We’re able to rapidly translate new research into conservation initiatives through the recommendations of our distinguished scientific advisory board. Each member of the scientific advisory board has significant expertise and experience in research affecting the conservation of island ecosystems, both terrestrial and oceanic.

Paul Alan Cox

Dr. Cox is a botanist whose scientific research focuses on the ecology of island plants and the ethnobotany of island peoples. Receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University, he served for many years as professor and dean at Brigham Young University and later became King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science at the Swedish Agricultural University and the University of Uppsala. For seven years he was director of the Congressionally Chartered National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) in Hawaii and Florida, and is currently executive director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine, which is affiliated with the NTBG. He is the author of over 150 scientific papers and reviews, and was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of eleven “Heroes of Medicine” for his search for new medicines from plants. In 1997 he received the Goldman Environmental Prize for the conservation efforts described in his book Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest (New York: W.H. Freeman), which has been translated into German, Japanese, and Samoan. He speaks a variety of island languages and is internationally renowned for his advocacy of indigenous peoples.

Jared Diamond

A professor of physiology at UCLA since 1966, Dr. Diamond is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs and Steel, in which he explores the early geographical and environmental forces that, he argues, led to the differing rates of technological development around the world. A devoted conservationist, Dr. Diamond created a comprehensive plan, most of which was implemented, for Indonesian New Guinea’s national park system. In addition to roughly 20 field expeditions in New Guinea, he has done fieldwork all over the world and is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. He received his doctorate from Cambridge and is a MacArthur Fellow. He has published more than 200 articles in Discover, Natural History, Nature and Geo magazines.  His other books include The World Until YesterdayCollapse, The Third Chimpanzee, and Why Is Sex Fun?

Dr. Sylvia A. Earle

Dr. Earle is a marine scientist, author, and lecturer, as well as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Dubbed “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, she was named in 1998 as TIME Magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet” in recognition of her pioneering work as an oceanographer. She is author of Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans, DIVE! My Adventures in the Deep Frontier, and Wild Ocean: America’s Parks Under the Sea, as well as numerous other scientific, technical, and popular publications. Dr. Earle holds the world’s record for the deepest solo dive for a woman: 1,000 meters.

Thomas Elmqvist

Thomas Elmqvist, Ph.D, is a professor in Natural Resource Management in the Department of Systems Ecology and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. His research is focused on ecosystem dynamics, ecosystem services, land use change, natural disturbances, and components of resilience including the role of social institutions. He is coordinating two major interdisciplinary research themes as part of the new Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University. He was involved in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and is also principal investigator of multidisciplinary projects in Madagascar and in the south Pacific. With Seacology founder Paul Alan Cox, he helped establish four indigenous reserves in Samoa and also helped with one reserve in Madagascar. He and Dr. Cox have also advocated the importance of involving indigenous leaders in conservation initiatives.

Robert Jansen

Dr. Jansen is Director of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Until 2015, he was the chair of the Department of Integrative Biology there. He is an authority on the origin and evolution of oceanic island plants. This is extremely important, as one third of the endangered plants in the world occur on volcanic islands. Dr. Jansen has extensively studied the plant life on the archipelagos that comprise Macaronesia. This includes the 32 islands of the Azores, Canaries, Cape Verde, Madeira, and the Selvagens. Dr. Jansen received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and his postdoctoral education at the University of Michigan. His articles have been published in Science Magazine and a wide range of scientific journals.

John McCosker

Dr. McCosker has been senior scientist and the first occupant of the Research Chair of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences since 1994. Prior to that, he was director of the Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium for 21 years. Dr. McCosker’s research concerning attacks upon humans by great white sharks has influenced public safety plans, and his work was featured on BBC and NOVA television programs. He is the author of more than 175 popular and scientific articles. Dr. McCosker is one of the world’s leading authorities on great white sharks, with which he has dived on numerous occasions. He is also a widely recognized expert on the Galapagos Islands. Dr. McCosker and his wife reside in Mill Valley, California and have explored all of the world’s oceans and seas.

John Ogden

Dr. Ogden is Emeritus Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida and former director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO). He began his continuing fieldwork on global coral reefs and associated ecosystems after building the West Indies Laboratory (WIL) in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, where he was director from 1981 to 1988. Dr. Ogden has published over 100 scientific papers, contributed to numerous books, and produced several television films on tropical ecosystems. He was a member of the founding Advisory Council of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and currently serves on the Florida Ocean and Coastal Council and the boards of the Florida Ocean Alliance and SeaWeb. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

William E. Rainey

Dr. Rainey is an endangered species biologist and has spent years studying endangered species in the islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific. He received his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984. Dr. Rainey has helped develop tracking procedures for endangered sea turtles and has studied interactions between endangered flying foxes and the plants they pollinate. He is renowned as a forensic biologist, using new DNA techniques to apprehend criminals who traffic in rhino horns and other endangered species.

Peter H. Raven

Dr. Raven, who received his Ph.D at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington University since 1971. He was a member of President Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, and is the chairman of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. He is active internationally in science, science policy, and particularly conservation, where he has emphasized the need for a transition to global sustainability. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Tyler Prize and the Sasakawa Environment Prize, and has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships.

Edward O. Wilson

Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology, Department of Entomology biologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson is a leading figure in the global effort to prevent species extinction. Dr. Wilson is the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, the National Medal of Science, the International Prize for Biology, and founder of the field of sociobiology, He is the author of many books, including Half Earth, The Social Conquest of Earth, Letters to a Young Scientist, The Diversity of Life, Biophilia, On Human Nature, The Ants and Naturalist. His research interests include evolutionary biology, the biology of social insects, biogeography, and ethical philosophy. Fundamental to Dr. Wilson’s achievements is his lifelong fascination with and exhaustive research into ant and other insect societies.

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