David Duffy, PhD
Botanist and Ecologist
David Duffy is a professor of botany and graduate professor of zoology and of ecology, evolution and conservation biology at the University of Hawai'i Manoa. Dr. Duffy started his career helping at the Children's Science Center at the American Museum of Natural History in New York when he was nine, then graduated to field work at the Museum's Great Gull Island Project when he was 13. Field trips to Yucatan and Colombia as a Harvard undergraduate ignited his interest in tropical biology while stints in Galapagos, Costa Rica and Africa made it clear how fragile tropical ecosystems are.
His main interests are in how ecosystems respond to perturbations, both natural and human-caused. His work has included the effect of El Niño on seabirds in Peru , fishery interactions with seabirds in Peru and South Africa, the effects of Exxon Valdez oil spill and climate shifts on seabirds in Prince William Sound, the role of landscape in fostering Lyme Disease, the effect of forest harvesting in the Appalachians on spring herbaceous ground cover and determining just how much of Alaska's biodiversity is actually protected. Most recently he has become interested in how to shape management and science to respond to the problem of invasive alien species in Hawai'i. He ponders, how much science do you need to respond and how can management measure its effectiveness?
He now directs the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, which manages over 300 employees and over $14 million in projects to conserve the resources of Hawai'i and other Pacific Islands.