Scientific Advisory Committee

Jean Brennan, Ph.D., Research Associate, Virginia Tech, Conservation Management Institute, PhD University of Tennessee in Ecology, MS. Yale University in Forest Science (Areas of Expertise: Climate change, adaptation and biodiversity conservation, forestry, natural resource management, international development)

Before joining Virginia Tech, Jean was the Science Program’s Senior Climate Change Scientist, focusing on the challenges facing wildlife in adapting to climate changes caused by global warming. As an ecologist, Jean brings her expertise to help identify research and programmatic activities to help address the impacts of climate change on wildlife and natural ecosystems. Prior to joining Defenders science staff, Jean worked as a Senior Conservation Science Advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Dr. Brennan shares the Nobel Peace Prize for her “substantial contribution to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC.”

Richard Buchholz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, University of Mississippi, Ph.D. University of Florida (Areas of expertise: behavioral conservation biology, birds and mammals)

He has worked on the conservation of cracids (curassows, guans and chachalacas) in captivity and in their natural habitats in South America, cooperated with state wildlife managers to understand the impact of rodents on the restoration of bottomland hardwood forests in Louisiana, helped a graduate student translocate nestlings of the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, studied the effect of inbreeding on climbing and foraging in White-Footed Mice, and the effect of harvesting introduced guava trees on native plants in Hawaiian forests. He is interested in reintroducing endangered species to the wild, understanding the effects of habitat fragmentation on behavior, detecting behavioral characteristics of extinction prone species, investigating the role of disease in conservation, and exploring the role of seed dispersal and predation on forest diversity and restoration.

Gregory S. Butcher, Ph.D., Director of Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society, Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Washington (Areas of expertise: birds)

Greg oversees Audubon’s State of the Birds analyses and other research related to bird conservation. Greg has had a long association with Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count: as a participant since 1965, as a count compiler and database manager from 1984-92, and as a researcher since 1984. From 1992 to 1998, Greg served as Executive Director of the American Birding Association (ABA) where he spearheaded the addition of education and conservation initiatives to the organization’s program agenda. Under his leadership, ABA’s membership grew from 11,500 to 20,000 in five years. Previously, Greg was the Midwest Coordinator for Partners In Flight where he served on the species assessment technical committee, which determined many of the scores that underlie Audubon’s State of the Birds: WatchList methodology today. He also has served as editor of Birder’s World magazine. Greg started his career at Cornell University’s Laboratory of Ornithology as the Director of Bird Population Studies. His key accomplishments included helping to launch Project FeederWatch, an annual survey of birds that visit feeders in winter, and the National Science Experiments, where citizen scientists collected data to answer research questions about breeding habitat requirements of tanagers, birdseed preferences, and pigeon behavior and coloration. Greg is an elective member of the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) and past president of the Association of Field Ornithologists. He has field experience in Costa Rica, where he completed the Tropical Ecology course of the Organization for Tropical Studies, organized a symposium and field workshop on monitoring bird populations at the First International Wildlife Management Congress, and organized a joint meeting of the American Birding Association, Association of Field Ornithologists, and Costa Rican Ornithologists’ Association that attracted more than 400 participants. He has been an active field birder since the age of 11, birding in 47 of the 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Chile, Europe, and South Africa. 

Sylvia Fallon, Ph. D., Staff Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council. Ph.D. University of Missouri, St. Louis (Areas of expertise: ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, conservation biology)

Sylvia began her studies in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, San Diego where she completed both her bachelor and master’s degree. After graduating, Sylvia worked as a research assistant at the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University with Dr. Paul Ehrlich. She later completed her doctorate degree at the University of Missouri, St. Louis focusing on the distribution and evolutionary relationships of avian malaria parasites. She continued her research with a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s genetics program in Washington D.C. In 2004, Sylvia became an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Environmental Fellow working with the Environmental Protection Agency. She has been with the Natural Resources Defense council (NRDC) since 2005 where she started as a science fellow researching the use of genetic data in endangered species listing decisions. She is currently a scientist with their Wildlife Conservation program.

Francesca Grifo, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Director, Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Ph.D. in systematic botany Cornell University (1990) and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Smith College (Areas of Expertise: Botany, biodiversity, conservation and environmental education)

As the senior scientist and director of the Scientific Integrity Program at UCS, Francesca Grifo acts to mobilize scientists and citizens to defend the integrity of government science from political interference. Dr. Grifo came to UCS in 2005 from Columbia University where she directed the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation graduate policy workshop and ran the Science Teachers Environmental Education Program. Prior to that, she was director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and a curator of the Hall of Biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  Dr. Grifo has testified before Congress on the subject of scientific integrity in federal policy making and is widely quoted on the topic in media outlets such as The New York Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio’s Science Friday.

