Competition: US & Canada
Keesing is a biologist who studies the consequences of interactions among species, particularly as biodiversity declines. Her recent work focuses on how biodiversity influences the probability that humans and other animals will be exposed to infectious diseases. She has worked in Kenya since 1995 studying how the disappearance of elephants, giraffes, and other large mammals influences the way African savannas function. Keesing has published more than 100 papers, with grant support from the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Her work has been covered by The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, and The Guardian, among others. In 2020, she and her work were featured in the BBC’s Extinction, with Sir David Attenborough. Keesing served on the steering committee for the Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education conferences, and was the director of a project on science literacy funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2000, she received a U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She is an elected Fellow of both the Ecological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2022, she received the International Cosmos Prize.