Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies Names New Director, Associate Director

Professor of Anthropology Eric J. Sargis and Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Carla Staver have been appointed director and associate director of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS).

Eric Stargis & Carla Staver

The Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS) is pleased to announce the appointments of its new director, Eric J. Sargis, and new associate director, Carla Staver. The appointments come following the conclusion of current director Michael J. Donoghue’s successful term, which ends June 30, 2021.

Sargis, professor of Anthropology, first joined Yale in 2000 and holds secondary faculty appointments in Yale’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Yale School of the Environment, and the Council on Archaeological Studies, and he currently serves as a curator in the Vertebrate Zoology and Vertebrate Paleontology divisions of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Sargis’s research, including fieldwork that has led him from Peru and Madagascar to Cambodia and Alaska, focuses on the biodiversity, morphological evolution, systematics, and paleobiology of several groups of mammals, including primates and treeshrews. His association with YIBS began in 2007, and he has served on the YIBS steering committee since 2019.

“I am honored by this appointment and excited to collaborate with Carla and our colleagues across the university on the critical work ahead,” Sargis said. “I am also fortunate to be able to look to the example Michael Donoghue has set in his leadership and service to our community of talented, driven faculty, students, and staff at Yale.”

Staver, associate professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, joined Yale in 2014 and holds courtesy appointments in the Yale School of the Environment and the MacMillan Center Council on African Studies. Her research focuses on the ecology of tropical grassy ecosystems, sometimes extending into forests. She is especially interested in fire and herbivory and how they impact ecosystem dynamics. She has been affiliated with YIBS since she arrived at Yale.

“This is an exciting time for YIBS,” Staver said. “The biosphere is at a turning point, and YIBS offers a cross-disciplinary platform to engage diverse voices for mapping out solutions. I look forward, along with Eric, to taking up the mantle from Michael and expanding on the YIBS mission.”

Donoghue, Sterling Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, joined Yale in 2000. He served as the director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History from 2003 to 2008, and currently serves as curator of the Botany, Paleobotany, and Informatics Divisions of the Peabody. He was also the first vice president for the West Campus from 2008 to 2010 and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2005.

“It has been such a privilege and a pleasure to lead this dynamic institute over the last several years and to help develop new initiatives, especially the G. E. Hutchinson postdoctoral program,” Donoghue said. “I am absolutely certain that Eric and Carla will greatly amplify the impact of YIBS at Yale and beyond.”

YIBS is an umbrella environmental science center on campus. It supports and inspires the environmental community at Yale through research and training, grants and fellowships, and weekly seminars and events, using a collaborative and cross-disciplinary approach to study the entire biosphere: from molecules to landscapes, and everything in between.

“Professor Donoghue has done a remarkable job leading the Institute over the last three years,” said Michael Crair, vice provost for research and William Ziegler III Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. “We are deeply indebted to him for his service to the Yale community. Appointing Professor Sargis and Professor Staver in this new collaborative leadership model is a signal of how important we view this area of research and academic inquiry to be, and how much room for growth we see in it based on the strong foundation Professor Donoghue and so many others have built at Yale through YIBS.”