DR. DEE BOERSMA

Dr. Boersma holds the Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science at the University of Washington and is the founder and executive editor of Conservation magazine – an award winning publication dedicated to conservation science. Dubbed the “Jane Goodall of penguins” by the New York Times, seabirds are her passion. She has shown that even a small oil spill over a hundred kilometers from their nest can cause fork-tailed storm-petrels to feed contaminated food to their offspring, and that climate variation can cause Galapagos penguins to desert their eggs and chicks. Dr. Boersma considers penguins "marine sentinels," sounding the alarm on environmental threats to ocean ecosystems.

For over 30 years, she has directed the Wildlife Conservation Society's study of Magellanic penguins at Punta Tombo, Argentina, home of the world's largest colony of Magellanic penguins. Dr. Boersma and her students follow the lives of individual penguins, monitor the colony, and develop the data needed to plan effective conservation efforts. In the Galapagos Islands, she is building “condos” to increase the Galapagos penguin population.

Dr. Boersma was the recipient of a 2009 Heinz Foundation award for achievements leading toward a cleaner, greener and more sustainable world, a recipient of a 2010 Fulbright fellowship to study wildlife videography in New Zealand, and in 2011 was named one of the Nature Conservancy's "Conservation Heroes of the last 50 years." In 2012, she received the Ocean Conservation Award from the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. She recently co-edited the book Penguins: Natural History and Conservation.