One of only a handful of people to earn a Ph.D. under the world’s most famous ecologist, E.O. Wilson, join National Geographic grantee Mark Moffett, an intrepid and eccentric ecologist, as he shares the beauty and marvels of life in the treetops.
Contract photographer Mark Moffett has developed a career that combines science and photography. Although his family was not academic, encouraged by his parents he sought out biologists by the age of 12. Soon he became a field assistant on research projects across Latin America.
After entering and eventually earning his B.A. at Beloit College in Wisconsin, Moffett taught himself macrophotography to document his 1989 Harvard Ph.D. under Professor E.O. Wilson on marauder ants. His first published images were of these ants in National Geographic magazine.
Upon completing his doctorate Moffett spent two years as curator of ants at Harvard University. Still based at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, his research presently concerns insect and spider social behavior and the structure and dynamics of forest ecosystems, particularly their canopies. Recently he has been investigating canopies of the supertall coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest, for which he led (with Professor Steve Sillet of Humboldt College) the first ever ascent and study of the world's tallest tree, known as the National Geographic redwood.
In 1993 Harvard University Press published Moffett's book, The High Frontier: Exploring the Tropical Rainforest Canopy. Today his research and National Geographic photography are interspersed with writing and public lecturing about rain forests.
Study of the relationships between organisms and their environment. Physiological ecology focuses on the relationships between individual organisms and the physical and chemical features of their environment. Behavioral ecologists study the behaviours of individual organisms as they react to their environment. Population ecology is the study of processes that affect the distribution and abundance of animal and plant populations. Community ecology studies how communities of plant and animal populations function and are organized; it frequently concentrates on particular subsets of organisms such as plant communities or insect communities. Ecosystem ecology examines large-scale ecological issues, ones that often are framed in terms of measures such as biomass, energy flow, and nutrient cycling. Applied ecology applies ecological principles to the management of populations of crops and animals. Theoretical ecologists provide simulations of particular practical problems and develop models of general ecological relevance. See alsosystems ecology.