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National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth
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Strange Days on Planet Earth
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About the Project

About Edward Norton

About the Producers

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Production

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Series Credits

Season 2 Details

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Our Advisors

Charles Alexander
Retired TIME reporter and editor

Charles Alexander recently retired from TIME magazine after more than 20 years as a reporter, writer and editor. For the past few years he was an international editor, helping to oversee the magazine's 10 foreign editions. He brought to the job special expertise in science, environment, technology and business, having previously served as TIME's science editor and, before that, business editor. Over the past 11 years he also directed TIME's award-winning coverage of environmental issues. He edited the much discussed "Planet of the Year" report in 1989. In 1997 he edited "Our Precious Planet" – an entire special issue devoted to the environmental challenges that humanity will face in the 21st century. From 1998 to 2000 he edited TIME's "Heroes of the Planet" series of environmental profiles, which culminated in the Earth Day 2000 Special Edition, the first globally-distributed special issue of the magazine. In 2001, he edited the powerful "Global Warming" cover.

Alexander has a BA from Harvard and an MS in Journalism from Columbia. He joined TIME as a reporter in 1978, became an associate editor in 1984, business editor in 1986, science editor in 1988 and an international editor in 1995.

Articles he has written or edited have won the Page One Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Newspaper Guild of New York, the Burnett Award from the Overseas Press Club for the Best Magazine Story on Foreign Affairs, the John Hancock Award for Excellence in Business and Financial Journalism, the National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, the Global Award for Media Excellence from the Population Institute and the Designing a Sustainable and Secure World Award from Global Green USA.


Gregory Paul Andorfer
Formerly with the Baltimore Maryland’s Science Center

Greg Andorfer is a distinguished and Emmy winning creative executive with thirty year career in the science communication field. He is recognized nationally and internationally for the ability to create collaborative environments for the rigorous and popular communication of science, technology and culture in many mediums, including museums and exhibits, in film, television, radio, and in educational programs and publications. Greg has helped raise nearly $100 million in his career from foundations, corporations, individuals, local, state and national resources, and international co-production.

Most recently he was the executive director and chief executive officer of Baltimore’s Maryland Science Center, designing and completing a $35 million capital expansion campaign to renew and add significant new exhibits, as well as unique, updateable, cutting edge media centers in space, earth sciences, and in health research with partners that include NASA, NIH, the Smithsonian Institution, Johns Hopkins University and Medical Center. The Maryland Science Center is a program partner for Sea Studios Strange Days on Planet Earth having developed interactive environmental modeling experiences for museum visitors and school children.

Greg was a two term board member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers and chair of the advocacy committee, that successfully advocated for the creation and continual growth of funds from many agencies and departments of the federal Government. He was also president of a ten museum consortium for the creation of a cutting edge, national traveling exhibition on women’s health, raising funds from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers of Disease Control. Under his leadership MSC won significant competitive grants resources for the production of exhibits, including the national traveling exhibit Titanic Science and two IMAX films, one in partnership with the Discovery Channel, The Science Museum of London and The British Broadcasting Corporation for the award winning Human Body IMAX, and the Maryland Science Center and New York’s American Museum of Natural History for an IMAX film on Dinosaurs that he is currently executive producing. He recently wrote and published an article about “Developing a Legislative Agenda and Making It Happen.”

Greg was series producer and project director of Cosmos with Carl Sagan, among the world’s most watched science series. He was awarded an Emmy as series producer for Planet Earth, with the U.S. Academy of Sciences. He partnered with David Elisco, the current series producer for Strange Days on Planet Earth, for the first forensic focused investigations to the RMS Titanic across two expeditions that resulted in seven hours on the Discovery Channel and international syndication.

He was awarded an honorary PhD by his Alma Mater, Kenyon College for excellence in the public communication of science.


