Explorers


Photo: Paul A. Baker

Paul A. Baker, Geology
Base of Operations: Durham, North Carolina
Education: B.A. University of Rochester; M.S. Pennsylvania State University; Ph.D. Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Paul Baker is a professor of geochemistry at Duke University.

Baker has undertaken field geological studies on all of the continents (except Australia, a big exception!), has participated in four DSDP/ODP ocean drilling cruises, and many other oceanographic and limnologic expeditions. He has helped advise and nurture many excellent students and is very proud of their accomplishments.

Dr. Baker's present research focuses on reconstructing past climates and understanding the mechanisms that control climate variability, with a particular emphasis on tropical South America. This research has involved scientific drilling projects in Lake Titicaca and the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, studies of growth rates and isotopic composition of Amazonian tree species, and marine geology of the Brazilian continental margin offshore of the mouth of the Amazon. This aspect of Baker's research is motivated by his interest in determining how the physical environment has shaped the present-day distribution of biodiversity in the Amazon and tropical Andes. In many of these studies, Dr. Baker has worked alongside biologists and anthropologists.

One of Baker's new lines of research is in sustainable agriculture, asking what is the influence of natural climate variability on productivity, particularly in marginal, semi-arid regions? And how will future climate change affect regional water balance and productivity?




Photo: Kamaljit S. Bawa

Kamaljit S. Bawa, Conservation
Base of operations: Boston, MA
Education: B.S., Punjab University; B.S.(Honors), Punjab University;
M.S.(Honors), Punjab University; Ph. D., Punjab University

Professor Kamaljit S. Bawa is a Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in Sustainability Science in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard's Center for International Development, a Bullard Fellow at the Harvard Forest, and a Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. His work explores the role of institutions and market-based approaches to conservation. He is specifically interested in the relationships among poverty, institutions and community-based conservation. Professor Bawa has been a Guggenheim Fellow as well as a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment. He has published more than 180 papers, and edited 10 books, monographs or special issues of journals. He is the editor-in-chief of Conservation and Society, an interdisciplinary journal in conservation, and also serves on the editorial boards of several other journals. He has served on many national and international advisory panels . He has been the President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and a member of the governing board of several foundations and non government organizations.

He is the Founder-President of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), a non-governmental organization devoted to research, policy analysis, and education in India. He is a recipient of the highest awards from the two main professional societies in his field. In 2003, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation bestowed on him its highest honor by electing him as an Honorary Fellow. The Society for Conservation Biology awarded him its Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

Most recently he has been appointed by the Honorable Minister of Environment and Forestry, Sri Jairam Ramesh as a member of the prestigious 12-member Global Advisory Network Group on Environmental Sciences (GANGES). GANGES is a new forum, comprising the world s leading environmental scientists of Indian origin, established to advise the Government of India on the country's environmental sciences agenda.




Photo: Colin Chapman

Colin Chapman, Primatology
Base of Operations: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
Education: B.Sc. (Hons) University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta; MA University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta; Ph.D. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta; Post-doc McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Post-doc Harvard University, Boston

Colin Chapman joined the Committee for Research and Exploration in 2008. Dr. Chapman is a professor in the Department of Anthropology and McGill School of Environment, and an adjunct professor in Biology at McGill University, an Honourary Professor of Zoology at Makerere University, Uganda, and an Associate Scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. Since 2005 he has been a Canada Research Chair in Primate Ecology and Conservation and has spearheaded a number of conservation projects, primarily in Uganda.

For the last 19 years, Dr. Chapman has conducted research in Kibale National Park, Uganda. In general, his research focuses on how the environment influences primate abundance and social organization, and in turn how primates affect their environment through seed dispersal and herbivory. Until now, few studies have moved beyond providing obvious solutions to conservation problems, such as stopping deforestation. Dr. Chapman applies his research to find novel solutions to the conservation of primates. Much of his past research has involved developing and testing models of the determinants of primate abundance, and predicting how primates will respond to human disturbance. Continuing his research on the endangered red colobus monkey in Kibale, Dr. Chapman is trying to determine how nutrition and parasitism operate synergistically to influence primate population size. In addition, he is investigating the widespread hypothesis that changes wrought by human intervention bring non-human primates into closer contact with each other and with humans, and that this in turn enhances the transmission of diseases between species and the emergence of novel diseases.




