Dr. Dee Boersma

Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science, Professor

Dr. Boersma started working at the University of Washington in 1974 as an Assistant Professor . Fieldwork has always been her passion and some of her work spans decades. She has worked on Galpagos penguin for nearly 50 years, Fork-tailed storm-petrels in Alaska for a decade, and Magellanic penguins in Argentina for nearly 40 years. Punta Tombo, in the early 1980’s was the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in the world but has declined to about half the number of breeding pairs it had at its’ peak. Her studies helped move tanker lanes farther offshore to decrease the number of penguins swimming through petroleum and helped to inform legislation for Marine Protected areas in the Province of Chubut, Argentina. A number of organizations, foundations, and people, have supported her studies. The longest supporters include the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Tortuga foundation. Dr. Boersma was a finalist for the prestigious Indianapolis Prize three times. She enjoys the penguin colony because it is noisy, bustling with activity, over 100 miles from the nearest city, and often internet free. She is the Director of the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels at the University of Washington in the Department of Biology and holds the Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science. In 2020 she endowed the Boersma Chair in Natural History and Conservation in the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels.

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 Environmental 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 2012)
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, 2013- to date)
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)
President, Society for Conservation Biology (1997-1999) Past President (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 (1991-2001)
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)


 Recent publications: 

  • Sydeman, W., Hunt, G., Pikitch, E., Parrish, J., Piatt, J., Boersma, P.D., Kaufman, L., Anderson, D., Thompson, S., Sherley, R.. 2021. South Africa’s experimental fisheries closures and recovery of the endangered African penguin. ICES Journal of Marine Science. In Review.
  • Rebstock, G, Abrahms, A., and Boersma, P.D. 2021. Site fidelity increases reproductive success by increasing foraging efficiency in a marine predator. Behavioral Ecology. In Review.
  • Cole, T., Zhou, C., Fang, M., Pan, H., Ksepka, D.T., Fiddaman, S., Emerling C., Thomas, D.B., Bi, X., Fang, Q., Ellegaard, M., Feng, S., Smith, A.L., Heath, T.A., Tennyson, A.J.D., Borboroglu, P.G., Wood, J.R., Hadden, P., Grosser, S., Bost, C, Cherel, Y, Mattern, T., Hart, T., Sinding, M.S., Shepherd, L.D., Phillips, R.A>, Quillfeldt, P., Masello, J.F., Bouzat, J.L., Ryan, P.G., Thompson, D.R., Ellenberg, U., Dann, P., Miller, G., Boersma, P.D., Zhao, R., Gilbert, M.T.P, Yang, H., Zhang, D., and Zhang G. Genomic insights into the secondary aquatic transition of penguins. Nature Genetics. In review
  • Holt, K.A. and Boersma, P.D. 2021. Unprecedented heat mortality of Magellanic penguins. Ornithological Applications. In Review.
  • Rebstock, G., Borboroglu P.G., and Boersma P.D. 2021. Effective marine protection depends on colony and year for a widespread seabird, the Magellanic penguin. Frontiers. In Review.
  • Cappello, C.D. and Boersma, P.D. 2021. Consequences of phenological shifts and a compressed breeding period in Magellanic penguins. Ecology. e03443 doi:10.1002/ecy.3443
  • W. J. Sydeman, Schoeman D. S., Thompson A, Hoover B.A., García-Reyes M, Daunt, F, Agnew, P., Anker-Nilssen T., Barbraud C, BarreI R., Becker, P.H., Bell, E., Boersma, P.D., Bouwhuis S., Cannel B., Crawford R.J.M., Dann P., Delord K., EllioI G., Erikstad, K.E., Flint E., Furness R.W., Harris M.P., Hatch S., Hilwig K., Hinke J.T., Jahncke J., Mills J.S., Reiertsen T.K., Renner H., Sher- ley R.B. Surman C., Taylor G., Thayer J.A., Trathan P.N., Velarde E., Walker K., Wanless S., Warzybok P., and Watanuk Y. 2021. Hemispheric asymmetry in ocean change and the productivity of ecosystem sentinels. Science. 372 (6545): 980-983 doi.org/10.1126/science.abf1772
  • Baylis, A.M.M., de Lecea, A.M., Tierney, M., Orben, R.A., Ratcliffe, N., Wakefield, E., Catry, P., Campioni, L., Costa, M., Boersma, P.D., GalimberN, F., Granadeiro, J.P., Masello, J.F., Pütz, K., Quillfeldt, P., Rebstock, G.A., Sanvito, S., Staniland, and I.J. and Brickle, P. (2021), Overlap between marine predators and proposed Marine Managed Areas on the Patagonian Shelf. Ecological Applications 00( 00):e02426. doi.org/10.1002/eap.2426
  • Gownaris, N.J., and Boersma, P.D. 2021. Feet first: AdapNve growth in magellanic penguin chicks. Ecol Evol. 2021; 11: 4339– 4352.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7331