Tim Treuer

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) PhD 2017

Tim is an Alaskan, tropical ecologist, and someone who feels most comfortable writing about himself in the third person. As a kid growing up in Anchorage, he found the idea of hyper-diverse tropical ecosystems deeply alluring, and after spending the summer after his freshman year in Malaysian Borneo on a Harvard study abroad course, he knew he had drunk the kool-aid and there was no turning back. Tim pursued a variety of research opportunities over the subsequent decade, from collecting botanical specimens of trees in Madagascar to lassoing lizards in Jamaica to monitoring reef fish diversity in Honduras (while interning for a PADI Divemaster certification). After college he spent the better part of a year and a half in Kalimantan, Indonesia as a Richardson Fellow in Public Service, co-managing an experimental tropical forest restoration initiative and conducting a research project on the community ecology of disease-vectoring mosquitoes across a gradient of deforestation.

Now in his sixth (and final) year as a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton, Tim has continued the shift from a focus on the basic ecology and biodiversity of tropical habitats to finding ways to conserve and restore these incredible ecosystems while still meeting human needs. Working with David Wilcove and Andy Dobson, his dissertation research focuses on tropical forest restoration, specifically the role it can play in meeting our conservation and climate mitigation goals. Most of his projects have focused on exploring lessons offered by the world's largest tropical forest restoration project--Área de Conservación Guanacaste, in Costa Rica--including a look at what the deeply heterogeneous recovery of the plants and animals of the second-growth forest tells us about when, where, and how we should prioritize forest restoration. Zooming in further, he has also documented the enormously beneficial impacts of the disposal of thousands of tons of orange peels in one small corner of the conservation area, arguing that the quirky story deeply underscores the tragically unexplored potential of using organic wastes to jumpstart tropical forest recovery. As a PEI-STEP fellow working with Michael Oppenheimer, he has also sought to zoom out and ask what policies and resources we need to mobilize to realize our international forest restoration goals. 

Tim is an AAAS Mass Media Fellow and will spend the summer of 2018 writing for NOVA Next in Boston. He hopes the experience will let him use an interwoven background in science, science policy, and science communication to push forward on some tough challenges at the interface of ecology and society in the tropics, Alaska, and everywhere in between.


Choi, J., Treuer, T., Dobson, A., Oppenheimer, M., Werden, L., Wilcove, D. (INVITED SUBMISSION). Using organic wastes to spark tropical forest regeneration. Tropical Conservation Science

Fisher, B., D. Herrera, D. Adams, F. Fox, L. Gallagher, D. Gerkey, D. Gill, C. Golden, D. Hole, K. Johnson, M. Mulligan, S. Myers, R. Naidoo, A. Pfaff, E. Selig, D. Tickner, T. Treuer, T. Ricketts (IN PRESS). Harnessing nature’s efficiency to meet sustainable development goals. Lancet Planetary Health

Estes, L., P. Elsen, T. Treuer, L. Ahmed, K. Caylor, J. Chang, J. Choi, and E. Ellis. 2018. The Spatial and Temporal Domains of Modern Ecology. Nature Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0524-4

Herrera, D., A. Ellis, B. Fisher, C. Golden, K. Johnson, M. Mulligan, A. Pfaff, T. Treuer, and T. Ricketts. 2017. Upstream watershed condition predicts rural children’s health across 35 developing countries. Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00775-2

Treuer, T., J. Choi, D. Janzen, W. Hallwachs, D. Peréz-Aviles, A. Dobson, J. Powers, L. Shanks, L. Werden, D. Wilcove. 2017. Low-cost agricultural waste accelerates tropical forest regeneration. Restoration Ecology doi: 10.1111/rec.12565 

Contact Information:

Guyot Hall, Room 106