Eric Sargis

Director, Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies

Professor of Anthropology, Archaeological Studies, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and the Yale School of the Environment, Department of Anthropology 

Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and Vertebrate Zoology (Mammalogy)Peabody Museum of Natural History

Carla Staver

Associate Director, Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies

Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

YIBS External Advisory Board


Caroline Niemczyk
Independent Philanthropy Professional
Irvington, NY

Ralph C. Schmidt
The Candlewood Timber Group
New York NY


Joseph Andrew
Global Chairman, Dentons
Washington, DC

Edward P. Bass
Businessman, Financier, Philanthropist, and Environmentalist
Fort Worth TX

R. Duane Dickson
Deloitte Consulting LLP, Stamford Harbor Park
Stamford, CT

Scott Edwards
Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Joshua R. Ginsberg 
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Millbrook, NY

Jeremy Jackson
Marine Ecologist, Paleontologist and Professor
Washington, DC

Kim Larson
Washington, DC

Thomas McHenry
President and Dean
Vermont Law School

James Prosek
Artist, Writer and Naturalist
Easton, CT

Dame Alison Richard 
Senior Research Scientist and Crosby Professor Emerita, Yale University 
New Haven, CT

Theodore C. Rogers
American Industrial Partners
New York, NY

Eleanor Sterling
Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
American Museum of Natural History
New York, NY

Michael Teitelbaum
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Senior Research Associate, Harvard Law School

Oakleigh Thorne II
Founder, Honorary President, & Bird Banding Instructor
Thorne Nature Experience
Boulder, CO

In Memoriam 

Thomas Lovejoy


Tom Lovejoy was a dedicated Yale alumnus and a pioneer of biodiversity science. He was a member of YIBS’s board for the entirety of YIBS’ existence, and eight directors have relied on his thoughtful and nuanced contributions through the years. He will be sorely missed by our community. Donnelley fellow Advait Jukar reflects.

On the 25th of December 2021, Thomas Lovejoy died at his home in McLean, Virginia. In his long career, Tom coined the phrase biological diversity, pioneered the Debt-for-Nature Swap program, and seamlessly maneuvered between the rainforest, boardrooms, and high government offices. Tom’s Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project is the longest running forest fragmentation experiment in the Amazon, and helped us understand extinction debt, and the value of preserving continuous tracts of land. In his various avatars, Tom wielded the power and influence of institutions like the World Bank, the Smithsonian, and the White House to push for large scale environmental protection and sustainable development.

Tom had a long history with Yale, earning both his B.S., and Ph.D. here. He worked with G. Evelyn Hutchinson for his PhD, and as an undergraduate, collected zoological specimens in Egypt as part of the Charles A. Reed led Yale University Prehistoric Expedition to Nubia. His collections are housed at the Peabody. Tom served on the external advisory board for YIBS ever since its inception and was also on the Peabody’s leadership council. Tom had long recognized the power of museums to bring people closer to nature, and as avenues to tell the story of life on earth. He believed that the more people understood and valued biodiversity, the more they would do to protect it. YIBS was very special to Tom. He understood its value in bringing talented and creative people together in the scientific enterprise for a better understanding of life on earth, and letting the scholarship lead the way to better solutions. Much of what he accomplished in his life was by bringing the right people together.

I was lucky enough to be one of Tom’s graduate students at George Mason University. In true Hutchinsonian fashion, he didn’t want to create a copy of himself, but encouraged me to follow my passion for paleobiology. Despite his busy schedule, he would make time to indulge me by inviting me to paleontology lectures in Washington D.C. and connected me with his friends and colleagues in museums around the world. He once told me that as a custodian of deep time, it was my responsibility to use my knowledge of the past environment to communicate the long-term consequences of climate change and extinction on the biosphere. He was always humble, and kind, and relished conversations about adventures in the Amazon, the gorillas of Virunga, or the voyages of Alfred Russell Wallace. With his passing, ecology and conservation biology has lost one of its foremost champions, and for me, a dear friend.

Advait Jukar, Gaylord Donnelley Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Anthropology