; twice (1988, 1991) member of the US delegation to the Scientific Committee of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources; member of the Committee of Scientific Advisors to the US Marine Mammal Commission (1990-96); member of the Ecosystem Advisory Panel (1997-2000; NRC appointment); member of the Science Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (1988-2001); member of the Council of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (1999-2002); member of the NOAA Fisheries [Salmon] Recovery Science Review Panel (2004-2010; NRC appointment); and member (2004-2008) and chair (2008-2011) of the Special Committee on Seals, a statutory committee of the British government. (It was for the SCOS work that Mangel shared in the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.)
Dr. Jim Elser is the Regents’ Professor & Parents Association Professor at Arizona State University. His research involves the integrative field of biological stoichiometry, the study of balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in living systems. While this work is primarily ecological in focus and includes studies of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and biota, the approach uses an evolutionary perspective to integrate levels of organization from the molecule and cell to the ecosystem. Specific studies involve observational and experimental studies at various scales, including laboratory cultures, short-term field experiments and sustained whole-ecosystem manipulations. Over the years, field sites have included the Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario, Canada; lakes of the Arctic; lakes, forests, and grasslands of the upper Midwest; desert springs in Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert; and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. In addition, Dr. Elser collaborates extensively with mathematicians in developing quantitative theoretical approaches to these questions. In more recent work he has extended the work to investigate the connections among C:N:P stoichiometry, growth rate, rRNA physiology and genetics, and ecological dynamics in diverse biota and ecosystems and to evaluate the application of these ideas to tumor dynamics. Currently, he is an active member of the ASU’s NASA-funded Astrobiology project “Follow the Elements” and a co-organizer of ASU’s Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative.
Dr. Steven Henikoff is a Member of the Division of Basic Sciences at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
There has been extraordinary progress in molecular biology during the 50-year span that began with the discovery of the DNA double helix and culminated with the nearly complete specification of our genetic inheritance at level of DNA sequence. The bulk of the eukaryotic genome is packaged into nucleosome particles, each of which comprises an octamer with two copies of each of four core histones–H2A, H2B, H3, and H4–which wrap nearly two turns of DNA. Nucleosomes can be differentiated both by numerous post-translational histone modifications and by incorporation of histone variants, which can replace canonical histones to form nucleosomes with special roles and properties. In contrast to our understanding of genomes, the inheritance of differences in gene expression between cells and tissues and how they are mediated by histones and other chromatin proteins is poorly understood. To better understand inheritance that does not depend on DNA sequence, we apply genomic tools to the study of proteins of the epigenome: histones, transcription factors, nucleosome remodelers, and RNA polymerase II (RNAPII).
Dr. David R. Anderson retired from the Colorado State University as Unit Leader on May 2, 2003. He retained his Professorship within the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology and is finishing a number of activities on campus.
Dr. Anderson’s expertise includes: Population dynamics, distance sampling and analysis theory and applications, survival experiments, exploitation theory, analysis and inference methods for bird or banding or fish tagging data, and open population capture-recapture data, information theoretic methods in the analysis of empirical data, formal inference from more than a single model, and philosophy of science.
Dr. Mimi A. R. Koehl is an American marine biologist and Professor at University of California, Berkeley, and head of the Koehl Lab. She graduated from Gettysburg College Magna Cum Laude, with a B.A. in Biology, and Duke University with a Ph.D. in Zoology, where she studied with Steven Wainwright. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington where she studied with Dr. Richard Strathmann, and at University of York, where she studied with Dr. John Currey.
Dr. Koehl studies the physics of how organisms interact with each other and their environments. Her goal is to elucidate basic physical rules that can be applied to different kinds of organisms about how body structure affects mechanical function in nature. She combine techniques from fluid and solid mechanics with those from biology and ecology to do experiments in the field as well as in the laboratory.
Dr. Lacey L. Knowles is the Robert B. Payne Collegiate Professor at University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1999. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona in 1999-2002.