David Inouye, Ph.D., Professor and Director, CONS program, Department of Biology, 
University of Maryland (Areas of expertise: Ecology And Conservation Biology (Pollination Biology, Plant Demography, Climate Change Biology, Flowering Phenology, Plant-Animal Interactions)

Dr. Inouye has worked with bumblebees, euglossine bees, pollinating flies, tephritid flies, hummingbirds, and wildflowers, on topics including pollination biology, flowering phenology, plant demography, and plant-animal interactions such as ant-plant mutualisms, nectar robbing, and seed predation.  He has worked in Australia, Austria, Central America, and Colorado, where he has spent summer field seasons since 1971 at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL).  His long-term studies of flowering phenology and plant demography are being used now to provide insights into the effects of climate change at high altitudes.  Dr. Inouye teaches courses in ecology and conservation biology at the University of Maryland, and has also taught at the University of Colorado’s Mountain Research Station, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and with the Organization for Tropical Studies.  At the University of Maryland he directs the graduate program in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology.

Gary Meffe, Ph.D., Dr. Gary Meffe, former Editor of the scientific journal Conservation Biology (1997-2009) and professor of conservation biology in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida, Gainesville (Areas of expertise: Fish, Conservation biology, education)

Dr. Meffe received his Ph.D. in Zoology from Arizona State University in 1983 and held the Archie Carr Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Florida. He worked at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and has done extensive research on conservation biology, evolutionary and community ecology, and fish ecology. Meffe’s general research interests include conservation biology, ecosystem management, aquatic ecology, and evolutionary biology. He has authored more than 70 scientific papers and chapters and has written or edited four books, including the widely acclaimed Principles of Conservation Biology. Dr. Meffe also has consulted extensively with numerous federal agencies on the application of conservation biology and ecosystem management principles to natural resource management. He has served in an editorial capacity with Copeia and Environmental Ethics, was Deputy Editor of Oryx, for which he writes a regular editorial column, “Savannah Perspective,” and has been a member of Conservation Biology‘s Board of Editors since its first volume.

Camille Parmesan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin. PhD from University of Texas (Areas of expertise: insects, plant insect interactions, global warming)

Parmesan’s early research focused on multiple aspects of population biology, including the ecology, evolution and behaviors of insect/plant interactions. For the past several years, the focus of her work has been on current impacts of climate change in the 20th century on wildlife. Her work on butterfly range shifts has been highlighted in many scientific and popular press reports, such as in Science, Science News, New York Times, London Times, National Public Radio, and the recent BBC film series “State of the Planet” with David Attenborough. The intensification of global warming as an international issue led her into the interface of policy and science. Parmesan has given seminars in DC for the White House, government agencies, and NGOs (e.g., IUCN and WWF). As a lead author, she was involved in multiple aspects of the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, United Nations). 

Jan Randall, Ph.D., Dr. Jan Randall is a Board Member of the Endangered Species Coalition, Professor Emeritus of Biology at San Francisco State University and a fellow of the California Academy of Science (Areas of expertise: mammals, deserts and education)

Jan grew up on a family cattle ranch in a very small town, Dietrich, in southern Idaho with 12 students in the high school graduating class. She has a B.S. in zoology, University of Idaho; M.Ed. University of Washington, Seattle; Ph.D. in zoology Washington State University; postdoctoral fellow University of Texas, Austin; visiting professor, Cornell University. She has held academic positions in biology departments at Central Missouri State University and San Francisco State University. Her research focuses on behavioral ecology and evolution of desert rodents in western United States and Central Asia with emphasis on communication and social organization resulting in over 50 publication. She is currently working on genetics of the endangered giant kangaroo rat in the Carrizo Plain National Monument in California. Jan has received grants from the National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health and Research and Development Foundation. Jan is a fellow of the California Academy of Science and has received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Idaho. Jan is a Professor Emeritus of Biology at San Francisco State University.

Peter H. Raven, Ph.D., Director of the Missouri Botanic Garden, Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (1960), honorary degrees from universities in this country and throughout the world (Areas of expertise: botany)

As one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity, Dr. Raven has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden for three decades. In addition, Dr. Raven is past President and Chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Chairman of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration, and Chair of the Division of Earth and Life Studies of the National Research Council. He champions research to preserve endangered plants and is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment. Dr. Raven was described by TIME as a “Hero for the Planet,” and is the recipient of the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan; Environmental Prize of the Institute de la Vie; Volvo Environment Prize; the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the Sasakawa Environment Prize and the National Medal of Science. He has held Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. He was a member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, 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 more.