Field Biologist Meg Lowman to Speak

April 16, 2005
By Karen Lee '07

Meg Lowman, a tropical rainforest canopy biologist and professor at New College of Florida, will present a convocation titled “Life in the Treetops: Challenges in Tropical Biology” at 10:50 a.m. on Friday, April 22 at Carleton College’s Skinner Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Lowman is a leading expert in the fieldwork of canopy ecology, focusing on plant-insect relationships. Traveling to Australia, Peru, Africa, the Americas, Belize, Panama, subtropical Florida and the South Pacific, she is a pioneer in developing techniques in canopy research, including walkways, hot air balloons, construction cranes and ropes.

While assistant professor in biology and environmental studies at Williams College, she worked with students to construct a walkway in an oak-maple forest for the study of canopy insects, plants and various small mammals, the first canopy walkway in North America. From 1978 to 1989, Lowman lived in Australia, developing canopy processes in the rain forest and determining the causes of the Eucalyptus dieback syndrome that demolished millions of trees in rural Australia. She taught at the University of New England and assisted in organizing long-term conservation programs for the regeneration of forest trees in the Australian tropics.

From 1992 to 2003, Lowman served first as the director of research and conservation, then chief executive officer at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, an institution specializing in tropical plants. She also is the co-founder and board member of the Science and Environment Council of Sarasota County and the chief scientist for the 1994 Jason project, an international science education program. She currently is the director of environmental initiatives and professor of biology and environmental studies at New College of Florida.

Lowman frequently presents speeches about forest conservation to educational groups, from elementary school classes to international conferences, receiving numerous awards for her work. She has been nominated as a Pew Fellow in Conservation and Biodiversity and has been awarded the Ecological Society of America’s Eugene Odum Prize for Excellence in Ecology Education and the Garden Club of America’s Margaret Douglas Medal for Achievement in Conservation Education. Authoring and co-authoring more than 80 publications and seven books, Lowman received praise for her 1999 book, “Life in the Treetops,” which was given a cover review in The New York Times Sunday Book Review. The sequel, “It’s a Jungle Out There,” is due out in 2005.

Lowman received her B.A. with honors in biology and environmental studies from Williams College, a master of science in ecology from Aberdeen University and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Sydney.

For more information and disability accommodations, call Carleton’s college relations office at (507) 646-4308.