Richard T. Barber PhD
Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina

Educated at Utah State University (BS, 1962) and Stanford University (PhD, 1967), Dick Barber held a postdoctoral fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1967 and followed with positions as assistant scientist at WHOI, associate professor at Duke University, professor at Duke, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and, presently, Harvey W. Smith Professor of Biological Oceanography at Duke. Author of more than 130 publications, his research interest is the regulation of primary productivity in ocean ecosystems. Current research involves modeling interannual and decadal variability of new and export productivity. Other work in progress deals with how climate change affects ocean ecosystems.

Barber is a Fellow of the California Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union. He received a Creativity Award from the National Science Foundation in 1984, the John Holland Martin Medal of Excellence from Stanford University in 1994, the Rosenstiel Award in Oceanographic Science from Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of University of Miami in 1998 and the international Ecology Institute Prize in Marine Ecology from the Ecology Institute, also in 1998. Barber has served as the advisor to 14 PhD students. He has also served as: Council Member of The Oceanography Society; President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography; President of the Ocean Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union; the National Coordinator of the Coastal Upwelling Ecosystem Analysis from 1972-1980; and as a member of numerous boards of visitors, panels and committees and editorial boards.


Charles Baxter
Hopkins Marine Station
Stanford University
Pacific Grove, California

Charles Baxter attended the University of California, Los Angeles in 1955 and received a masters in biology there in 1959. From 1993 to the present, he has served on the advisory board of the Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science, Monterey High School.

From 1988 through 1995, he served as a Senior Scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. From 1961 through 1999 he was a Senior Lecturer in the Dept. of Biological Sciences, Stanford University main campus and Hopkins Marine Station and taught such courses as invertebrate biology, biological aspects of marine pollution, vertebrate biology and ecological physiology. While full-time teaching here he also garnered prestigious teaching awards.

In 1977 through 1981 he played a major role in the Conceptual Design and Planning Group for The Monterey Bay Aquarium.


Andrew Dobson, PhD
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey

Parasitic worms, bacteria and viruses are a constant feature of the daily lives of most 'healthy' populations of animal and plant species. My research is concerned with the population ecology of infectious diseases and the conservation of endangered and threatened species. Over the last eight years I have studied infectious diseases in a variety of endangered and fragile ecosystems. Each study has allowed me to develop sections of a larger body of theory that deals with the role of infectious diseases in wild animal populations. The role that infectious diseases play in driving populations to extinction is one of the key unsolved problems of conservation biology. Although ecologists now realize that pathogens and parasites play a key role in regulating population numbers, infectious diseases often cause rapid declines in the abundance of threatened species and continue to plague captive breeding programs. In particular, I have been studying rinderpest in Ngorongoro crater and brucellosis in the Yellowstone National Park. These pathogens infect both wild and domestic species and frequently cause problems around the edge of nature reserves where their control is traditionally undertaken by culling the wild hosts. This creates a classic conflict of interest between farmers who wish to eradicate the pathogen and conservation biologists, who wish to conserve wildlife.


Robert B. Dunbar, PhD
Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Stanford University
Stanford, California

My research interests link oceanography, climate dynamics and geochemistry. My research group works on topics related to global environmental change, with a focus on the coastal ocean, air-sea interactionsand polar processes. We are also engaged in interdisciplinary studies of global change in collaboration with environmental scientists, economists, lawyers and policy specialists at Stanford's Center for Environmental Science and Policy at the Institute of International Studies. In October 2001, I became the first director of a new Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Environment and Resources. We have just completed reviewing applications for the third class of graduate students who will matriculate in September 2004. In January 2003, I was appointed the Victoria P. and Roger W. Sant Director of the Earth Systems Program, the largest undergraduate and co-terminal masters program in the School of Earth Sciences. In January 2004, I was named the J. Frederick and Elisabeth B. Weintz University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. This fellowship is in recognition of my teaching and mentoring of Stanford undergraduates and is the most meaningful honor I have ever received!

