National Geographic

VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers

Menu

I lead the Mediterranean Science Commission [ www.ciesm.org - a network of 4000 marine scientists], which offers rare opportunities for action in a highly sensitive region of the globe.

I was born in Paris, where I studied economics and oceanography. Thereafter I moved to the USA to complete a Ph.D. at the University of California. My early career focused on the dynamics of marine systems in the north Pacific, the north Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. On the research side, I was fortunate to discover a series of ecosystem 'markers' and invariants in the architecture of food webs - now a full research sector of its own - which helped me publish a number of 'serious' scientific articles and books on the dynamics, conservation and management of complex ecological systems.

Leaving North America I returned to Europe to oversee pluri-disciplinary programs in International Agencies (UNESCO, IUCN) before taking the lead of the Mediterranean Commission which federates 22 Member States. In this unstable corner of the world, I try to keep international marine programs alive (and well - if possible), and to bring researchers from all shores to work together under the CIESM banner - see our unique Monograph Series on Marine Sciences, now reaching 45 volumes: http://www.ciesm.org/online/monographs/index.htm

At the international policy level I am also quite busy promoting international Marine Peace Parks, and encouraging the United Nations to develop a reliable legal cover protecting all cetaceans on the High Sea. Long, tough but (I believe) essential battles.

What now interests me the most is to connect tools & concepts from distant disciplines and distant regions in order to explore issues from an original angle (e.g., track historical shifts in art & science paradigms; or compare species vs linguistic diversity). Thank you for your interest.

Silent Plains … The Fading Sounds of Native Languages

‘All things must pass,’ sang George Harrison. With time, suns turn into ice, civilizations into dust, and species go extinct. And so ‘black dwarfs,’ ‘biodiversity loss,’ not to forget ‘Armageddon,’ have all become part of our daily alphabet. Strange planet… though the risk of a 6th species extinction wave is quite real (see my previous…

The Name is Bond, James Bond: From Bird Scientist to Spy

His name is Bond. Easy to remember. This week the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the birth, on film, of the best-known agent on Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Some 23 James Bond movies later, we still ignore everything about Agents 006 and 008, but know much about the man operating under codename 007. Except,…

Species Missing in Action: Rare or Already Extinct?

    If we think for a minute about species driven to extinction during the course of human history, chances are most of us will come up with names of large, terrestrial species like the dodo, the mammoth or the Aurochs. And there are good reasons for that: in the past 500 years alone hundreds…