David George Campbell

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David George Campbell (born January 28, 1949 in Decatur, Illinois, United States) is an American educator, ecologist, environmentalist, and award-winning author of non-fiction.

Campbell spent his childhood on Eleuthera Island, Bahamas, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Grosse Pointe, Michigan. He received a BS in biology from Kalamazoo College (1971), an MS in biology from the University of Michigan (1973), and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (1984). He is married to Karen S. Lowell, a phytochemist; they have a daughter.

Bahama Islands[edit]

From 1974-1977, Campbell was the executive Director of the Bahamas National Trust,[1] the organization responsible for parks, reserves, and setting priorities for wildlife conservation in the Bahamian Archipelago. As director he established priorities for the protection of island-endemic species including the rock iguanas (Cyclura spp.) and hutias,[2] and started the process of the Bahamas becoming a signatory to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). His career in the Bahamas accumulated in the publication of The Ephemeral Islands, the first natural history of the archipelago to be published since the 1800s.

Chincoteague Bay[edit]

From 1978-1983, Campbell elucidated the etiology of gray crab disease, an amoebic pathogen that every spring kills ca. 30% of the blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) in Chincoteague Bay, VA. His research showed that the disease is spread by cannibalism, mediated by ambient temperature and salinity.[3]


In 1974, Campbell was a botanical explorer at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA)[4] in Manaus, Brazil, from where he staged expeditions to study the ethnobotany of the Jamamaji and Paumari Native Americans.[5] Campbell joined the scientific staff of the New York Botanical Garden from 1984–1990, conducting floristic inventories throughout Brazilian Amazonia as part of the Projeto Flora Amazônica program;[6] destinations included O Deserto on the Rio Xingu (Pará),[7] the Rio Falsino (Amapá), Reserva Biológica Ilha de Maracá (pt) (Roraima), the Rio Moa and Serra do Divisor National Park (Acre).

These expeditions resulted in several notable papers on allelopathy,[8] várzea floodplain forests[9][10] and anthropogenic lianaceous forests.[11] The Acre expeditions were chronicled in A Land of Ghosts, which won the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.

Antarctica, Africa and Asia[edit]

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Campbell shifted his research. He examined the impacts of elephants on west African forests,[12] the diversity of subtropical forests in southern China,[13] conducted research on the pathologies of krill and marine isopods in the waters of Admiralty Bay, King George Island (one of the South Shetlands of the Antarctic Peninsula), joined the sixth Brazilian expedition to Antarctica (1988), and lived at that nation's Comandante Ferraz Base.[14] This experience was chronicled in The Crystal Desert, which won the Burroughs Medal, the PEN Martha Albrand Award and the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award.

Grinnell College[edit]

Since 1991 Campbell has been a professor of biology, chair of environmental studies and Henry R. Luce Professor [15] in Nations and the Global Environment at Grinnell College.[16][17] From 1994-2007 he and his Grinnell students conducted studies on the historical ecology of the Yucatec, Mopan and Kekchi Maya of Belize, using quantitative methods to test the long-held hypothesis that the Maya Forest is anthropogenic,[18] even suggesting that its species composition was due to post-contact ranching.[19] In 2010 Campbell extrapolated this controversial hypothesis to Amazonia, presenting evidence that pre-Columbian Native Americans caused a large-scale extinction of botanical diversity before the Europeans arrived.[20]


Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "The Bahamas National Trust - Home". Bnt.bs. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  2. ^ Campbell, D. G., K. S. Lowell & M. E. Lightbourn. 1991. The effect of introduced hutias (Geocapromys ingrahami) on the woody vegetation of Little Wax Cay, Bahamas.
  3. ^ Campbell, D. G. 1984. The Abundance and Distribution of Paramoeba perniciosa. Ph.D. Dissertation. The Johns Hopkins University. 188 pages
  4. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia". INPA. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  5. ^ Prance, G. T., D. G. Campbell & B. W Nelson. 1977. The ethnobotany of the Paumari Indians (Rio Purus), Economic Botany. 31. 129-139
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Campbell, D. G., D. C. Daly, G. T. Prance & U. N. Maciel. 1986. Quantitative ecological inventory of terra firme and várzea tropical forest on the Rio Xingu, Brazilian Amazon. Brittonia 38(4): 369-393
  8. ^ Campbell, D. G., P. M. Richardson & A. R. Rosas. 1989. Field screening for allelopathy in tropical forest trees, particularly Duroia hirsuta, in the Brazilian Amazon. Biochemical Systematics & Ecology. 17(5): 403-407
  9. ^ Campbell, D. G. J. L. Stone & A. Rosas, Jr. 1992. A comparison of the phytosociology of three floodplain (várzea) forests of known ages, Rio Juruá, western Brazilian Amazon. Botanical J. of the Linnean Society 108: 213-237.
  10. ^ Campbell, D. G. 1994. Scale and patterns of community structure in Amazonian forests. Pages 181-199 In: P. Edwards and R. May (eds.) Large-Scale Ecology and Conservation Biology. Blackwell. Oxford.
  11. ^ Balée, W. & D. G. Campbell. 1990. Ecological aspects of liana forest, Xingu River, Amazonian Brazil. Biotropica. 22(1): 36-47.
  12. ^ Campbell, D. G. 1989. Gap formation in tropical forest canopy by elephants, Oveng, Gabon, Central Africa. Biotropica. 23(2): 195-196
  13. ^ Z Wang, S. An, D. G. Campbell, X. Yang & X. Zhu Xuelei. 1999, Biodiversity of the montane rainforest in Diaoluo Mountain, Hainan. Acta Ecologica Sinica. 19(1): 61-67.
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ "Henry R. Luce Professorships". Hluce.org. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  16. ^ [3][dead link]
  17. ^ "Books by David G. Campbell - Biology | Grinnell College". Grinnell.edu. 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  18. ^ Campbell, D. G., A. Ford, K. S. Lowell, J. Walker, J. K. Lake, C. Ocampo-Raeder, A. Townesmith & M. J. Balick. 2006. The feral forests of the eastern Petén. Pages 21-55 In: W. Balée & C. Erickson (eds.). Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology - Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands. Columbia University Press. NY. ISBN 0-231-50961-8
  19. ^ Campbell, D. G., J. Guittar, K. S. Lowell. 2008. Are Colonial Pastures The Ancestors of The Contemporary Maya Forest? J. Ethnobiology 28(2):278-289
  20. ^ Campbell, D. G. Botanical extinction in Amazonia: was there a Neotropical “Langsamenkrieg”? Pages 173-188 In. E. Barrone-Visigalli & A. Roosevelt (eds.) Amaz'hommes, Sciences de l’Homme et Sciences de la Nature en Amazonie? IBIS Rouge Éditions (fr), Matoury. ISBN 978-2-84450-372-5
  21. ^ "Fellows - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation". Gf.org. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  22. ^ "JBA Medal Award List". Research.amnh.org. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  23. ^ [4][dead link]
  24. ^ "PEN American Center - Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction Winners". Pen.org. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  25. ^ "Lannan Foundation". Lannan.org. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  26. ^ "Alumni Relations. Kalamazoo College". Kzoo.edu. Retrieved 2012-06-18.