Chief Scientist Connects With NatureServe Mission
Thomas Brooks, Ph.D., joined NatureServe on March 1 as vice president for science and chief scientist. Brooks came to 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.
Brooks earned a B.A., with honors, in geography from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Tennessee. 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. Brooks has conducted ornithological and ecological fieldwork in the tropical forests of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, as well as in the Florida Everglades.
“The world is finally waking up to the critical importance of investing in the collection and dissemination of rigorous scientific data on species and ecosystems. NatureServe has been doing this for decades—and so stands to play a key leadership role here. I’m tremendously excited, and honored, to have the chance join the NatureServe team at this pivotal time.”
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.
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. He 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 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.”