NatureServe Names Thomas Brooks VP for Science and Chief Scientist
Highly Regarded Conservation Scientist Brings Expertise in Threatened Species and Ecosystems
Arlington, Virginia (March 2, 2010) — NatureServe today announced that Thomas Brooks, Ph.D., has joined the organization as vice president for science and chief scientist. In his new role, Brooks will lead a conservation science group comprised of research botanists and zoologists; terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecologists; and science information specialists.
“I am proud to welcome such an accomplished scientist and passionate spokesperson for the conservation of our natural heritage to the NatureServe team,” said NatureServe president and CEO Mary Klein. “Tom’s depth of expertise will provide outstanding leadership for our conservation science programs, projects, and partnerships.”
As chief scientist, Brooks will play a central role enhancing the unique scientific knowledge, methods, and tools that NatureServe maintains and develops. He brings an exceptional range of experience to the organization, and his distinguished 18-year record of achievement spans the study of species declines, the effects of habitat destruction, protected-area gap analysis, and the values that biodiversity conservation provide to human well-being. His skills will be invaluable across numerous initiatives related to the impacts of climate change and renewable energy development, conservation action planning, and efforts to improve the condition of at-risk species and habitats before they are lost.
Brooks joins NatureServe from Conservation International, where he was vice president of Conservation Priorities and Outreach at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science. In that role he strengthened the connections between scientific and conservation activities by developing deeper knowledge about the earth’s hotspots of biodiversity, including the emerging fields of ecosystem services and climate change. He played a key role in scientific outreach through data management, publishing, and communications, and served on the executive committee of the BP Conservation Leadership Programme. Brooks also previously worked for The Nature Conservancy on a joint project with the University of Arkansas.
Born in Brighton, U.K., Brooks studied geography at the University of Cambridge and earned his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Tennessee. Brooks has conducted ornithological and ecological fieldwork in the tropical forests of eastern Paraguay, the Kenya highlands, the Philippines and Indonesia, and the Florida Everglades. ”I’m delighted to join NatureServe,” said Brooks. “I am particularly enthusiastic about helping to maximize the conservation impact of the fantastic biodiversity data collected through the network’s natural heritage programs and conservation data centers.”
Brooks is the author more than 170 scientific and popular articles — 19 of which were published in the prestigious journals Nature and Science. He has also co-edited seven books. He holds visiting positions at the World Agroforestry Center at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, in the Department of Geography at the University of Tasmania, and in the Center for Tropical Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has served on the IUCN Species Survival Commission Steering Committee since 2004 and co-chairs the joint IUCN Species Survival Commission/World Commission on Protected Areas taskforce on “Biodiversity and Protected Areas.”