The Bass Visiting Environmental Scholars Program brings premier scholars in any field dealing with the study of the environment, past or present, to Yale for an extended period of time. The scholars are nominated through the YIBS Faculty Affiliates, and while in residence at Yale, scholars present seminars, interact with faculty, students and research groups, and participate in the life of one or more academic units.
Dr. Rita Colwell was named as the inaugural Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Environmental Scholar in the spring of 2005, and YIBS has hosted upwards of 35 scholars since then.
Current Bass Environmental Scholars
Research description: John Damuth (Ezra Stiles, ’74) has held a Research Biologist position at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since 1988. His primary graduate training was in evolutionary biology and paleobiology, emphasizing terrestrial mammals, but he has published work on a wide variety of topics in ecology and evolution — allometry and scaling, ecological correlates of body size, multilevel selection theory, macroevolution, ecological analysis of fossil communities, ecology and functional morphology of fossil and living mammalian herbivores.
His project as a YIBS visiting scholar is the completion of a book, entitled “Nonadaptive Selection: Evolutionary Sources of Ecological Laws,” co-authored with Lev Ginzburg (Stony Brook), to be published by the University of Chicago Press. In it we argue that there is a class of selective processes in biological systems, at various levels, that do not, and cannot result in adaptation to local conditions. Such processes act to remove unstable internal configurations and are of particular importance in generating and maintaining structural regularities in systems at the community level and above.
Fellowship dates: September 2019 - August 2020
Research description: Professor Mazer (Pierson, ’81) has been on the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara since 1987. Her research spans a range of approaches to the study of the process and outcome of natural selection on reproductive traits in plants. These approaches include the application of quantitative genetics, artificial selection, phenotypic selection in wild populations, pollination biology, machine learning, and specimen-based research to the study of adaptation within and among wild angiosperm species.
During her sabbatical at YIBS, she is examining the effects of historical and contemporary climate conditions on the evolution of seed size and flowering time (phenology) at a variety of scales, from detailed studies of iconic California wildflower species (in the genera Streptanthus, Clarkia, and Nemophila) to continent-wide studies across thousands of species in the United States. One goal is to be able to forecast the effects of upcoming climate change on the phenology of species occupying distinct habitats and climatic conditions.
Fellowship dates: September 2019 - August 2020
Past Bass Environmental Scholars
|P. David Polly (American paleontologist and the Robert R. Shrock Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Indiana University)||Spring 2019|
|Mark Swilling (Distinguished Professor and Programme Coordinator: Sustainable Development in the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch and Academic Director of the Sustainability Institute)||Spring 2018|
|Nancy Knowlton (coral reef biologist and is the Smithsonian Institution’s Sant Chair for Marine Science)||Fall 2017|
|Robert Wallace (Director, Greater Madidi - Tambopata Landscape & Amazon Landscape Conservation Expert Wildlife Conservation Society)||Spring 2017|
|Roy Plotnick (Professor Invertebrate Paleontology, Landscape Ecology, Statistical Methods)||Spring 2017|
|Aaron Ellison (ecologist & environmental conservationist)||Spring 2016|
|Ana Magdalena Hurtado (evolutionary anthropologist)||Spring 2016|
|Julia Marton-Lefèvre (environmentalist & academic)||Spring 2016|
|Grae Worster (fluid dynamicist)||Spring 2016|
|Bill Weber (wildlife conservationist)||Spring 2014|
|Jeremy Jackson (marine ecologist & paleontologist)||Spring 2014|
|Jonathan Bloch (paleontologist)||Spring 2013|
|Hugh Possingham (conservation biologist)||Spring 2013|
|Carlos Jaramillo (paleobiologist & geologist)||Fall 2012 & Spring 2013|
|Arne Mooers (evolutionary biologist)||Spring 2012|
|Scott Wing (biologist)||Spring 2012|
|Daniel Lashof (climate policy expert)||Fall 2011|
|Dame Alison Richard (anthropologist & conservationist)||Summer & Fall 2011|
|Kevin de Queiroz (zoologist)||Spring 2011|
|Link Olson (biologist)||Spring 2011|
|Paul Richards (anthropologist)||Spring 2011|
|Rosemary & Peter Grant (evolutionary biologists)||Fall 2010|
|David Fox (evolutionary paleoecologist)||Spring 2010|
|Inez Fung (atmospheric scientist)||Fall 2009 & Spring 2010|
|Michael Benton (paleontologist)||Spring 2009|
|David Beerling (geobiologist)||Fall 2008 & Spring 2009|
|Christian Koerner (botanist)||Spring 2007|
|William Cronon (environmental historian)||Spring 2007|
|Michael Teitelbaum (demographer)||Fall 2006 & Spring 2007|
|Stephen Sparks (volcanologist)||Fall 2006 & Spring 2007|
|Dorceta Taylor (sociologist)||Fall 2005|
|Rita Colwell (environmental microbiologist)||Spring 2005|