Event Type

Ecotoxicology, Wildlife Conservation, and Implications for the Health of Indigenous Peoples, with Frank von Hippel

Event Dates
Murie Life Science Bldg, Murie Auditorium, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 3:00 PM AKST


This talk reviews community-based participatory research projects with indigenous people in Alaska, Guatemala, and Australia. The Alaskan project focuses on endocrine disrupting chemicals (PCBs, PFCs, PBDEs, pesticides) on St. Lawrence Island, and employs fish models to understand potential effects on human health. The Guatemalan project focuses on food web dynamics of pesticides and toxic metals in a crater lake, and also employs fish models. The Australian project uses a carnivorous marsupial to understand potential impacts of manganese mining on humans and wildlife.

About the Speaker:

Frank von Hippel was born and raised in Anchorage, where he graduated from East High School in 1985. He received his A.B. in biology from Dartmouth College in 1989 and his Ph.D. in integrative biology from the University of California Berkeley in 1996. From 1996-1999, Frank taught field courses in desert ecology for Columbia University in Arizona and Mexico, and then taught ecology field courses for the University of Pittsburgh on Semester at Sea - a semester aboard a ship that sailed around the world. Since 2000, Frank has been a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

He frequently teaches abroad - in 2005 he taught tropical rainforest ecology in Costa Rica, in 2007 he taught conservation biology and biogeography for a semester in Chile, in 2011 he taught about the history of the environmental movement in Argentina, and in 2013 he taught on the Semester at Sea program again, this time for the University of Virginia. Frank also teaches summer field courses in ecotoxicology for Alaska Natives in Norton Sound. At UAA Frank teaches courses in animal behavior, biogeography, conservation biology, and evolutionary biology.

Frank’s research focuses on two areas: evolutionary ecology and ecotoxicology, both using freshwater fishes as study animals and is primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health. Current ecotoxicology projects examine the following contaminants: perchlorate, toxic metals, PCBs, PBDEs, PFCs, and pesticides. Frank’s research incorporates molecular, organismal, and ecological approaches to solve problems in conservation biology and environmental health. A critical component of several of Frank’s research projects is community-based participatory research with indigenous people.