Rodolfo Dirzo, Bing Professor in Environmental Science, teaches ecology courses and leads the Dirzo Lab in the Department of Biology. He holds masters and doctoral degrees in ecology from the University of Wales (UK), and a B.S. in biology from the Universidad de Morelos. He has published numerous refereed articles and scientific chapters in books mostly on tropical ecology, plant-animal interactions and on botanical diversity, and written or edited ten books, as well as a great number of research reports and publications for wider publics. He joined Stanford after a distinguished career at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and he has held visiting lecturer positions in many universities in Latin America and beyond.
His field work has focused in particular on tropical forest ecosystems of Mexico, Costa Rica and Amazonia. Currently he is extending his research into Africa (Kenya and Tanzania), looking at the relationships between defaunation (loss of megafauna) in savannah ecosystems and the risks of disease for local human communities. Besides his ecological research, he is also doing research on biodiversity conservation. Within this topic he is interested in the extinction of biological diversity, ecological processes, and cultural diversity. He has deep interests in the traditional knowledge of forest peoples such as the Popoluca in Los Tuxtlas region, the Maya in the Yucatan, and several ethnic groups in Oaxaca, Mexico. He is passionate about environmental education at all levels and he is engaged in bringing science education to under-served children in the Bay Area, California.
Awarded the Presidential Medal in Ecology in Mexico in 2003 and other honors, he has been the Chair of the Biology Section of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the California Academy of Sciences. His current board affiliations comprise the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies (New York, USA), the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (Mexico City), and Paso Pacifico (Ventura, California).