Speaker Bio: Professor Stuart Chapin

Terry Chapin

Prof. Stuart "Terry" Chapin

Professor F. Stuart Chapin III – known by many simply as ‘Terry’ – is Professor Emeritus of Ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Initially an economics major, Chapin switched his degree to Biology and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1966. After a couple of years spent in Colombia as part of the Peace Corps, he obtained his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University. Since then, he has been based predominantly in Alaska, save for a brief stint (1989-1998) at the University of California, Berkley.

Though his research initially dealt with questions of how plants adapt to low nutrient availability, Chapin has since shifted his focus to addresses the sustainability of ecosystems and human communities in a rapidly changing planet. Over the past 15 years, Chapin has participated in several international commissions focused on the environment and climate, including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which examined worldwide climate change and ecosystems. “I learned of the tremendous magnitude of human impacts through global change. It redirected my scientific interest, because I felt if people are having this large an impact on Earth, it’s really important to do research to improve our understanding of the societal consequences of these impacts,” he says.

Notwithstanding his other numerous achievements, it is worth noting that in 2004, Chapin became the first Alaskan to be nominated to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2008, he was awarded by the Ecological Society of America with the Sustainability Science Award, and went on to become the Society’s president from 2010 to 2011. He is currently an editor of Ecology and Society, an Executive Board Member of the Resilience Alliance, and Director of the Resilience and Adaptation Program at the University of Alaska. Finally, in his free time, Chapin is an accomplished viola player for the Fairbanks Symphony.

Visit his website: http://terrychapin.org/

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