The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced today that Peter Kareiva is stepping down from his full-time position as TNC’s chief scientist to become director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California-Los Angeles, where he has also been appointed professor of environmental science.
Kareiva will continue to play a key leadership role at TNC as the senior science advisor to TNC President and CEO Mark Tercek. He will also serve as the chairman of TNC’s Science Cabinet. In this capacity, he will help guide and mentor a new team of world-class lead scientists. This cabinet has been created to provide high-level science aimed at the global challenges conservation now faces. He will also serve on two key advisory boards: TNC’s Science Council and the board of the Science for Nature and People (SNAP) partnership.
Kareiva’s position with UCLA will further TNC’s efforts to build close collaborations with leading universities and their scientists. TNC recognizes that deep collaborations with world-class universities through programs like the Natural Capital Project and NatureNet Science Fellows Program are key to accelerating progress on environmental challenges.
“We are excited to strengthen our collaboration with a world-class university like UCLA,” Tercek said. “Peter’s new role will be a great opportunity to accelerate innovation in the NGO world while elevating the real-world application of academic research.”
Kareiva joined TNC’s staff in 2002 after more than 20 years working in academia and at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he directed the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Conservation Biology Division.
Kareiva views his move as further evidence that the science worlds of universities, governments and NGOs are increasingly permeable.
“I know that today’s scientists want to make a difference, and there is no better place to do that than at a great NGO like The Nature Conservancy or in a great government agency like NOAA. But the best place to do basic research is still the university,” Kareiva said. “It is important to realize one can move back and forth between these sectors and carry with her or him lessons from each sector.”
In addition to his duties as TNC’s chief scientist, Kareiva’s current projects emphasize the interplay of human land-use and biodiversity, resilience in the face of global change and marine conservation.
Kareiva has authored more than 100 scientific articles in such diverse fields as mathematical biology, fisheries science, insect ecology, risk analysis, genetically engineered organisms, agricultural ecology, population viability analysis, behavioral ecology, landscape ecology and global climate change.
In 2007, Kareiva was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2011 he was named a member of the National Academy of Sciences for his excellence in original scientific research.