Biology Professor Camille Parmesan Honored for Conservation Leadership

Nov. 5, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas — The nation's leading conservation education and advocacy group has honored Dr. Camille Parmesan, associate professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin, with its National Conservation Achievement Award for exemplary leadership in protecting the environment and natural resources.

Camille Parmesan

Dr. Camille Parmesan

Photo: Marsha Miller

Parmesan was selected for her role in educating the public on the risks posed to our natural heritage by global warming. She received the award at the National Wildlife Federation's annual awards banquet Oct. 31 in Washington, D.C.

"Dr. Parmesan has been a true leader within the scientific community on global warming," said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. "Her research indicates the clock is ticking for wildlife across the globe."

In 1996 Parmesan published one of the first studies to document a range shift of a North American wildlife species, the Edith's Checkerspot butterfly, due to climate change.

Her latest study, published in the December 2006 issue of the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, examined effects of global warming on terrestrial, marine and freshwater species. The study drew widespread attention as it showed that species around the globe are disappearing due to climate change at a much faster rate than had earlier been predicted.

The study also showed that while some species are evolving in response to climate change, the changes observed are not sufficient to prevent expected species' extinctions over the coming century.

Parmesan's work has been featured in many scientific and popular press reports, such as Science, Science News, New York Times, London Times, National Public Radio and the recent BBC film series "State of the Planet" with David Attenborough. It also served as a crucial foundation of the National Wildlife Federation's amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency.

Parmesan is renowned for her climate change expertise, giving seminars for the White House, government agencies and non-governmental organizations, and serving as a lead author of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Al Gore.

For more information contact: Lee Clippard, College of Natural Sciences, 512-232-0675; Lacey McCormick, 512-610-7765.