Capstone Speakers

Dr. THOMAS LOVEJOY

Dr. Thomas Lovejoy was elected University Professor at George Mason in March 2010. He previously held the Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment and was President from 2002-2008. An ecologist who has worked in the Brazilian Amazon since 1965, he works on the interface of science and environmental policy. Starting in the 1970’s he helped bring attention to the issue of tropical deforestation and in 1980 published the first estimate of global extinction rates (in the Global 2000 Report to the President). He conceived the idea for the long-term study on forest fragmentation in the Amazon (started in 1978) which is the largest experiment in landscape ecology, the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (also known as the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project). He also coined the term “Biological diversity”, originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps and has worked on the interaction between climate change and biodiversity for more than 30 years. He is the founder of the public television series “Nature”. In the past, he served as the Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation, as the Chief Biodiversity Advisor to the World Bank as well as Lead Specialist for the Environment for the Latin American region, as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental and External Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution, and as Executive Vice President of World Wildlife Fund-US. In 2002, he was awarded the Tyler Prize, and in 2009 he was the winner of BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology Category. In 2012 he received the Blue Planet Prize. He has served on advisory councils in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton administrations. In 2009 he was appointed Conservation Fellow by the National Geographic Society. He chaired the Scientific and Technical Panel for the Global Environment Facility which provides funding related to the international environmental conventions from 2009-2013 and serves as Advisor to the current Chair.  He received his B.S. and Ph.D. (Biology) from Yale University.

 

Dr. GERARDO CEBALLOS

Dr. Gerardo Ceballos has been actively working on the diversity, ecology and conservation of mammals in Mexico and the entire world for at least 30 years. He is a pioneer in many fields in mammal ecology and conservation in Mexico. Not only has he led the first ever long-term community and population biology studies of Mexican mammals in the early 1980’s, but he has also pioneered reintroduction of endangered species such as the black-footed ferret and eradication of exotic species from islands of the Gulf of California. He has published well over 200 peer-reviewed papers in the primary literature and over 30 very influential books, including some of the most significant papers on mammal ecology, biodiversity, biogeography and conservation published in Science in the past couple of years. He has also published a truly daunting volume, the Mammals of Mexico, a major landmark in the discipline given the huge task at hand (Mexico is country # 3 in terms of numbers of mammal species in the world), and the extraordinary difficulty of attempting to compile this humongous, extremely useful volume for anyone working on mammals in Mexico and its neighboring countries. His influence has flourished and mushroomed, with dozens of his students occupying key positions in many universities, local, state, and federal government agencies, and virtually every NGO active in Mexico. All those that recommended him commented particularly on his extraordinary ability to “operationalize his science” and achieve meaningful conservation outcomes on the ground. Many of the most important protected areas in Mexico, from the Chamela-Cuixmala reserve (the only one with a significant extension of the endemic-rich Mexican tropical dry forest) to the San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California to the last remaining extensive grasslands of North America in Chihuahua, owe their existence in great part to his efforts.

 

Dr. KATE JONES

Dr. Kate Jones is Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity, Director of the Biodiversity Modelling Research Group in the Centre for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (CBER), within the Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment (GEE) at University College London. Dr. Jones is a world-leading biodiversity modeller known for her innovative, broad cross-disciplinary research in the linkages between global change, biodiversity and ecosystem services, winning the Philip Leverhulme Prize for outstanding contributions to Zoology in 2008. Dr. Jones holds scientific advisory positions for a number of national and international conservation charities and was the Chair of The Bat Conservation Trust from 2010-2015. She also directs a number of citizen science projects monitoring biodiversity globally. Dr. Jones is a passionate science communicator and regularly appears in the national and international media, including the Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4 in 2015. Allegedly*, Charles Darwin is her 8th cousin (6 times removed).