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CONTACT:
Michael Wall, Ph.D.
Director of the Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias
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mwall@sdnhm.org


Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra
Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra

Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra
Nominated As Pew Fellow

By Margi Dykens, Research Librarian

A respected expert in the ecology of deserts and coastal ecosystems of Baja California and the Sea of Cort?s, Exequiel Ezcurra, Ph.D., director of the Biodiversity Research Center at the San Diego Natural History Museum, has won the world’s most prestigious award in marine conservation.

One of five awardees of the 2006 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, Dr. Ezcurra will receive $150,000 to conduct a three-year conservation project and becomes part of the world’s premier network for ocean science and marine conservation. Now celebrating its 16th anniversary, the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation has, since its inception, selected 94 Pew Marine Conservation Fellows from more than 20 countries who have completed projects across the globe. Their fellowships are funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

“In the tradition of the Pew Fellows, Dr. Ezcurra’s work in the ecology of deserts and coastal ecosystems has distinguished him as a pioneer of marine conservation, discovering new solutions for protecting and preserving our oceans worldwide,” says Ellen Pikitch, Ph.D., a Pew Fellow herself and executive director of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Dr. Ezcurra's Pew Fellowship will focus on developing a regional plan to manage the Sea of Cort?s as a whole, single ecosystem in order to reduce the region’s increasing environmental degradation. The Argentine native received his Ph.D. in mathematical ecology at the University of North Wales in Bangor, United Kingdom, and a degree in natural resource management from the Universidad de Buenos Aires.

An international committee of marine specialists selected the 2006 Pew Fellows, based on their potential to protect ocean environments. The other 2006 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation are Narriman Jiddawi, Tanzania, jointly with Glenn-Marie Lange, USA; William Kostka, Federated States of Micronesia; Robert Richmond, USA; and Enric Sala, USA.

The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation is part of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, in partnership with the University of Miami. The Pew Institute for Ocean Science strives to undertake, sponsor, and promote world-class scientific activity aimed at protecting the world's oceans and the species that inhabit them.

Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra is director of the Museum’s scientific research division, the Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias (BRCC), and simultaneously serves as Provost of the Museum, the Museum’s highest ranking academic office, in tandem with his director position.

As Provost, Dr. Ezcurra directs the Museum’s science departments and research efforts, including the organization and leading of research expeditions. He also promotes cooperation with the Mexican government and environmental and scientific organizations.

Dr. Ezcurra is a highly regarded scientist whose international experience and contacts greatly enhance the Museum’s research and education endeavors. Dr. Ezcurra has written over 70 articles for scientific journals, eight books, (the most recent is A New Island Biogeography of the Sea of Cort?s) and 40 book chapters. He also co-produced the Museum’s award-winning giant-screen film
Ocean Oasis.

Highlights of his 30-year career include developing the first environmental impact assessments in Mexico and promoting creation of the California Condor release program in Baja California, Mexico. He has received numerous awards for his professional contributions to the field on ecology, including the prestigious Conservation Biology Award from the Society for Conservation Biology in 1994.

Most recently, Dr. Ezcurra was President of the National Institute of Ecology (INE) for Mexico. Appointed by President Vicente Fox in 2001, he was in charge of the national research organization that supplies research results to the federal government and the public. While directing the think tank, he focused on making the results of science accessible—this is apparent on the INE web site. During the three years he served, the number of pages (journals, articles, and even complete books) downloaded from INE’s web site increased 17 fold, a testament to the success of his campaign to broaden the dissemination of INE research findings.


Ezcurra Editing Desert Book

In recognition of his long-standing research on global conservation issues, his international reputation as a desert ecologist and as a highly sophisticated scientific writer, Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra has been selected as editor and technical coordinator for the publication of an important upcoming book on the deserts of the world, for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

In addition to his editorial responsibilities, Dr. Ezcurra is also writing the lead chapter of the book, Global Environment Outlook for Deserts. The publication is timed as part of the celebration of the year 2006 as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification, according to a United Nations resolution. The main purpose of the book, which has an extremely broad scope, is to provide up-to-date information concerning current environmental opportunities and challenges in the many desert regions of the world.

The targeted audience includes decision-makers in government agencies, NGOs, development agencies, academicians, and the public at large. Emphasis will be on such topics as the evolution and biogeography of deserts, biological adaptations to aridity, trends in land use in deserts, species endangerment, people and deserts, and sustainability and human well-being in deserts.


SAN DIEGO NATURAL HISTORY: FIELD NOTES, April 2006

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