PI: James Estes, University of California, Santa Cruz; John Terborgh, Duke University*
Dr. James Estes, Research Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Dr. John Terborgh, Director of the Duke University Center for Tropical Conservation, convened a group of 21 world-class scientists who have studied the ecological roles of large predators.
James Estes, PhD
Dr. James Estes is an international expert on sea otters and a specialist in the critical role of apex (top level) predators in the marine environment.
He has been a research biologist at the Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey for more than 20 years.
Estes also holds academic posts as research associate and adjunct professor with the Center for Marine Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
interest in predation as an ecosystem-level process began in the early 1970s, after he
began working with sea otters.
Using the otters' fragmented distribution across the Aleutian archipelago (which resulted from a history of near-extinction and recovery), he
and a colleague discovered the species' keystone role in kelp forests by comparing islands where it was abundant or rare.
This work provided a spectacular example of how apex predators influence ecosystem functions.
continued to explore the dimensions of sea otter-kelp forest interactions over the next 30 years, including the unanticipated collapse of sea otters and kelp forests in western Alaska.
He has now published nearly 70 scientific articles and reports on wildlife ecology, predation and conservation, and was lead editor of the 2007 book, "Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems.
is a recipient of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation (1999).
Dr. Estes' Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation webpage