Photo: Keith Clarke

Keith C. Clarke, Geography
Base of Operations: Santa Barbara, California
Education: B.A. (Hons) Middlesex Polytechnic, London; B.S., Hood College; MA and Ph.D., University of Michigan; Ph.D., City University of New York

A member of the Committee for Research and Exploration since 2006, Keith Clarke is a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been a member of the National Research Council's Mapping Sciences Committee since 2003 and is the current chair.

Trained in scientific and quantitative geography, Dr. Clarke has worked on the integration of the computer into the methods and equipment used for analysis and exploration. Specializing in analytical cartography and geographic information systems, he has conducted fieldwork on disease mapping in Africa, Maya settlements in Central America, and glaciers in Lapland. While a Resident Fellow at the Explorers Club, Dr. Clarke led the mapping for a flag-bearing expedition to Hudson's Bay, and climbed the Mexican volcano Popocatepetl. His research stretches from computer modeling of land use change to detailed mapping of terrain with LIDAR.

Dr. Clarke is the former North American editor of the International Journal of Geographical Information Systems and is series editor for the Prentice Hall Series in Geographic Information Science. He is the author of three textbooks and more than a hundred articles and papers in the fields of cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems. In 2005 Dr. Clarke received the John Wesley Powell Award, the highest non-government award given by the United States Geological Survey. He spent the 2006-7 academic year in London as a Leverhulme Visiting Scholar and in Italy as a Fulbright Distinguished Fellow.




Photo: Emmett Duffy

Emmett Duffy, Marine Biology
Base of Operations: Gloucester Point, VA
Education: B.S. (magna cum laude) Spring Hill College; M.S. University of Maine; Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Emmett Duffy is an ecologist with expertise in marine biodiversity–from evolutionary origins, through the interactions that maintain diverse ecosystems, to their importance to human society.

His research has taken him from Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest Lake, to Caribbean reefs, from which in 1996 he described social shrimp as the first case of cooperative colonies among marine animals. Research at both ends of this spectrum were aided by support from the National Geographic Society.

A long-term theme of Duffy’s research addresses how changing marine diversity impacts ecosystem services to society. He addresses this issue through the prism of food-web interactions in seagrass beds of Chesapeake Bay and throughout the world, via a global research collaboration (the Zostera Experimental Network) he founded. More recently he has co-led a consortium of institutions researching employment of wild algae to couple remediation of water pollution with biofuel production.

Duffy is the author of over 100 articles and an edited volume on crustacean social biology. His research has been featured in the BBC’s Blue Planet series, on the Discovery Channel, in textbooks, and in other media outlets worldwide. He was awarded an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship in 2006, and has served on editorial boards of the journals Ecology, Ecology Letters, Ecological Monographs, Journal of Ethology, and on several panels and boards addressing climate change and biodiversity science and policy.

Duffy has held research fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and the University of California, Davis. He is currently the Loretta and Lewis Glucksman Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science.




Photo: John Francis

John Francis
Base of Operations: Washington, D.C.
Education: B.S., University of Washington; Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

Now vice president for research, conservation, and exploration at the National Geographic Society, John Francis began his career as a behavioral ecologist at nineteen and over the next fifteen years studied over half of all seal and sea lion species. After earning his Ph.D., he spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at the Smithsonian Institution.

Two grants from the National Geographic Society allowed Francis to study the little-known Juan Fernández fur seal from the isolated islands near Chile. A film of this research was the beginning of a career in wildlife filmmaking.

In six years with National Geographic Television, Francis covered everything from chimps and tigers to whales and sharks. For much of this time, he also served on the Society's Committee for Research and Exploration, offering expertise on marine mammals.

Today Francis directs funding of these disciplines through the Society's Committee for Research and Exploration, Conservation Trust, and Expeditions Council and promotes these groups' efforts worldwide.




