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Principal Investigator, Paul S. & Billie Achilles Professor of Environmental Biology

Elizabeth A Hadly

Positions held:

  • Faculty Director, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
  • HHMI Professor
  • Paul S. & Billie Achilles Professor of Environmental Biology
  • Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Yeung University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
  • Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment
  • Senior Fellow, Center for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford School of Medicine

Dr. Elizabeth A. Hadly (she/her) is a global change scientist who has studied the impacts of environmental change for over four decades.  Addressing organismal biology from both evolutionary and ecological perspectives, she studies primarily extant species to understand the past, present, and future of biodiversity.  Liz combines field and laboratory approaches to examine how ecological perturbations link or decouple levels of biological organization.  Understanding relationships between ecosystems, species, populations, and genes is central to understanding how organisms exist, evolve, and become extinct.  Uniquely, Liz focuses on the decadal to millennial time scale, increasingly important in understanding the Anthropocene.

Liz seeks to reach outside the ivory tower to address issues related to climate change, disease, pollution, extinction, habitat loss, and human population growth. In 2012 then California Governor Jerry Brown contacted Liz and her co-author Anthony Barnosky to translate the findings of their Nature paper for a general audience.  Approaching a State Shift in Earth’s Biosphere was the culmination of work by 22 biologists from the United States, Chile, Finland, and Spain, and warned that anthropogenic activities are ratcheting up negative impacts on Earth system functioning.  Liz worked to produce an accessible document, “Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s LifeSupport System in the 21st Century: Information for Policy Makers,” which Brown subsequently disseminated around the world.  In 2016, Liz co-authored her first book (with Barnosky): Tipping Point for Planet Earth:  How Close are We to the Edge? about which Naomi Oreskes (Merchants of Doubt) said:   “Barnosky and Hadly have travelled the world as scientists, but in this book they speak to us as people. A brave and beautiful account of what is really at stake in the current global crisis."

Committed to teaching, outreach and improving STEM education, Liz was Senior Associate Vice Provost for undergraduate education in 2013-16. She is currently supported as an HHMI Professor to develop a new immersive ecology field course with a primary objective of bringing more under-represented minorities into the field.



Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Integrative Biology (1995)
M.S., Northern Arizona University, Quaternary Studies (1990)
B.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, Anthropology (1981)


Population biology



Bass Biology Building and Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve