Dr. Stephen R. Palumbi received his Ph.D. from University of Washington in marine ecology. His research group studies the genetics, evolution, conservation, population biology and systematics of a diverse array of marine organisms.
Professor Palumbi’s own research interests are similarly widespread, and he has published on the genetics and evolution of sea urchins, whales, cone snails, corals, sharks, spiders, shrimps, bryozoans, and butterflyfishes. A primary focus is the use of molecular genetic techniques in conservation, including the identification of whale and dolphin products available in commercial markets.
Current conservation work centers on the genetics of marine reserves designed for conservation and fisheries enhancement, with projects in the Philippines, Bahamas and western U.S. coast. In addition, basic work on the molecular evolution of reproductive isolation and its influence on patterns of speciation uses marine model systems such as sea urchins. This work is expanding our view of the evolution of gamete morphology and the genes involved. Steve’s recent book, The Evolution Explosion: How Humans Cause Rapid Evolutionary Change, shows how rapid evolution is central to emerging problems in modern society. In January 2003, Steve appeared in the TV series, The Future is Wild, a computer-animated exploration of the possible courses of evolution in the next few hundred million years. His new book, published in November 2010, The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival, is a good-news environmental story about the difference that ordinary citizens can make in creating diverse, sustainable ecosystems and diverse, sustainable economies.
In 2002, Professor Palumbi moved his laboratory from Harvard University to Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, where he is now the Director of the station. Steve is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, married to physician Mary Roberts, father of two grown children, and founding member of the band Sustainable Sole.