Dr. Knowles’ research focuses on speciation and the processes that initiate or contribute to population divergence, and spans a wide range of temporal and spatial scales that have both ecological and evolutionary implications. She works on a diversity of empirical systems (including insects, mammals, fishes, plants and lizards) in the lab, with student and postdoc research focused on not only empirical applications, but also methodological development in some cases.
One major component of her research focuses on the effect of climate change on species diversity. For much of this work, her lab focuses on integrative approaches to generating hypotheses and testing them using genomic data and a range of analytical approaches. A particular focus in the lab is on developing refined hypotheses to test how species-specific traits influence the effects of climate change on patterns of genomic variation.
Another primary component of research in her lab focuses on phylogenomics and application of genomic data to study the history of diversification. This work ranges from the conceptual and methodological challenges with inferring phylogenetic relationships when the genealogical history of loci differs, to the characterization of the processes structuring genomic variation across species (e.g., the relative contributions of incomplete lineage sorting, lateral gene transfer, and gene duplication and loss). Part of the work also addresses methodological issues with inferring species boundaries, using both genomic and phenotypic data.
Other projects in the lab span a range of topics, including studies to address the role of sexual selection in diversification to studies on how specific traits might mediate dispersal patterns in studies of the biogeographic histories of taxa. As with the other research foci, this work combines both empirical investigations with methodological development and is carried out in a diversity of taxa (e.g., Fijian ants, Caribbean birds and crickets, and montane grasshoppers).
Dr. Brian Barnes is a professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research Interests are:
Physiological ecology and endocrinology of hibernating mammals; biological rhythms and sleep; overwintering biology of animals including insects. He works in field and laboratory settings investigating behavioral and physiological mechanisms by which animals cope with high-latitude winter and summer environments.
Dr. Gary M. King is a professor at Louisiana State University. He is interested in the distribution, diversity and activity of bacteria that either use or impact trace gases in the atmosphere, including methane, hydrogen and carbon monoxide among others. His work ranges from studies of laboratory cultures to understand controls of metabolism to field studies to understand distribution and activity. He uses a wide range of approaches to address basic questions, and have developed a battery of “molecular” tools to complement more traditional cultivation and field assays.
His work includes an emphasis on volcanic systems, e.g., Kilauea volcano, Hawai’i, which facilitates analysis of broader questions, e.g., what determines the patterns of microbial colonization and succession on recent volcanic deposits during succession does diversity increase through random or order assemblages of phylogenetically distinct organisms; what is more important, diversity at higher phylogenetic orders (e.g., phyla within a domain) or at lower orders (e.g., within a phylum).
Dr. Andy Sih is a professor at University of California, Davis. He uses an evolutionary approach to understand behaviors that have important effects on population/community patterns. He focus on bridging inter-related fields that are moving in parallel with surprisingly little across-field integration. All of his projects aim to yield insights for basic science. Several also have explicit implications for applied ecology. To address these goals, he use conceptually-based literature reviews to identify general patterns and issues that are important and yet understudied, and then address these issues using both new theory and empirical work.
Dr. Nancy Knowlton is a coral reef biologist and is the Smithsonian Institution’s Sant Chair for Marine Science. She graduated from Harvard University, and from the University of California, Berkeley, with a PhD. She was a professor at Yale University, then joined the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
She is an adjunct professor of marine biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. While at Scripps, Knowlton also founded the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. She was named an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in 1999 and was elected to the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2008. She also serves as one of three co-chairs for the coral reef Census of Marine Life.
She is the author of the book Citizens of the Sea which was published by National Geographic in 2010 to celebrate the end of the Census of Marine Life.
Dr. Eduardo Groisman is interested in understanding how pathogenic and symbiotic bacteria modulate their gene expression patterns in response to signals detected in host and in abiotic environments, as well as in how bacterial regulatory circuits evolve. Our laboratory investigates the mechanisms by which pathogenic and commensal bacteria modify their gene expression patterns so they can survive and proliferate within host tissues and in abiotic environments. We have focused on the mechanisms utilized by the gastroenteritis- and typhoid fever–causing Salmonella enterica, the bubonic plague agent Yersinia pestis, and the human gut commensal Escherichia coli. Our research program can be divided into three general areas: (1) the signal transduction pathways by which bacteria detect and integrate multiple signals into a cellular response, (2) the molecular mechanisms by which a regulatory protein or signal elicits distinct responses from coregulated targets, and (3) the genetic basis for the phenotypic differences that distinguish closely related bacterial species.
