M. Sanjayan

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M. Sanjayan
Sanjayan Muttulingam
Sri Lanka
Alma materUniversity of Oregon (B.S., M.S.) University of California, Santa Cruz (Ph.D)
OrganizationConservation International, National Geographic Society, Aspen Institute
Known forConservation science, science communication, endangered species
TelevisionEmmy-nominated (2013)

M. Sanjayan is an American conservation scientist, writer and television news contributor, specializing in the role of nature in preserving and enhancing human life. He is referred to as Sanjayan, using one name as is sometimes Tamil custom.[1] He is chief executive officer at Conservation International, a global conservation organization working to protect the nature people around the world rely on for food, freshwater, and livelihoods.[2]

His scientific work has been published in peer-reviewed journals Science, Nature and Conservation Biology and his expertise has received extensive media coverage, including Vanity Fair,[3] Outside, Time, Men's Journal,[4] The New York Times, The Atlantic,[5] and "CBS This Morning".[6]

A leading science communicator and television presenter, Sanjayan has hosted and co-hosted a range of documentaries for PBS, BBC and Discovery. In 2017, he host the University of California and Vox Media’s “Climate Lab” series. In the summer of 2015, Sanjayan co-hosted "Big Blue Live,"[7] PBS's and BBC's three-part television event showcasing marine life on the Pacific Coast, which was the first live prime time natural history show on American television and won the BAFTA for Live Event.[8] He also hosted the 2015 PBS and National Geographic television series "EARTH - A New Wild,"[9] which was filmed in over 24 countries, and was a contributor on Showtime's Emmy-winning series on climate change, "Years of Living Dangerously."[10] He has appeared on numerous other programs, including "The Today Show" and "The Late Show with David Letterman,"[11] and was named to Men's Journal's list of the "50 Most Adventurous Men" in 2015.[12] He was also featured in a profile in The Economist's Intelligent Life in 2015,[13] and is a co-editor of the book Connectivity Conservation.[14]

Sanjayan also co-led the launch of "Nature is Speaking," Conservation International's award-winning campaign[15] that features Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson and Penelope Cruz, among others, and delivers the message that people need nature to survive.[16]

In May 2012, CBS News named Sanjayan its science and environmental contributor[17] and his 2013 CBS Evening News report on elephant poaching was nominated for an Emmy in the investigative journalism category.[18] National Geographic Society recently selected Sanjayan for its Explorers Council, a distinguished group of top scientists, researchers, and explorers who provide advice and counsel to the Society across disciplines and projects. Sanjayan is also a Catto fellow at the Aspen Institute.[19]

Born in Sri Lanka, Sanjayan and his family moved to Sierra Leone in 1972.[20]  He moved to the United States to study at the University of Oregon, where he received both a B.S. in biology and a M.S. in ecology.[20] In 1997, he earned a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.[21] He is a visiting researcher at UCLA and a distinguished professor of practice at Arizona State University. He won the 2015 UCSC Alumni Achievement Award[22] and the 2015 UCSC Global Oceans Hero Award.[23] Sanjayan is a Disneynature Ambassador and a member of National Geographic Society’s Explorers Council.

Prior to Conservation International, Sanjayan was lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy.


  1. ^ Bryan Walsh (23 March 2008). "Changing the White Face of the Green Movement". Time Science. Time Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  2. ^ "About Us - Conservation International". Conservation International. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  3. ^ "The Edge of Extinction". Vanity Fair. May 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  4. ^ Men's Journal http://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/outdoor/a-nature-documentary-that-could-actually-make-a-difference-20150130
  5. ^ "A Conversation With M. Sanjayan, Nature Researcher and TV Host". The Atlantic. 7 Dec 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  6. ^ Conservation scientist on "massive" impact of Paris climate pact, retrieved 2016-06-30
  7. ^ "BIG BLUE LIVE | A Presentation of PBS and the BBC". BIG BLUE LIVE | A Presentation of PBS and the BBC. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  8. ^ "Live Event - Big Blue Live". www.bafta.org. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  9. ^ "About the Series | EARTH A New Wild | PBS | PBS". About the Series | EARTH A New Wild | PBS | PBS. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  10. ^ "M. Sanjayan - Correspondent, Years Of Living Dangerously". Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  11. ^ The Nature Conservancy (2009-07-17), Nature Conservancy Lead Scientist M.A. Sanjayan on David Letterman, retrieved 2016-06-30
  12. ^ "The 50 Most Adventurous Men". mensjournal.com. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  13. ^ "M. Sanjayan". 2015-06-18. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  14. ^ "Connectivity Conservation". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  15. ^ "Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015 Winners Archive". www.adforum.com. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  16. ^ "Nature Is Speaking - Conservation International". Conservation International. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  17. ^ Alex Weprin (11 May 2012). "CBS News Adds Manuel Bojorquez, M. Sanjayan". TVNewster. WebMediaBrands Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2016-02-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "The Aspen Institute Names 2010 Catto Fellows - The Aspen Institute". Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  20. ^ a b Abe Streep (27 July 2010). "The Natural". The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  21. ^ "University of California, Santa Cruz".
  22. ^ "Conservationist M. Sanjayan to receive Alumni Achievement Award". Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  23. ^ "Marine Discovery Center". seymourcenter.ucsc.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-30.