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Endangered Species Expert Named Doris Duke Professor In Conservation Ecology
DURHAM, N.C. -- Stuart Pimm, one of the world's foremost experts on endangered species and habitat destruction, has been named the first Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University.
The professorship was endowed with a $1.7 million grant given to Duke in 1997 by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, based in New York City.
Pimm, who joins the Nicholas School faculty after serving as professor of ecology at Columbia University's Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, considers himself an "investment banker of the global and biological accounts." In his latest book, The World According to Pimm (2001), he balances the raw numbers of what the earth produces against what humans take away, and he finds the numbers don't add up.
"I will not hector you about having many children, driving a large car, eating meat," he writes. But "the impacts I will describe already seriously degrade the lives of huge numbers of people. We must do something to make our actions sustainable. My key message is that it is possible to have biodiversity and eat too."
Working on the front lines of conservation biology since the early '70s, Pimm's research covers the reasons why species become extinct, how fast they do so, the global patterns of habitat loss and species extinction, the role of introduced species in causing extinction and, importantly, the management consequences of this research.
His current work includes studies on birds in the Everglades, forests in Brazil, elephants in Africa, predators in Madagascar and the ecosystems on which these species depend.
A native of Derbyshire, England, his travels and studies have taken him to every continent. He regularly testifies before Congress on conservation policy. His research has been published in New Scientist, Science and Nature. He is the author of nearly 200 scientific papers and two other books, Food Web (1982) and The Balance of Nature? (1991).
He holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Oxford in England, and his doctoral degree from New Mexico State University. He was named an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in 1999 and a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment in 1993, and he received the Kemper Prize for Distinguished Ecologists in 1994.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of people's lives by nurturing the arts, protecting and restoring the environment, seeking cures for diseases, and helping to protect children from abuse and neglect. For more information, visit www.ddcf.org.
Note to editors: A photo of Pimm is available at http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/images/pimm.jpg.
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