Dr. May Berenbaum has been on the faculty of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1980, serving as head since 1992 and as Swanlund Chair of Entomology since 1996. She is known for elucidating chemical mechanisms underlying interactions between insects and their hostplants, including detoxification of natural and synthetic chemicals, and for applying ecological principles in developing sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities. Her research, supported primarily by NSF and USDA, has produced over 230 refereed scientific publications and 35 book chapters. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she has chaired two National Research Council committees, the Committee on the Future of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture (2000) and the Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America (2007). Devoted to teaching and fostering scientific literacy through formal and informal education, she has authored numerous magazine articles and six books about insects for the general public. She graduated summa cum laude, with a B.S. degree and honors in biology, from Yale University in 1975 and received a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980.
Dr. Stephen R. Palumbi received his Ph.D. from University of Washington in marine ecology. His research group studies the genetics, evolution, conservation, population biology and systematics of a diverse array of marine organisms.
Professor Palumbi’s own research interests are similarly widespread, and he has published on the genetics and evolution of sea urchins, whales, cone snails, corals, sharks, spiders, shrimps, bryozoans, and butterflyfishes. A primary focus is the use of molecular genetic techniques in conservation, including the identification of whale and dolphin products available in commercial markets.
Current conservation work centers on the genetics of marine reserves designed for conservation and fisheries enhancement, with projects in the Philippines, Bahamas and western U.S. coast. In addition, basic work on the molecular evolution of reproductive isolation and its influence on patterns of speciation uses marine model systems such as sea urchins. This work is expanding our view of the evolution of gamete morphology and the genes involved. Steve’s recent book, The Evolution Explosion: How Humans Cause Rapid Evolutionary Change, shows how rapid evolution is central to emerging problems in modern society. In January 2003, Steve appeared in the TV series, The Future is Wild, a computer-animated exploration of the possible courses of evolution in the next few hundred million years. His new book, published in November 2010, The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival, is a good-news environmental story about the difference that ordinary citizens can make in creating diverse, sustainable ecosystems and diverse, sustainable economies.
In 2002, Professor Palumbi moved his laboratory from Harvard University to Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, where he is now the Director of the station. Steve is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, married to physician Mary Roberts, father of two grown children, and founding member of the band Sustainable Sole.
Dr. Julian Edmund Davies is a British microbiologist, professor emeritus, and Principal Investigator of the Davies Lab, at University of British Columbia. He has long been engaged in researching on the biology of small molecules, especially antibiotics, studying their discovery and isolation from a variety of natural sources: bacteria such as streptomycetes, sediments, mushrooms, and from bacteria that inhabit lichens are employed. His interest in antibiotics also includes studies of the roles of antibiotics in nature; are they used as weapons in inter-cellular warfare, or are they signaling agents that help to stabilize the interactions between bacterial communities in different environments? The antibiotic resistance genes in remarkable genetic structures called integrons is another component of his research.
Dr. Daniel Simberloff is a biologist and ecologist who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1969. He is currently Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Tennessee and Editor-in-chief of the journal Biological Invasions.
Simberloff was born in 1942 in Wilson Borough, Pennsylvania, a small town near the Delaware River. As a young child, he collected insects, especially beetles, pinning and preserving them in cigar boxes as early as four years old. In addition to his collection of insects, Simberloff also caught and kept salamanders and musk turtles in a basin in his home. He cites being influenced by his uncle, who was a chemist. Consequently, he received science books and was taken to science lectures throughout his youth. He moved to New York City at age 11. Simberloff recalls really enjoying all school subjects, math in particular, despite the substandard teaching of the large underfunded city schools. He excelled in everything academic.