Photo: Carol Harden

Carol Harden
Base of operations: Tennessee
Education: B.A., Middlebury College; M.A. and Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder

Called "the lady who brings the rain" for her use of portable rainfall simulators in studies of soil erosion and rainfall runoff in the Ecuadorian Andes, Carol Harden is a geographer whose field-based research links changes in land use and land management to the redistribution of water and sediment in inhabited mountain watersheds. Her current research relates land-use and land-management changes to the ecosystem services that regulate the storage of carbon and water in high Andean grassland soils. She also leads related research on watershed processes in the southern Appalachians, recently focusing on streambank erosion and water quality in mountain streams.

Harden is professor of Geography at the University of Tennessee and former head of the department. She is vice-president (2008–2009) of the Association of American Geographers, a member of the Geographical Sciences Committee of the National Academies of Science, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Physical Geography. Her international research has been funded by numerous sources, including a Research and Exploration grant and a Fulbright Fellowship. Before joining the academic world, she participated in three research expeditions to Mt. Logan (Canada), sponsored by the Arctic Institute of North America, and worked in instructional, supervisory, and administrative capacities in two Outward Bound schools.




Photo: Carol Harden

Kirk Johnson
Base of Operations: Washington, D. C.
Education: B. A. Amherst College; M. S. University of Pennsylvania; Ph. D. Yale University

Kirk Johnson is the Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. He is a paleontologist who spent much of his career (1991-2012) at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science where he led expeditions that resulted in the discovery of more than 1,400 fossil sites on all continents with particular focus on the Cretaceous, Paleocene, and Eocene geology and fossils of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains in North America and Argentine Patagonia in South America. His research focuses on fossil plants, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and methods for dating rocks and fossils. He is known for his scientific books and articles, popular books, museum exhibits, collaborations with artists, and his accessible public speaking style. Much of this public-facing work has been aimed at the presentation of the full scope of the evolution of life on earth. He advocates that natural history museums are increasingly important tools for scientific discovery, preservation of treasured and relevant objects and data, and public inspiration and communication about science and culture. In 2010-11, he led the Snowmastodon Project, the excavation of an amazing ice age site discovered by construction workers in Snowmass Village on October 14, 2010. This dig was featured in the Nova documentary, Ice Age Death Trap , and in the book, Digging Snowmastodon, Discovering an Ice Age World in the Colorado Rockies .




Photo: Jonathan B. Losos

Jonathan B. Losos, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Base of Operations: Cambridge, MA
Education: A.B., Harvard University Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Jonathan Losos is a professor in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

The focus of Dr. Losos’s research is biological diversity, how it originates evolutionarily and how it is maintained in ecological communities. Answering these questions requires synthesis of ecological, behavioral, functional, and evolutionary data, requiring work both in the laboratory and the field. The organisms of choice in these studies are lizards, and Dr. Losos’s research has taken him throughout the world, conducting studies in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa, Madagascar, and Australia.

Dr. Losos is the former editor of the American Naturalist, a leading interdisciplinary journal in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology, and has authored or edited two books, two textbooks and more than 100 scientific papers. He is the recipient of the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize, the David Starr Jordan Prize, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.




Photo: John O’Loughlin

John O’Loughlin
Base of Operations: University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
Education: BA (Hons) University College, Dublin, Ireland: M.S., PhD.
Pennsylvania
State University

John O’Loughlin is College Professor of Distinction in Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder and also a Faculty Research Associate in its Institute of Behavioral Science. Previously he taught at the University of Illinois of Illinois- Urbana and was a visiting professor on two occasions at Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany.

Dr. O’Loughlin is a political geographer whose regional focus is the former Communist countries of the Soviet Union and the Balkans. Since the early 1990s, he has conducted fieldwork, with continuous funding from the National Science Foundation, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, and the North and South Caucasus. The focus of the work is the extent and scope of nationalist mobilizations, the state of ethnic relations, the aftermath of conflicts, and the nature of state-building in newly-independent countries. The research involves both intensive interviewing and large-scale public opinion polls with foreign and U.S. colleagues and students.

