James Brown

From an “Ecologist Directory” maintained by the ESA Education Office about 2004-2011. Profile circa 2004.

Degree                                                   Ph.D. 1967 (Michigan)
Position                                                 Professor
Department                                           Biology Department
Organization                                         University of New Mexico

2002 ESA Robert H. MacArthur Award

james_brown_profileWhen did you become interested in ecology?

This is hard to say. Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by animals and the outdoors. Throughout my childhood, I had a house full of pets and spent many hours watching wildlife. Having said this, however, it wasn’t until about a year after receiving my Ph.D. that I decided to become what Robert MacArthur called “a real ecologist.”

Describe your route to a career in (or using) ecology. What challenges did you need to overcome? What was your training, and what positions have you held?

Bachelors degree at Cornell University, Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, Postdoc at UCLA

Many people. My mother and Kyle Barbehen, a Cornell grad student, encouraged my early interests in natural history. Several professors at Cornell (W.J. Hamilton, J.M. Anderson, W.J. Wimsatt, C.G. Sibley, and M. Singer) and Michigan (E.T. Hooper and W.M. Dawson) were especially inspiring and encouraging. My postdoctoral mentor, G.A. Bartholomew, and Robert MacArthur were perhaps most influential in my maturation into a professional academic ecologist.

I am continuing to have the time of my life doing research and working with young people. My current research combines theoretical studies of biological scaling and the metabolic basis of ecology with continuing long-term experimental and monitoring studies in the Chihuahuan Desert. [More detail about these can be found on my website.] I am also a dedicated teacher. I especially like to work with students individually or in small groups to help them do original science and become professional scientists.

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