Simberloff received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1964, and later received his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University in 1969. He wanted to go to grad school for mathematics, but changed his mind after taking a major biology course as an undergrad. This led to his introduction to Edward O. Wilson. Simberloff became Wilson’s grad student, which began his career in ecology.
Simberloff studied and collaborated with E. O. Wilson with many textbooks and experimental studies to assess the theory of island biogeography. This won them the Mercer Award in 1971. He was questioned after his 1976 Science paper, where he contradicted his own theory. He claimed that most of the insect turnover in this assemblage was ephemeral and did not, therefore, confirm the theory. This was interesting in the sense that he was confident enough to question his own theory even after it was widely accepted. Society embraced his island biogeography, and it was used in designing nature reserves. Simberloff questioned the reserves, claiming large reserves aren’t always the best choice and in some cases small reserves might be better. In the early 80’s, Simberloff took on the MacArthurian paradigm of competitively structured communities. He championed the use of null models in community ecology. This changed the face of the field. He caused ecologists to question, “what would happen if one mechanism were removed?” He preached, “rely on the data to tell you how nature operates; don’t simply find the patterns that you’re supposed to find.” He was instrumental in making the presidential Executive order 13112 on invasive species, and he also serves on the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group and the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
Simberloff has served on the Board of Governors of the Nature Conservancy, the federal Invasive Species Advisory Committee, and the editorial boards of Biodiversity and Conservation, Oecologia, Biological Invasions, BioScience and Ecology. Simberloff was a faculty member at Florida State University from 1968-1997 before relocating to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is currently a distinguished professor there in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He directs the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Biological Invasions. His more recent work focuses on the presence of invasive species, and raises the “specter of ‘invasional meltdown’”. At present, Simberloff has a long-term project in Patagonia on the invasion of conifer trees, involving introduced deer, boar, and fungi. Simberloff has a total of over 350 publications, and he is currently working on several papers on invasive biology.
The series of projects on insect communities on small mangrove islands, which started with his doctoral dissertation, was Simberloff’s earliest major contribution to the field of ecology. Simberloff is also recognized for a long series of papers on different statistical analyses of patterns and what they can tell us about underlying ecological mechanisms, especially which species are where, and the different sizes of coexisting species. This includes the work with Tamar Dayan on character displacement and on assembly rules and species combinations with Ed Connor and Michael Collins. This research caused a major shift in how researchers analyze pattern data. Simberloff is currently engaged in a set of ongoing research projects in Patagonia on conifer invasions.
Dr. Mark V. Lomolino is a professor at State University of New York, Syracuse. His research focuses on biogeography, ecology, evolution and conservation biology. I am especially interested in processes influencing the diversity and conservation of endangered species. My research combines empirical and theoretical approaches across a broad range of scales to explore patterns in the geography of nature and to develop effective strategies for conserving biological diversity. I thoroughly enjoy teaching a variety of courses, and advising and interacting with students interested in biology, ecology and conservation biology.
Dr. Brian K. Hall is the George S. Campbell Professor of Biology and University Research Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Professor Hall has researched and extensively written on bone and cartilage formation in developing vertebrate embryos. He is an active participant in the evolutionary developmental biology (EVO-DEVO) debate on the nature and mechanisms of animal body plan formation. Professor Hall has proposed that the neural crest tissue of vertebrates may be viewed as a fourth embryonic germ layer. As such, the neural crest – in Hall’s view – plays a role equivalent to that of the endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm of bilaterian development and is a definitive feature of vertebrates (as hypothesized by Gans and Northcutt ). As such, vertebrates are the only quadroblastic, rather than triploblastic bilaterian animals. In vertebrates the neural crest serves to integrate the somatic division (derived from ectoderm and mesoderm) and visceral division (derived from endoderm and mesoderm) together via a wide range novel vertebrate tissues (bone, cartilage, sympathetic nervous system, etc…).
He has been associated with Dalhousie University since 1968. Since his retirement in 2007, he has been University Research Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Professor of Biology.