In addition to his work on the former Communist states, Dr. O’Loughlin’s other specialties in political geography center on the local dynamics of conflict, the possible effects of climate and environmental change on local violence in sub- Saharan Africa, the diffusion of democracy, and electoral geography especially in Nazi Germany.

Dr. O’Loughlin is Editor-in-Chief of Political Geography and co-editor of Eurasian Geography and Economics. He is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, among other awards. He has published more than 150 research papers and books.




Photo: Naomi Pierce

Naomi Pierce, Biology
Base of Operations: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Education: BS, Yale University; Ph.D., Harvard University

Naomi Pierce is the Hessel Professor of Biology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and Curator of Lepidoptera in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. She is known for her research on the ecology and evolution of species interactions, particularly mutualisms. This has ranged from field studies measuring the costs and benefits of symbioses between ants and other organisms, to genetic analyses of biochemical signaling pathways underlying interactions between plants, pathogens and insects. She has also been involved in reconstructing the evolutionary 'Tree of life' of insects such as ants, bees, and butterflies, and in using these trees to analyze life history evolution and biogeographical distributions.

Pierce came to Harvard in 1990 after appointments as a Research Lecturer in Christ Church and the Department of Zoology, Oxford University, and Assistant and Associate Professor, Princeton University. She has received prizes such as a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Australia and a MacArthur award, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. The author of numerous scientific papers and an edited book, she lives in Cambridge with her husband and their two daughters.




Photo: Peter H. Raven

Peter H. Raven, Botany
Base of Operations: St. Louis, Missouri
Education: B.S., University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Chair of the Committee for Research and Exploration, Peter H. Raven is one of the world's leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity. For three decades, he has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured into a world-class center for botanical research and education, and horticultural display.

Described by Time magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment.

In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Raven is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan and the U.S. National Medal of Science, the country's highest award for scientific accomplishment. He has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships.

Raven was a member of President Bill Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also served for 12 years as home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of the academies of science in Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, the U.K., and several other countries.

The author of numerous books and reports, both popular and scientific, Raven co-wrote Biology of Plants, an internationally best-selling textbook, now in its sixth edition. He also co-authored Environment, a leading textbook on the environment.




Photo: Jeremy Arac Sabloff

Jeremy Arac Sabloff, Archaeology
Base of Operations: Sante Fe, New Mexico
Education: B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1964; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1969

Before coming to the Santa Fe Institute, he taught at Harvard University, the University of Utah, the University of New Mexico (where he was Chair of the Department), the University of Pittsburgh (where he also was Chair), and the University of Pennsylvania (where he was the Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum from 1994-2004 [and Interim Director, 2006-2007] and Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Anthropology). He also was an Overseas Visiting Fellow at St. John's College, Cambridge, England. He is a past President of the Society for American Archaeology, a past Chair of Section H (Anthropology) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and past Editor of American Antiquity. He served as Chair of the Smithsonian Science Commission and currently is a member of the Visiting Committee for the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of Natural History, and the Board of Trustees of the SRI Foundation.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (elected in 1994) and the American Philosophical Society (elected in 1996), and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected in 1999). Furthermore, he is a Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries, London, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He is the author of Excavations at Seibal; Ceramics (1975), The Cities of Ancient Mexico (1989; 2nd ed., 1997), The New Archaeology and the Ancient Maya (1990), and Archaeology Matters (2008) and the co-author of A History of American Archaeology (1974; 2nd ed., 1980; 3rd ed., 1993), A Reconnaissance of Cancuen, Peten, Guatemala (1978), Ancient Civilizations: The Near East and Mesoamerica (1979; 2nd ed. 1995), Cozumel: Late Maya Settlement Patterns (1984), and The Ancient Maya City of Sayil (1991). His books have appeared in Spanish, Russian, German, Japanese, and Dutch translations. He also has edited or co-edited 12 books, the most recent of which is (with Joyce Marcus) The Ancient City (2008); he has published more than 130 articles, book chapters, and reviews.

