Tony Barnosky  studies how global change influences extinction dynamics and biodiversity maintenance. He blends geological, paleontological, and modern data to determine when and how human impacts fundamentally shift natural ecological baselines, with the overall goal of developing feasible natural resource policies as we go into a future with pressures unique in Earth's history (including very large human populations, climate change, and energy use).

Current projects focus on understanding the extent to which synergistic effects of climate change and human population growth magnify extinction intensities, where solutions to the Sixth Extinction crisis may emerge, and how critical transitions (so-called "tipping points") at the global scale may affect humanity. He is also involved in defining whether paleontology-based criteria would warrant the definition of the Anthropocene as a formal geological epoch.

His past work includes clarifying why nearly half of the world's large mammal species went extinct between 10 and 50 thousand years ago, assessing how current extinction rates compare to past mass extinctions, and revealing how scaling issues resolve debates about whether Earth’s physical changes or biotic interactions are more important in driving biological changes.

Projects in Dr. Barnosky's lab employ primary geological and paleontological field work, isotopic techniques, and bioinformatics.  His lab developed the publicly-accessible biodiversity database NEOMAP, an interactive map-based compilation of all fossil mammal occurrences in the United States for the period 30 million years ago to five hundred years ago, along with web-based analysis tools that facilitate analyzing how current biodiversity patterns differ from pre-anthropogenic ones.

Besides his primary scientific research, Dr. Barnosky also is a frequent translator of science for the public.  He is author of the book Heatstroke, Nature in an Age of Global Warming (Island Press, 2009), and his team's discoveries have been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines, and radio broadcasts.  He currently is working on a new book entitled Power, Food, and Money: How to Dodge the Sixth Mass Extinction, to be published by University of California Press.

The forum is followed by a reception.

Short Bio - Anthony D. Barnosky


  • B.A. Colorado College (1974), Geology
  • M.Sc. (1980) and Ph.D. (1983), University of Washington, Geological Sciences 

Professional Positions

  • Professor at Department of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley (1990-Present; began as Associate Professor)
  • Curator at Museum of Paleontology, UC Berkeley (1990-Present; began as Associate Curator)
  • Research Paleontologist at Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley (1990-Present)
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Ecology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago (2007-2008) 
  • Director of MSU Mountain Research Center, Professor of Earth Sciences, Professor of Biology, at Montana State University (1994 - 1998)
  • Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Services, UC Berkeley (1993-94)
  • Assistant then Associate Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at The Carnegie Museum of Natural History (1984-1990 )
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor at Department of Geology and Planetary Sciences at University of Pittsburgh (1987-1990)
  • Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Geology, Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland) (1983-84)


  • Cox Visiting Professor, Stanford University School of Earth Sciences (2012-2013)
  • Fellow, California Academy of Sciences (1992-Present)
  • Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellowship (2007)
  • Chancellor's 'Everyday Hero” Citation for contribution to undergraduate education (2005-2006)
  • “Protector of Yellowstone National Park" Award for accomplishments in promoting and conducting quality scientific investigations to benefit the future of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (1998)
  • Numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, National Academy of Sciences, and National Geographic Society.