Over the course of his career, Hall’s laboratory research has focused on developmental biology and evolutionary biology. His work played a major role in integrating these two fields into the discipline now known as Evolutionary Developmental Biology (evo-devo). He and his students, according to one source, “pioneered an epigenetic view of bone differentiation and of vertebrate development in general, and highlighted the importance of epigenetic tissue interactions in vertebrate evolution.” His 1975 paper “Evolutionary consequences of skeletal differentiation” (American Zoologist) marked the beginning of “the process of building a bridge between evolutionary and developmental biology from the developmental biology side.” His 1992 textbook Evolutionary Developmental Biology is widely viewed as definitive. “This work defines a field, which, in turn, has revitalized the study of evolution,” writes one source.
Hall is particularly interested in the vertebrate neural crest and in skeletal tissues that arise from neural crest cells.
He has also written extensively about the history of evolutionary biology and about leading figures in the field. “Hall’s understanding of the intellectual roots of his discipline,” one source observes, “deepens his perspective on current theoretical issues and colors much of his writing.”
Hall has spent his career in the Biology Department of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he was hired as an assistant professor in 1968. He was made full professor in 1975, was Chair of the department from 1978 to 1985, was Izaak Walton Killam Research Professor from 1990 to 1995, was Faculty of Science Killam Professor of Biology from 1996 to 2001, George S. Campbell Professor of Biology from 2001 to 2007, and University Research Professor from 2002 to 2007.
He was also Canada Council for the Arts Killiam Research Fellow from 2003 to 2005. Since 2007, he has been University Research Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Professor of Biology.
In 2008 he was appointed Visiting Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Hall received the first D.Sc. in Biological Sciences from The University of New England in 1978.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) in 1985, won the Fry Medal from the Canadian Society of Zoologists in 1994, won the International Craniofacial Biology Distinguished Scientist Award in 1996, and won the Alexander Kowalevsky Medal and honorary membership in the Saint-Petersburg Society of Naturalists in 2001.
He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2002, won an NSERC Award of Excellence in Research in 2002, won a Canada Council for the Arts Killam Research Fellowship for 2003-2005, was named an honorary member of The Golden Key International Honour Society in 2003, and won the $100,000 Killam Prize in Neural Sciences from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2005.
The “Hall Award” was established by the Canadian Society of Zoologists in 2006 for the best student platform paper presented in the Comparative Morphology and Development Division at the Society annual meeting.
He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D) degree by the University of Calgary in June 2014.
Dr. David Tilman is an American ecologist. He is Regents Professor and McKnight Presidential Chair in Ecology at the University of Minnesota, as well as an instructor in Conservation Biology; Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; and Microbial Ecology. He is director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve long-term ecological research station. Tilman is also a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the National Academy of Science. In 2000 Tilman was designated the Most Highly Cited Environmental Scientist of the Decade by Essential Science Indicators.
In 2014, he received the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology category, for scientifically establishing the value of biodiversity, quantifying, for the first time, how it contributes to make ecosystems more productive, more resilient to invasions, and more stable in the face of perturbations such as drought.
Dr. Tilman is best known for his work on the role of resource competition in community structure and on the role of biodiversity in ecosystem functioning. One of his most cited articles is the 1994 Nature article titled “Biodiversity and stability in grasslands” which provided data regarding an experiment that began in 1982 with more than 200 plots in a grassland field in the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in Minnesota. Each of these plots was continuously monitored for 20 years for factors such as species richness and biomass created by the community. Tilman’s article looked at data both prior to and following a drought on the grassland plots in 1988, which provided surprising results. The drought provided substantial disturbance and the biomass data showed a strong positive correlation between the plant diversity within the community and the stability of the community as a whole supporting the diversity-stability hypothesis.
“The level to which the soil solution concentration of a limiting resource is reduced by an equilibrial monoculture of a species is called R*. R* is the resource concentration a species requires for it to be able to persist in a habitat. A comparable concept, that of threshold density, exists for host-microparasite inter-actions. The species with the lowest R* for a limiting soil resource is predicted to be the superior competitor for that resource.”