We are currently working on several projects in Antarctica to assess the impacts of climate change on Southern Ocean ecosystems and C-system chemistry. Much of this work focuses on the Ross Sea and East Antarctica where we are studying the modern uptake of carbon dioxide by the ocean. We are also using sediment cores from fjords and shelf basins of East Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula to study past changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

My group also specializes in studies of air-sea interactions during the past 50 to 12,000 years. Our most productive archives for this work are the remains of carbonate-producing organisms and also sediments from lakes and fjords. We use chemical, isotopic and morphological measurements of these materials to investigate past climate variability. Current field areas include the Galápagos Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, Kenya, Easter Island, Chile, Sumatra, Tierra del Fuego, France and Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. Some of our studies deal with the long-term history of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomena, its interactions with the Indian Monsoon and its impacts on North American Climate.


Habiba Gitay, PhD
Senior Lecturer,
National Centre for Development Studies
Canberra, Australia

Dr. Habiba Gitay has over 10 years experience researching and teaching in the fields of ecology, environmental management and impacts of climate change on ecosystems in many parts of the world. Her current research and teaching interests focus on:

  • climate change - impacts and adaptation in terrestrial ecosystems
  • global environmental change and how to assess it
  • conservation and management of forested and grassland ecosystems
  • sustainable development and conservation
  • graduate training in global change

Specific current research projects include:

  • effect of changes in carbon to nitrogen ratio on soil process
  • effect of temperature and moisture changes on ecosystem structure and function

She is currently part of a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Greenhouse Accounting project implementing the use of functional types to look at the response of ecosystems (in terms of functions such as carbon accumulation, decomposition, species turnover) to perturbations that are likely to occur under climate change scenarios.

She has been a Coordinating Lead Author for various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 1995. Her other international activities in the last two years have included being a member of the Steering Committee for "Millennium Assessment of the Ecosystems of the World" coordinated by the World Resources Institute and the World Bank and a senior adviser to the committee for the World Resources Institute Report for 2000.


John Katzenberger
Executive Director
Aspen Global Change Institute
Aspen, Colorado

John Katzenberger is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Aspen Global Change Institute. Katzenberger is a science program manager, former secondary school science teacher, curriculum developer and consultant. His primary interests are in interdisciplinary research in the broad fields of Earth System Science and global environmental change and their application in society, particularly educational outreach. To further this interest he co-founded the Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI) in 1989 to provide an interdisciplinary forum for international groups of scientists to explore current topics in global change research each summer. AGCI sessions are designed by Katzenberger to complement the research objectives of the US Global Change Research Program and interdisciplinary themes surfacing from the research community. Since 1990, over 600 scientists from 30 countries have participated in this program which fosters the free exchange of ideas with groups that include both social and natural scientists. AGCI's format allows for topics to be explored in greater depth and with ample time for discussion and synthesis than is typical in a shorter duration meetings. A successful meeting finds a Nobel laureate, a post doctoral student and an active researcher mid-career learning from one another across the disciplines which is necessary in order to address complex topics such as climate change, biodiversity and development and communicating scientific uncertainty.

Katzenberger has served as the Principal Investigator for numerous research and educational grants. Sponsors include NASA, NOAA, NSF, USDA, EPA, DOE and the private sector on topics ranging from agro-ecological systems to interdisciplinary global change seminars, educational curriculum development, teacher training and dissemination projects.

His work with the AGCI summer institutes has enabled him to establish an extensive and active network of scholars whose expertise covers the wide range of topics in Earth System Science and global environmental change including the human dimension of global change. As an outgrowth of AGCI's science research program, he and AGCI staff, collaborating with summer institute participants, created an innovative teacher-training workshop "PESTO" – Pre-and In-service Earth Science Training Opportunity – with support from NASA. Over three years (1997-1999), this program assembled teachers from across the nation with outstanding researchers from the Earth System Ssience research community to explore new approaches to K-12 science education. Another example of the summer institutes serving as a catalyst for educational outreach is Ground Truth Studies (GTS). GTS is an interdisciplinary K-12 science education program on topics in Earth System Science consistent with the science goals of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 2061 Project and the National Science Education Standards. GTS was part of the International Space Year's education initiative. Katzenberger is the senior editor and co-author of the Ground Truth Studies Teacher Handbook. Introduced in the Spring of 1991 in six states as a pilot project, GTS has now been used by over 2,000 teachers from 35 states.


