Dr. Dee Boersma

Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science, Professor

Dr. Boersma 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. Fieldwork has always been her passion, and her work spans 5 decades. In the 1970’s she started working with Galápagos penguins to determine how many there were, and now is trying to expand their population by providing high quality nests. Fork-tailed storm-petrels in Alaska kept her busy for a decade, and her Magellanic penguins studies in Argentina continued for over 40 years. She enjoys the penguin colony because it is noisy, bustling with activity, is over 100 miles from the nearest city, and often internet free. Dr. Boersma’s studies helped move tanker lanes farther offshore to decrease the number of penguins swimming through petroleum and informed legislation for Marine Protected areas in the Province of Chubut, Argentina. She’s been honored as a finalist for the Indianapolis Prize three times. In 2020 she endowed the Boersma Chair in Natural History and Conservation in the Center for Ecosystem Sentinel to ensure a place for long-term conservation studies at the university.
Download Dr. Boersma’s full CV (PDF)


Honorary Doctorate, 2003, Central Michigan University, Michigan
Ph.D. Zoology, 1974, Ohio State University, Ohio
B.Sc.(Honors) Biology, 1969, Central Michigan University, Michigan

Select Awards and Honors

Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2021)
Finalist, Indianapolis Prize (2016, 2018, 2020)
Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, Ohio State University (2019)
Lifelong Learning Award, University of Washington (2018)
Pacific Seabird Group Lifetime Achievement Award (2017)
Mortar Board Alumni Achievement Award, Chicago IL (2012)
Ocean Conservation Award, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA (2012)
Naperville High School, Outstanding Alumni Award, Naperville, IL (2012)
Washington State Academy of Science, Elected (2011)
The Nature Conservancy of Washington Environmental Hero (2010)
Fulbright US Senior Scholar, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (2010)

Select Leadership Positions

Co-chair, Penguin Specialist Group, International Union for Conservation of Nature (2014 to date)
Board of Directors, Peregrine Fund (1995–2002, 2003–2012, 2014 to date)
Editorial Board, PeerJ (2012 to date)
Board of Directors, Natural History Network (2008 to date)
Scientific Advisor, Penguin Taxon Advisory Group, AAZPA (1992 to date)
Scientific Fellow, Wildlife Conservation Society N.Y.Z.S, elected (1982-2020)
Executive Editor, Conservation Biology In Practice (2000 to 2014)
Advisory Board, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park (1994 to 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)
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 (2020 to date)

  • Wagner, E., Frere, E., Boersma, P.D. 2023. Changing course: Relocating commercial tanker lanes significantly reduces threat of chronic oiling for a top marine predator. Marine Pollution Bulletin 193: 115-195 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.115195
  • Clark-Wolf, T.J., Boersma, P.D., Rebstock, G., and Abrahms, B. 2022. Climate presses and pulses mediate the decline of a migratory predator. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120(3): e2209821120 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2209821120
  • Wagner, E.L., Cappello, C.D.*, and Boersma, P.D. 2022. Should I stay or should I go: Factors in- fluencing mate retention and divorce rates in a colonial seabird. Animal Behaviour In Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2022.08.002
  • Rebstock, G., Borboroglu P.G., and Boersma P.D. 2022. Effective marine protection depends on colony and year for a widespread seabird, the Magellanic penguin. Frontiers in Marine Science 9:815706 https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.815706
  • Holt, K.A. and Boersma, P.D. 2022. Unprecedented heat mortality of Magellanic penguins. Ornithological Applications 124: 1-12 doi.org/10.1093/ornithapp/duab052
    Rebstock, G., Abrahms, B., and Boersma, P.D. 2022. Foraging-site fidelity inverses reproductive success by increasing foraging efficiency in a marine predator, the Magellanic penguin. Behavioral Ecology 33: 868-875. doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arac052
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsab231
  • Rebstock, G, Abrahms, A., and Boersma, P.D. 2021. Site fidelity increases reproductive success by increasing foraging efficiency in a marine predator. Behavioral Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arac052
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-31508-9
  • Holt, K.A. and Boersma, P.D. 2021. Unprecedented heat mortality of Magellanic penguins. Ornithological Applications. https://doi.org/10.1093/ornithapp/duab052
  • 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. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.815706
  • 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
  • Hailin Pan, Theresa L Cole, Xupeng Bi, Miaoquan Fang, Chengran Zhou, Zhengtao Yang, Daniel T Ksepka, Tom Hart, Juan L Bouzat, Lisa S Argilla, Mads F Bertelsen, P Dee Boersma, Charles-An- dre Bost, Yves Cherel, Peter Dann, Steven R Fiddaman, Pauline Howard, Kim Labuschagne, Thomas Mattern, Gary Miller, Patricia Parker, Richard A Phillips, Petra Quillfeldt, Peter G Ryan, Helen Taylor, David R Thompson, Melanie J Young, Martin R Ellegaard, M Thomas P Gilbert, Mikkel-Holger S Sinding, George Pacheco, Lara D Shepherd, Alan J D Tennyson, Stefanie Grosser, Emily Kay, Lisa J Nupen, Ursula Ellenberg, David M Houston, Andrew Hart Reeve, Kathryn Johnson, Juan F Masello, Thomas Stracke, Bruce McKinlay, Pablo Garc´ıa Borboroglu, De-Xing Zhang, Guojie Zhang, Correction to: High-coverage genomes to elucidate the evolution of penguins, GigaScience, V 9, Issue 3, March 2020, giaa031, https://doi.org/10.1093/gigascience/giaa031
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