Keynote Speakers

Thomas lovejoyDr. Thomas E. Lovejoy

Keynote talk:  A Half Century of Amazon Ornithology; Monday, 20 July 2014

Tom Lovejoy is an innovative and accomplished conservation biologist. He serves as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. In 2010 he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. He served as President (2002-2008) and Biodiversity Chair (2008-2013) of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment. Before this, Lovejoy was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation. Spanning the political spectrum, Lovejoy has served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. At the core of these many influential positions are Lovejoy’s seminal ideas, which have formed and strengthened the field of conservation biology. He was the first to use the term “biological diversity” in 1980. In the 1980s, he brought international attention to the world’s tropical rainforests, and in particular, the Brazilian Amazon, where he has worked since 1965. In 1980 he produced the first projection of global extinctions for the Global 2000 Report to the President. Lovejoy also developed the now ubiquitous “debt-for-nature” swap programs and conceived the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems (now Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragements) project. With two co-edited books (1992 and 2005), he is credited with founding the field of climate change biology. He and Lee Hannah are working on the Second Edition of Climate Change and Biodiversity. He also founded the series Nature, the popular long-term series on public television. In 2001, Lovejoy was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. In 2009 he was the winner of BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology Category. In 2009 he was appointed Conservation Fellow by the National Geographic. In 2012 he was recognized by the Blue Planet Prize. Lovejoy holds B.S. and Ph.D (biology) degrees from Yale University.


PodosDr. Jeffrey E. Podos

Keynote talk:  Galapagos finches in a web of adaptation; Monday evening, 20 July 2014

Jeff Podos is a Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, where he is also currently director of the graduate program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. His research examines the evolution, function, and development of communication systems, especially bird song. Laboratory studies focus on mechanisms of song production and learning in North American sparrows. Field studies focus on vocal constraints and evolution in Galapagos finches, and on signal function and sexual selection in blue-black grassquits, in collaboration with University of Brasilia researcher Regina Macedo. He has authored over 70 articles and book chapters, is co-editor of a recently published book Animal Signaling and Function: An Integrative Approach, and is an elected fellow of the American Ornithologists Union. Podos has served on Animal Behavior Society (ABS) executive committee as Member-at-large (2008-2011), and has been elected to the ABS Presidential cycle starting June 2015. He was associated editor of the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology from 2005-2008, and editor of the journal Animal Behaviour from 2008-2011. He received his B.S. from Franklin & Marshall College, his Ph.D. from Duke University, held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and was a Visiting Research Scientist at the National Institute of Amazon Research (INPA) in Manaus, Brazil.


caracraft.jpgDr. Joel L. Cracraft

Keynote talk:  South America: the Cradle of Avian Evolution; Tuesday, 21 July 2014

Joel Cracraft is Lamont Curator of Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Columbia University and the City University of New York, in New York, USA. Research interests are in systematic biology, biological diversification, and biogeography. Current research focuses mostly on the higher level systematics of birds and the radiation of the large Australian endemic avifauna, including birds-of-paradise, using both molecular sequence and morphological data. He has written or edited books on phylogenetic systematics, phylogenetic analysis of molecular data, the biodiversity crisis, the Tree of Life, and the teaching of evolution, in addition to over 180 scientific papers. He is a recipient of the Elliott Coues Award from the American Ornithologists’ Union, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served as President of the Society of Systematic Biologists and of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Over the past two decades he has been active in “biopolitical” efforts to promote systematics and biodiversity science, including Systematics Agenda 2000/US (co-chair), Systematics Agenda 2000 International (Steering Committee), and the international biodiversity science program Diversitas (Scientific Steering Committee). He was a member of a Biodiversity Panel for President Clinton’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology as well as on committees of the National Research Council. He also served as an advisor to the American Civil Liberties Union at the Arkansas creation trial in 1981. He received his Bachelor’s from the University of Oklahoma, Master’s from Louisiana State University, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University.


Cris Foto Caninde copyDr. Cristina Yumi Miyaki

Keynote talk:  How can Genetic Data Assist the Conservation of Parrot Species?; Thursday, 23 July 2014

Cristina Miyaki is a Professor of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology at the Institute of Biosciences at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil, where she also earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees.  She has dedicated much of her career to understanding  parrot biology through application of genetic techniques.  She maintains an active lab of graduate students, undergrads, and post-docs, and has published scores of papers on topics including phylogenetic relationships, historical biogeography, ecological genetics, and conservation of a variety of avian groups, especially parrots.  She currently serves or has served in leadership positions in professional societies, including the Sociedade Brasileira de Genética, Sociedade Brasileira de Ornitologia, Neotropical Ornithological Society, and International Ornithological Committee, and participates in the development of Brazilian National Action Plans for the conservation of endangered parrots.  Cris also participates in numerous collaborative and international initiatives in genetic research and in 2000 earned the State of São Paulo’s Medal of Merit in Science and Technology for work on the genome of the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa.


220px-RICHARD_PRUM_7Dr. Richard O. Prum

Keynote talk:  The Evolution of Avian Beauty; Friday, 24 July 2014

Rick Prum is Curator of Ornithology and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.  He is an evolutionary ornithologist with broad interests in avian biology, including avian phylogenetics, behavioral evolution, feather evolution and development, sexual selection and mate choice, sexual conflict, aesthetic evolution, avian color vision, structural color, carotenoid pigmentation, evolution of avian plumage coloration, historical biogeography, avian mimicry, and the theropod dinosaur origin of birds. He has conducted fieldwork throughout the Neotropics and in Madagascar, and has studied fossil theropods in China.  Rick has authored more than 100 scientific articles throughout his career, including papers in most top scientific journals.  He has served as Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and is currently Director of the Franke Program in Science, a new initiative at Yale that aims to foster communication, mutual understanding, collaborative research and teaching among diverse scientific and humanistic disciplines.  But most important is the fact that he appreciates beauty and has devoted many years to understanding the underlying mechanisms behind beautiful avian plumages and surprising behaviors.