Simon Levin, PhD
Department of Biology
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey

Simon A. Levin is the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology, and was the Founding Director of the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University. Levin examines the dynamics of populations and communities; spatial heterogeneity and problems of scale; evolutionary ecology; and mathematical and theoretical ecology. He is especially interested in the self-organization of ecosystems from individual interactions, and in the interface between ecology and economics, including the spread and importance of social norms. He has mentored over 50 graduate students, and over 50 postdoctoral fellows.

Levin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and American Philosophical Society, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Levin has also served as President of the Ecological Society of America and has won its MacArthur Award and Distinguished Service Citation, and was also President of the Society for Mathematical Biology and recipient of its first Okubo Lifetime Achievement Award. He was awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences 2004 by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the founding Editor of the journal Ecological Applications, and has edited numerous journals and book series. He also edited the five-volume Encyclopedia of Biodiversity.


Jane Lubchenco, PhD
Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology
OSU Distinguished Professor of Zoology
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon

Dr. Jane Lubchenco is an environmental scientist and marine ecologist who is actively engaged in teaching, research, synthesis and communication of scientific knowledge. She grew up in Denver, graduated from Colorado College, fell in love with the ocean and its critters during a summer course in invertebrate zoology at Woods Hole, MA, then received a MS from the University of Washington and a PhD from Harvard University in marine ecology.

Jane was an assistant professor at Harvard University for two years before moving with her husband, Bruce Menge, to Oregon State University. Bruce and Jane pioneered an arrangement that enabled each to teach and do research but also devote significant amounts of time to their young children. Each held a part-time but tenure-track position at OSU for 13 years. Each has been full time since 1989.

Jane is the Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology and Distinguished Professor of Zoology at OSU. Her expertise includes biodiversity, climate change, sustainability science, coastal marine ecosystems, and the state of the oceans and the planet.

Jane and Bruce lead an interdisciplinary team of scientists called PISCO (the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) that studies the near-shore marine ecosystem off Washington, Oregon and California. With $70 million over ten years, the team from OSU, Stanford, and the University of California at Santa Barbara and at Santa Cruz is learning how the ecosystem works and how it is changing. Bruce and Jane also have research programs with colleagues in New Zealand, Chile and South Africa, comparing coastal marine upwelling ecosystems around the world.

Jane actively promotes science and communicates scientific knowledge in international and national arenas. She is President of the International Council for Science. She was President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and of the Ecological Society of America. She is serving a second term on the National Science Board (nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate). She often testifies before Congress, addresses the United Nations, or provides scientific advice to the White House, federal and international agencies, non-governmental organizations, religious leaders and leaders of business and industry. She co-chaired Oregon Governor Kulongoski's Advisory Group on Global Warming.

Jane founded and co-leads the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program that teaches outstanding academic environmental scientists to be more effective communicators of scientific information. She participated in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, an international scientific assessment of the consequences of environmental changes to human well-being. She co-chaired the MA Synthesis for Business and Industry. Jane is a Principal of COMPASS, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea, a consortium to communicate marine conservation science to policy makers, the media, managers and the public.

Her scientific contributions are widely recognized. 8 publications are designated "Science Citation Classic Papers". She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Society and the Third World Academy of Sciences.

She served on the Pew Oceans Commission and the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative. She is a Trustee of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, SeaWeb and Environmental Defense, Trustee Emerita of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Jane has received numerous awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship, eight honorary degrees (including one from Princeton University), the 2002 Heinz Award in the Environment, the 2003 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, and the 2004 Environmental Law Institute Award (the first scientist to receive this honor).


