KU CLACS Faculty Member Selected as a Top Climate Change Scientist


LAWRENCE — Reuters recently released a series that tells the stories of 1,000 scientists who are having the biggest impact on the climate-change debate, detailing their lives, their work and their influence on other scientists, the public, activists and political leaders.

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, CLACS, is proud to recognize  one of our own, Dr. Andrew Townsend Peterson, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Curator in the Biodiversity Institute, at the University of Kansas for his placement on the illustrious list. His research focuses on the ecology and evolution of species' geographic distributions in time and space.

To identify the 1,000 most influential scientists, Reuters used a series of rankings based on how many research papers scientists have published on topics related to climate change; how often those papers are cited by other scientists in similar fields of study; and how often those papers are referenced in the press, social media, policy papers and other outlets.

Asked to share his thoughts on his colleague, Dr. Jorge Soberón, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology said, “Andrew Townsend Peterson was a pioneer of estimating the impacts of climate change to the elements of biodiversity. Now he is in the forefront of this crucial problem. He participated in developing the bioinformatics tools to assemble the large databases required to study areas of occupancy, and helped to develop and apply the methods to forecast modifications due to climate change. Moreover, he has organized and implemented courses, focused in Africa and in Latin America, on these methods.”

Brent Metz, Professor of Anthropology and Interim Director of CLACS, said, “Andrew Townsend Peterson’s research brilliantly demonstrates that many issues like climate change, ecology, and biodiversity have no borders and require the kind of cross-national approaches supported by KU Area Studies. We are proud that his global impact has been duly recognized.”

CLACS is a leading research center linking faculty, like Dr. Andrew Townsend Peterson, students, and the community from across Kansas, the country and the world in the interdisciplinary study of the biodiversity, histories, cultures, and societies of Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more information about the KU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, please visit clacs.ku.edu.