P. Dee Boersma, Ph.D.

Boersma (1)

Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science, Professor

Boersma’s academic research is in the area of conservation biology and has focused on seabirds as indicators of environmental change.

Dr. Boersma is the Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science in the University of Washington’s department of Biology. She has been at the University of Washington since 1974, initially as professor of Zoology and then as professor of Biology following the merger of the Zoology, Biology and Botany departments. She was Acting Chair of the Biology department from 2005 to 2006 and is an adjunct faculty member in the Women Studies department.

Since 1982, she has directed the Magellanic Penguin Project at Punta Tombo, Argentina, in her role as a scientific fellow for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Since then, she has carried out research on Magellanic penguins in the South Atlantic, assessing their biological characteristics and the effects of human perturbations and policy changes on their survival.

Dr. Boersma has also been enlisted to take on numerous national and international leadership and advisory positions in such diverse roles as member of the Board of Trustees of Central Michigan University, as an advisor to the United States Delegation to the United Nations World Population Conference in Romania, as a member of President Nixon’s Task Force of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities, and as a member of the Board of Directors of Zero Population Growth. In addition, Professor Boersma was associate director of the Institute for Environmental Studies from 1987-1993.


Honorary Doctorate, 2003, Central Michigan University, Michigan

Ph.D. Zoology, 1974, Ohio State University, Ohio

B.Sc.(Honors)  Biology, 1969, Central Michigan University, Michigan


Fulbright Fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand (2010)

Heinz Award (2009)

American Ornithologists’ Union Elliott Coues Award (2008)

Grace Hopper Outstanding Achievement Award (2008)

Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, National Academies (2006-2007)

Distinguished Service Award, Society for Conservation Biology (2006)

Leopold Fellow (2000-2001)

AAAS Fellow, Elected (2000)

Pew Fellow in Conservation and the Environment (1997-2000)

William Evans Visiting Fellow, University of Otago, New Zealand (1995)

Elected Fellow, American Ornithologists’ Union (1994)

Dean’s Achievement Award, University of Washington (1994)

Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Washington (1993)

Outstanding Centennial Alumni Award, Central Michigan University (1993)

Top 10 Outsiders of the Year Award, Outside magazine (1987)

Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship (1982-1985)


Board of Directors, Natural History Network (2008 to date)

Executive Editor, Conservation Biology In Practice (2000 to date)

Advisory Board, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park (1994 to date)

Scientific Advisor, Penguin Taxon Advisory Group, AAZPA (1992 to date)

Scientific Fellow, Wildlife Conservation Society N.Y.Z.S, elected (1982 to date)

Board of Directors, Peregrine Fund (1995-2002, 2003 -2012)

Member, U.S. National Committee, International Union for Biological Science (2001-2007)

Governing Board, Ecological Society of American (2004-2006)

Board of Directors, Islandwood (2001-2006)

Board of Editors, El Horneno (2002-2005)

Board of Governors, Society for Conservation Biology (1991-2005)

Ocean Science Advisory Board, Conservation International (2002-2004)

Naturalist, Lindblad Expeditions, Antarctica (2001-2004)

Board of Scientific Experts Comm. Partnership for Science and the Sea (2000-2004)

Advisory Board Island Press: Initiative on Environmental Instruction (1999-2004)

Board of Editors, Ecological Applications (1999-2002)

CRC Science Review Committee, Smithsonian (2001)

Past President, Society for Conservation Biology (1999-2001)

Principal Investigator, National Review of Recovery Plans for SCB and FWS (1998-2001)

Board of Directors, Bullitt Foundation (1997-2001)

Society for Conservation Biology, Board of Governors (1991-current; President 1997-1999)

Peregrine Fund, Board of Directors (1995-1998)

Washington Nature Conservancy, Board of Directors (1997-1998)

Bullitt Foundation, Board of Directors (1997-1998)

Pacific Seabird Group, Regional Representative (1981-1985)

Department of the Interior, Endangered Species Subcommittee, Chair (1979-1983)


Dr. Boersma’s Publications

Dr. Boersma’s Talk and Interviews