With regards to succession he focuses on resource ratios, particularly between light and nitrogen. After a big disturbance, the pattern of succession is from high light/low nitrogen towards high nitrogen/low light environment.
Another article by Tilman that has received substantial citation is his 1994 Ecology article that encompasses the idea that large numbers of species can coexist in a small habitat even when they require the same limiting nutrient (such as nitrogen), as long as there is a tradeoff between the species. Basically it means that they can coexist because species that are good competitors are not as good at colonizing or reproducing. In a related paper, Tilman used this model to demonstrate the phenomenon of “extinction debt,” which refers to the time delay between habitat destruction and the extinction of species.
Dr. Michael Donoghue is the Sterling Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is interested in using knowledge of plant phylogeny to understand morphological character evolution, diversification, and historical biogeography. Several current projects are focused on elucidating the evolution of Viburnum and its movements among continents and forest communities.
Dr. Bruce Levin is the Samuel C. Dobbs Professor at Emory University. His research includes mathematical and computer simulation modeling and in vitro and laboratory animal experiments on the population and evolutionary biology of bacteria and their viruses and accessory genetic elements. In addition to investigations addressing precious academic ecological and evolutionary questions, like the evolution of sex, self-killing toxins and cannibalism in bacteria, our research also includes the application of population dynamic and evolutionary theory and experiments to health-related problems. Among the latter are studies of the ecology and epidemiology of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, antimicrobial chemotherapy and the evolution of resistance, the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of antibiotics and the within-host population and evolutionary dynamics of bacterial infections and their treatment with antibiotics.
Dr. John N. Thompson is professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before that, he was the Meyer Distinguished Professor at the Washington State Univ. His research is devoted to developing a robust framework for the science of coevolutionary biology, and attempting to understand how the process of coevolution contributes to the organization of the earth’s biodiversity.
Dr. Gene David Block is an American biologist, academic, inventor, and chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles. His area of scientific expertise is biological clocks. His research has focused on the neurobiology of circadian rhythms, specifically the neural mechanisms by which organisms adjust sleep and wakefulness to the day and night cycle. Most recently, he has examined the effects of aging on the biological clock.
From 1991 to 2002, he directed the National Science Foundation’s Science and Technology Center in Biological Timing, which was based at the University of Virginia. The center’s research led to a breakthrough in the understanding of the molecular and neural mechanisms involved in biological timing. Through the work of the center, the University of Virginia became a world leader in circadian biology research.
Chancellor Block has published more than 100 scientific papers, chapters and reviews, and has organized more than 30 scientific meetings. He has served on scientific advisory boards at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, University of Maryland and University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
He has invented a number of medical devices and holds a patent for a non-contact respiratory monitor for the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Chancellor Block is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was a visiting fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. In April 2010, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Block was born in Monticello, New York, the grandson of Eastern European immigrants. His father and uncle owned Mountain Dairies, a retail/wholesale distributor that served many of the hotels and camps that populated the Catskill region of New York. During high school summers he worked at the dairy as a truck driver, starting his days at 4am for early morning deliveries to summer camps and hotels. He also played piano in a trio that provided dance music for Saturday evening parties at several bungalow colonies within the “Borscht Belt”. His hobbies included electronics and shortwave radio. He played varsity tennis at Monticello High School.
Block received the BA from Stanford University in 1970, followed by the MS and PhD in 1972 and 1975, respectively, from the University of Oregon; all of these degrees were in psychology. From 1975-1978, he returned to Stanford for postdoctoral work with Donald Kennedy, who later became president of Stanford, and Colin Pittendrigh, who is known as the “father of biological timing.” During this time Block studied how voluntary movements inhibit sensory feedback in the crayfish working in the Kennedy lab while studying issues of circadian biology with Colin Pittendrigh.
In 1978, Block became a member of the faculty in the Department of Biology of University of Virginia. Here, Block served as the vice provost for research and public service from 1993-1998, and then 2001 he was appointed as vice president. Furthermore, during this time from 1991-2002, Block also served as the founding director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Center in Biological Timing.
