Author Archives: Rafe

About Rafe

Rafe Sagarin is a marine ecologist and environmental policy analyst at the University of Arizona. In both his science and policy work, Sagarin connects basic observations of nature to issues of broad societal interest, including conservation biology, protecting public trust resources, and making responses to terrorism and other security threats more adaptable. Dr. Sagarin is a recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship and has recently published two books, Learning from the Octopus (Basic Books, March 2012) and Observation and Ecology (Island Press, July 2012), which show how nature observation--when extended across large scales and enhanced with both new technologies and greater deference to traditional knowledge sources—is revealing profound new insights about our dynamic social and ecological world. He was a Geological Society of America Congressional Science Fellow in the office of U.S. Representative (and later U.S. Secretary of Labor) Hilda Solis. He has taught ecology and environmental policy at Duke University, California State University Monterey Bay, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles and University of Arizona. His research has appeared in Science, Nature, Conservation Biology, Ecological Monographs, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Foreign Policy, Homeland Security Affairs and other leading journals, magazines, and newspapers. He is the editor, with Terence Taylor of the volume Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World (2008, University of California Press).

Powerful Observations of a Backyard Ecology

I wanted to share the work of Arizona State University School of Sustainability graduate student Edgar Cardenas.  Edgar’s work, a photographic exploration of the changes of his scraggly back yard over the course of time, reminds us that anywhere is … Continue reading

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On Observation – a journey up the California Coast

It’s been years, but I finally published my account of a wonderful observational field expedition I took with 13 students from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment up the California coast.  Here’s a few excerpts… “Observation is not just … Continue reading

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Learning What Feels Green

Originally posted (with colorful sense-filling pictures!) by Rafe on Island Press Field Notes Blog: There’s a great interview of anthropologist David Howes in the 14 September 2103 NewScientist (subscription access) about the role of synesthesia in marketing products.  Synestesia—the … Continue reading

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The Quotes that Got Away

One of the problems of writing a book is that it eventually gets done, and almost immediately after it’s done, you start to discover a bunch of facts, stories, and quotes that would have been just perfect for the book, … Continue reading

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Giving and Taking: Images and Nature

Once again I’m promoting science writer Michelle Nijhuis, this time for a little piece in The New Yorker on the history of the daguerreotype, an early type of photographic technique.  What I like about the piece is it makes me … Continue reading

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Great Review in Biological Conservation

We are grateful for another insightful and positive review of Observation and Ecology.  Quentin Groom of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium gives a nice overview of the book and makes a strong case for observational approaches, noting that: If … Continue reading

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Great sale on the ebook version now: Island Press, is celebrating the summer with a one-time-only sale discounting more than 500 e-books to $4.99 or less at (with code SALE), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo stores.  This … Continue reading

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