Biography

Stanford ecologist Harold “Hal” Mooney is the Paul S. Achilles Professor of Environmental Biology, emeritus, in the School of Humanities and Science’s Department of Biology and senior fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute as well as the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Mooney helped pioneer the field of physiological ecology and is an internationally recognized expert on environmental sciences. Through his six-decade academic career, Mooney has demonstrated how plant species and groups of species respond to their environments and developed research methodologies for assessing how plants interact with their biotic environments. To date he has authored more than 400 scientific books, papers and articles.

Mooney's current research focuses on assessing the impacts of global environmental change on terrestrial ecosystems, especially on ecosystem function, productivity and biodiversity. Recent research includes studying the environmental and social consequences of industrialized animal production systems and examining factors that promote the invasion of non-indigenous plant species. 

Mooney has played an international leadership role in numerous research settings, especially with problems related to biodiversity, invasive species, global warming and Mediterranean climates. In addition, he has been active in building up worldwide communities and networks of ecologists and scientists in other disciplines and arranging international conferences on the environment. He played a central role in the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), building up an international organization of scientists and having an influential part in setting the guidelines for the formulation of environmental policies. He also has advanced numerous international research programs as Secretary General and Vice-President of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

Mooney earned his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1960 and started as an assistant professor at UCLA that same year. In 1968 he was recruited to Stanford University, where he was later appointed the Paul S. Achilles Professor of Environmental Biology in the School of Humanities and Science’s Department of Biology. A senior fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute as well as the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Mooney has led a wide range of national and international scientific activities related to environment and conservation. 

Notable roles included coordinating the 1995 Global Biodiversity Assessment, co-chairing the Assessment Panel of the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, establishing and leading the Global Invasive Species Program and serving as lead review editor for the ongoing global assessment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. His many accolades and awards include the 1990 ECI Prize in terrestrial ecology, the 1992 Max Planck Research Award in biosciences, the 1996 Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America, the 2000 Nevada Medal, the 2002 Blue Planet Prize, the 2007 Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology, the 2008 Tyler Prize, the 2008 BBVA Foundation Award for Biodiversity Conservation, and the 2010 Volvo Environment Prize.