According to Block, “The center raised the national visibility of the University in biological and medical research, and gave us reputational leverage in the U.S. as well as in Europe and Japan…Most importantly, the center’s scientific accomplishments have been spectacular. We’ve done some high-risk research that has paid off greatly; some of it has fundamentally changed our understanding of biological processes.”
One of the center’s biggest advances, largely by Joseph Takahashi, was the development of a mutant mouse that allowed for the identification and cloning of the “Clock” gene for the biological clock in a mouse in 1997. This was the first such gene to be identified at the molecular level in a mammal. This groundbreaking discovery was a result of the Clock Genome Project, which uses “forward genetics” to discover the genes regulating circadian clocks in mice, fruit flies, and plants. In addition, this work also led to the discovery of many other genes that regulate the biological clock.
In 1997 and 1998, the reputable journal Science ranked the findings of the NSF Center in Biological Timings among the top 10 in biological research breakthroughs.
Finally, Block was appointed Chancellor of UCLA in 2007. His selection was announced on 21 December 2006, succeeding interim office holder Norman Abrams on 1 August 2007. As chancellor, Gene Block has faced the challenge of steering UCLA through a severe budget crisis. Despite being regarded a top leader, Chancellor Block has nonetheless overseen steep tuition increases. Chancellor Block holds a periodic student office hour and sometimes breakfasts with groups of students. Chancellor Block has also focused attention on non-faculty staff, including regular staff/chancellor breakfast. In addition, Mrs. Block hosts staff at athletic events and student musical recitals at their residence. Chancellor Block holds UCLA faculty appointments in psychiatry and bio-behavioral sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine and in physiological science in the College of Letters and Science.
Dr. David Mark Hillis is an American evolutionary biologist, and the Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is best known for his studies of molecular evolution, phylogeny, and vertebrate systematics. He created the popular Hillis Plot depiction of the evolutionary tree of life.
David Hillis was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1958, the son of William Hillis, an epidemiologist, and Aryge Briggs Hillis, a biostatistician. Hillis lived his early years in Denmark, Belgian Congo, India, and the United States, where he developed his interests in biology and biodiversity. He has two sons, Erec and Jonathan. His younger son, Jonathan Hillis, served in 2011 as the National Chief of the Order of the Arrow, the Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America. His brother is computer scientist W. Daniel Hillis, and his sister is Argye E. Hillis, a professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University.
In 1980 Hillis graduated from Baylor University with a B.S. degree in biology, followed in 1983, 1984, and 1985 with M.S., Ph.M., and Ph.D. degrees in Biological Science from the University of Kansas, specializing in molecular evolution and systematics.  During this time Hillis developed molecular approaches for reconstructing the evolutionary history of organisms, or phylogeny, with a particular emphasis on the relationships of amphibians. He also made significant contributions to the understanding of hybridization, molecular processes of evolutionary change, and statistical analysis of biological phylogenies. He continued this research as an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami from 1985–1987, and then moved to the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin in 1987.
Hillis received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation that same year, and was named to the Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professorship in Natural Sciences by the University of Texas in 1992. His co-authored book Molecular Systematics was instrumental in developing the field of phylogenetic analysis, and he is a co-author of two of the leading college textbooks on biology (Life: The Science of Biology, and Principles of Life). Dr. Hillis was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999. In 2000, Hillis was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2008, he was elected a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. He has served as President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, and President of the Society of Systematic Biologists. At the University of Texas, he has served as Director of the School of Biological Sciences, Director of the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Director of the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program of the College of Natural Sciences, and as Chair of the Faculty Council. Hillis also owns and operates the Double Helix Ranch, where he raises Texas Longhorn Cattle.
Dr. Peter Sale is a senior scientist with the United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health and is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor. Educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Hawaii, his research into ecology of coral reefs spanned a career at the University of Sydney, (1968-87), University of New Hampshire (1988-93), and University of Windsor (1994-2006).