Captain Craig McLean
Executive Officer
National Ocean Service at National Ocean and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)

Captain McLean is a commissioned officer serving in NOAA for over 20 years. He began with a degree in zoology and then trained in the maritime with his service program and began sailing on science ships as a deck officer. Later in his career, he earned a law degree. He has commanded ocean-going research ships, directed cruises and projects to destinations in remote, unknown parts of the world's oceans, including the Titanic. As a lawyer in NOAA, he has worked with the laws of marine resource management, shipwrecks, marine mammals, fisheries and marine sanctuaries.


Steve Palumbi, PhD
Hopkins Marine Lab
Stanford University
Pacific Grove, California

Stephen R. Palumbi received his PhD from University of Washington in marine ecology. His research group engages in the study of the genetics, evolution, conservation, population biology and systematics of a diverse array of marine organisms. Professor Palumbi's own research interests are similarly widespreadand 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 US 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 appears 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.

Professor Palumbi moved his laboratory from Harvard University in August 2002 to Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station. Steve is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, married to physician Mary Roberts, father of two teenagers and founding member of the band Flagella.


Steve H. Schneider, PhD
Department of Biological Sciences
Stanford University
Stanford, California

Stephen H. Schneider is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Co-Director of the Center for Environmental Science and Policy (CESP) and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (IPER) and Professor by Courtesy in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University since September 1992. He was honored in 1992 with a MacArthur Fellowship for his ability to integrate and interpret the results of global climate research through public lectures, seminars, classroom teaching, environmental assessment committees, media appearances, Congressional testimony and research collaboration with colleagues. He has served as a consultant to Federal Agencies and/or White House staff in the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton and Bush Jr. administrations. He also received, in 1991, the American Association for the Advancement of Science/ Westinghouse Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology, for furthering public understanding of environmental science and its implications for public policy. In 1998 he became a foreign member of the Academia Europaea, Earth and Cosmic Sciences Section. He was elected Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences (1999-2001). Schneider was elected to membership in the US National Academy of Sciences in April 2002.

Schneider received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Plasma Physics from Columbia University in 1971. His current global change research interests include: climatic change; global warming; food/climate and other environmental/science public policy issues; ecological and economic implications of climatic change; integrated assessment of global change; climatic modeling of paleoclimates and of human impacts on climate, e.g., carbon dioxide "greenhouse effect" or environmental consequences of nuclear war. He is also interested in advancing public understanding of science and in improving formal environmental education in primary and secondary schools. He was a Coordinating Lead Author in Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program) from 1997-2001 and was a Lead Author in Working Group I from 1994-1996. He was also a lead author of the IPCC guidance paper on uncertainties. He is currently a co-anchor of the Key Vulnerabilities (including Article 2) Cross-Cutting Theme for the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the IPCC. Schneider has also authored an excellent website on global climate change. Off-site Link


Brian Walker, PhD
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Canberra, Australia

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Brian obtained a BSc. in agriculture in 1962 from the University of Natal, South Africa. After a three-year stint as an Agricultural Development Officer in Zimbabwe's Tribal Trust Lands he went to Canada and obtained a MSc. and PhD in ecology from the University of Saskatchewan. His main area of expertise is ecosystem dynamics, with most of his experience in tropical savannas. He spent six years as Lecturer/Senior Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, interrupted by one (1971) as a Charles Bullard Research Fellow at the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts. In 1975 he moved to South Africa and spent ten years as Professor of Botany and Director of the Centre for Resource Ecology at the University of the Witwatersrand. During this time he initiated and led the South African National Savanna Ecosystem Program.

Brian moved to Australia in 1985 as Chief of the Division of Wildlife and Ecology in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. At the end of 1999 he stepped down from that position to become Program Director and Chair of the Board of the Resilience Alliance – an international research consortium of some 15 universities and agency groups. For the other half he remains in CSIRO as Co-coordinator of its Biodiversity Sector research. He is currently Chairman of the Board of the Beijer International Institute for Ecological Economics, in the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. He was leader of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program's Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystem's Project from 1986 - 1998. In 1999 he received the Australian Ecological Society's Gold Medal.


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