His principal scholarly interests include: ancient Maya civilization, pre-industrial urbanism, settlement pattern studies, archaeological theory and method, the history of archaeology, and the relevance of archaeology in the modern world. Over the past forty years, he has undertaken archaeological field research in both Mexico and Guatemala.




Photo: Monica Smith

Monica L. Smith
Base of Operations: Los Angeles
Education: B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara; M.A. UCLA; Ph.D. University of Michigan

Monica Smith is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA, after having started her research career with a visiting appointment at the University of Arizona and a faculty post at the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the Committee for Research and Exploration in 2012, with 20 years of experience in archaeological fieldwork in the Mediterranean, the American Southwest, and the Indian subcontinent.

Her research focuses on the comparative study of modern and ancient urbanism. The striking similarities of city life over the past 6,000 years suggest that humans’ capacity to live in crowded spaces was the result of long-term cognitive adaptations for multitasking, group integration, and investments in both portable objects and architecture as modes of social signaling.

Her current archaeological project focuses on the 2,000-year-old fortified city of Sisupalgarh, India, where she and her co-director Professor Rabindra Kumar Mohanty (Deccan College, Pune) have been investigating the continuity of urban life from the perspective of ordinary inhabitants. She also sustains long-term research interests in the anthropology of food, the development of social complexity, and trade and economics in prehistory.

Her books include A Prehistory of Ordinary People (2010), Excavations at Sisupalgarh, Orissa (with R.K. Mohanty, 2008), The Social Construction of Ancient Cities (editor, 2003), The Historic Period at Bandelier National Monument (2002), and The Archaeology of an Early Historic Town in Central India (2001). She also has published in a diverse range of journals in the U.S., Europe, and India.




Photo: Thomas B. Smith

Thomas B. Smith, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology/Conservation Biology
Base of Operations: University of California, Los Angeles
Education: B.Sc. University of Wisconsin, Madison; M.S. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

Thomas Smith is founder and director of the Center for Tropical Research, Institute of the Environment, and is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. He joined the Committee for Research and Exploration in 2009. Smith has more than 25 years of experience working in the rain forests of Africa, Australia, Latin America, and Hawaii. He oversees a host of research projects and directs the research of a large number of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers on projects based in tropical countries worldwide.

A central focus of his research investigates how biodiversity is generated and maintained in tropical rain forests. Combining molecular genetics and field biology, he identified a new theory of how speciation occurs in rain forests. In a series of recent studies, he has shown that for a wide range of taxa in rain forests worldwide, the processes of diversification and speciation take place not only within “biodiversity hotspots” but also along environmental gradients or ecotones representing the transition from one habitat to another. The results of Smith’s research point to new and more effective ways of prioritizing regions for conservation. In recent years his research has also focused on studying evolution in human-altered environments, the ecology of disease, and developing new approaches for mapping adaptive variation in species to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Smith is a frequent consultant for conservation organizations. Working with the World Bank and international conservation organizations, he has helped implement conservation programs and establish new national parks in tropical countries. His research has been featured around the world in print, on the radio, and in film. Over the years, his research has been supported by major research grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the National Institutes of Health.

He has received more than a dozen academic honors for his research, including being a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the American Ornithologists’ Union, and the Zoological Society of London, and he was a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar.




Photo: W. H. Wills

W. H. Wills, Anthropology
Base of Operations: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Education: B.A. University of New Mexico, Ph.D., University of Michigan

Chip Wills is professor of anthropology and Regents’ Lecturer at the University of New Mexico and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. He has been a Wetherhead Fellow at the School of American Research, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, and visiting professor at the University of Virginia.

Wills’s research involves the archaeological study of economic organization and social change in past societies, particularly in North America. He is especially interested in episodes of rapid development leading to complex social organizations that stem from interaction between relatively small social groups. His research focuses on the origins of agriculture, the emergence of village communities, and the formation of hierarchical corporate groups. Wills has addressed these issues primarily in the American Southwest, where he is currently directing field studies at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.




Meet Our Explorers

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