His work has focused primarily on reef fish ecology, most recently on aspects of juvenile ecology, recruitment and connectivity. He has done research in Hawaii, Australia, the Caribbean and the Middle East, and visited reefs in many places in between. He has successfully used his fundamental science research to develop and guide projects in international development and sustainable coastal marine management in the Caribbean and the Indo-Pacific. His laboratory has produced over 200 technical publications and he has edited three books dealing with marine ecology.
He now lives with his wife Donna in Muskoka while leading projects applying science to coastal marine management in tropical regions around the world. His recent book, Our Dying Planet, tells the story of our impacts on the environment from the perspective of an ecologist who has seen environmental decline with his own eyes.
Dr. Thomas F. Ledig serves as a Full Professor and member of the Board of Permanent Officers at Yale University. He joined the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station in 1979 as Director of the Institute of Forest Genetics, located in Berkeley and Placerville, California. Currently, Senior Scientist in the Pacific Southwest Research Station and adjunct professor at the University of California-Davis.
Dr. Ledig led two binational gene conservation projects – with Mexico and Australia. Served on the Policy Advisory Board of the University of California’s Genetic Resources Conservation Program (1987-92). He was a member of the scientific committee of the Bull Foundation for conservation (1992-95), was a member of the University of California-Davis Working Group on Conservation Biology and Agriculture (1988); participated in the Keystone National Policy Dialogue on Biological Diversity (1989-91); was a consultant for the National Academy of Science/National Research Council on management of forest genetic resources (1988-90) and for the Office of Technology Assessment on their report, “Preparing for an Uncertain Climate” (1992-93).
Dr. Ledig is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Secretary (1985-) of the UN/FAO/North American Forest Commission’s Forest Genetic Resources Working Group. He is also a member of IUCN Species Survival Commission/Conifer Specialist Group; Society for Conservation Biology; International Society of Tropical Foresters; Botanical Society of America; California Botanical Society; Society of American Foresters; and American Society of Plant Taxonomists.
Dr. Ledig has over 120 publications in genetics and physiology. Honors: four Distinguished Publication awards (1983, 1988, 1992, 2001) and Milestone Publication award (2003) from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, and its Outstanding Scientist award (1988); Schaffer Lecturer at the University of British Columbia (1988); Glaser Distinguished Professor at Florida International University (1992); Barrington Moore Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in biological research (1992) from the Society of American Foresters; Distinguished Services Award from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (2000); elected AAAS Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2002); and North American Forest Commission award (2008).
His current research interests are in population genetics and evolution of Mexican and Californian conifers, the role of genetic diversity in natural populations, and conservation biology.
Dr. Richard Morita was born in Pasadena, California on March 27, 1923. After being interned in the Japanese Relocation Camps during World War II, he served in the US Army (1944-1946) and earned his BS in bacteriology/chemistry from the University of Nebraska (1947). He received a MS in bacteriology from the University of Southern California in 1949. In 1954, he received a PhD in microbiology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His doctoral dissertation was titled Occurrence and Significance of Bacteria in Marine Sediments. While a graduate student at Scripps, Morita served as a microbiologist on several research cruises including: the MidPac Expedition (1950), the Galathea Deep Sea Expedition (1952), and the Transpac Expedition (1953). He worked as a research biologist at Scripps from 1954-1955. He was an assistant professor of biology at the University of Houston from 1955-1958 and an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Nebraska from 1958-1962. In 1962, he became a professor of microbiology and oceanography at Oregon State University (OSU) where he was named professor emeritus in 1989. Over the years he has held a variety of positions in national and international organizations including: program director for Biochemistry, Molecular Biology Section, BMS, National Science Foundation (NSF) (1968-1969); Advisory Committee on Carbon Dioxide (and Microbiology), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA, 1976); visiting professor, Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo (1978); consultant, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory (1979); consultant, Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (1979); and scientific advisor, Operation DeepStar, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center, Japan. In 1984, he was given the Milton Harris Award in Basic Research from Oregon State University, College of Science.