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PRBO's First Chief Conservation Science Officer

Welcoming Dr. John Wiens

Chrissy Howell, PhD


John Wiens, right, visits a tidal marsh study site with PRBO biologist Leonard Liu. Photo by Parvaneh Abbaspour, PRBO
As part of PRBO's strategic planning process, last year we established a major new leadership position, Chief Conservation Science Officer, and launched an intensive search for the ideal candidate. PRBO is honored and delighted that Dr. John Wiens has accepted the position and will join our staff in June 2008.

John Wiens is one of the premier ecologists, author-educators, and conservationists in North America. Since 2002, he has been the Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the foremost non-profit conservation organization working worldwide to protect ecologically important lands and waters. Previously, he was on the faculties of Oregon State University, the University of New Mexico, and Colorado State University, where he was a University Distinguished Professor. He received his doctorate and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin and his Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma.

Finding an individual with such stellar academic and non-profit experience to lead our future science endeavors is very good news for PRBO. Says Dr. Jim Quinn of U.C. Davis, a member of our Science Advisory Committee: "Like most American ecologists, I began reading John Wiens' research articles as a student, and they were always inspirational for their broad perspective and their willingness to buck conventional wisdom, as well as for their technical rigor. However influential his research, though, John has contributed at least as much as a mentor, program builder, debunker of nonsense, and promoter of sound science applied to our most pressing conservation problems."

John Wiens' scientific career has emphasized landscape ecology and the ecology of birds and insects in arid environments. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and seven books, notably The Ecology of Bird Communities. He made seminal contributions to the field of landscape ecology—how landscape structure affects the distribution and abundance of organisms—when it was a newly emerging discipline, helping it gain international recognition and invaluable application.

Anticipating John Wiens' arrival at PRBO as our Chief Conservation Science Officer, President and CEO Ellie M. Cohen notes: "Under John's guidance, we expect to significantly increase the scope of PRBO's already major contributions to bird and ecosystem conservation. We are thrilled to have John join the PRBO family."