Laura K. Marsh, Ph.D., Board Member
Dr. Marsh has worked, traveled, and lived in 31 countries. She specializes in tropical rainforest ecology studying everything from plants to monkeys to jaguars to people and has worked internationally since the early 1980s. She is the co-founder and director of Global Conservation Institute, a 501(c)(3) that strives to develop creative science solutions to global challenges for the conservation of nature and natural resources.
Dr. Marsh has published in professional journals on many aspects of science, conservation, and environmental education, including two edited books called Primates in Fragments. The second volume was listed as Springer’s top 25% of science downloads (over 6100/year, > 50,000 total) for 2014-2018; a book that reviewers consider “essential.” At present, she is leading the effort for the IUCN on a global guideline for the Conservation and Management of Primates in Fragments with 170 colleagues in 40 countries.
Dr. Marsh’s 2014 monograph revising the taxonomy of the Pithecia genus (Saki monkeys) is the largest revision for any Neotropical primate in more than half a century. She described 16 total Saki monkey species, 5 of them new to science. One of the newly described species, Pithecia isabela, was named for the remarkable and courageous Isabel Godin, for whom Dr. Marsh has written the feature-length film and musical of the story called ACROSS THE AMAZONS (https://acrosstheamazons.com).
Read more about Laura Marsh...
Dr. Marsh is a producer and writer with Western Sandblast Repertory Film Group in Los Angeles, CA. She is a Nichols award-winning screenwriter, author of six feature-length screenplays, a musical book and libretto, and two TV pilots. Additionally, she wrote and produced a 6-minute teaser trailer for a documentary on Avian Flu with Mark Medoff.
She was an organizer for five years for the Screenwriting Conference of Santa Fe and was a screener and reviewer for the Santa Fe Film Festival for three years. She is an active, multi-grant winning member of Women in Film, New Mexico. She completed her first novel SAV•AGE(S) about tribal New Guinea during WWII and won a literary award in May 2020 (Maurice Prize in Fiction: https://lettersandscience.ucdavis.edu/news/tropical-biologist-wins-maurice-prize-worldwar-ii-novel-set-new-guinea).
Dr. Marsh brings together motivated people to impact change in the way we approach the issues surrounding the environment through eco-fluency. In the 1980s before there was a curriculum about tropical rainforests in K-12 schools, Dr. Marsh created the Tropical
Rainforest Education Program (TREP), where she developed lesson plans for teachers through workshops hosted by zoos and aquariums across the US, Canada, and Latin America. She worked with textbook authors to better include information about rainforests, especially in high school textbooks.
Dr. Marsh completed a BS at UC Davis, an MS at San Francisco State University, and a second Masters and Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. She did a post-doc at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico as a southwestern wetlands and wildlife specialist. Then, as a LANL Technical Staff Member with top security clearance, she taught climate change education and created the tribal “Elder Network” on behalf of the US Department of Energy in the Arctic (North Slope of Alaska), Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Nauru, Australia, and the USA.
In January-May 2017, she led the “Houseboat Amazon” expedition to a remote watershed in Brazil to look for a missing a Saki monkey that was collected for museums in the 1930s but had not been seen alive since. The successful expedition team not only confirmed the formerly IUCN Data Deficient Pithecia vanzolinii in the wild but studied it in its entire Amazonas range determining that it is now considered an IUCN Threatened species. The multinational team (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, USA) surveyed five rivers making new discoveries in a region that was poorly known by science. In addition to scientific publications and conference presentations, the development of the documentary about the saki expedition in Brazil called HOUSEBOAT AMAZON: THE SEARCH FOR A MISSING MONKEY is in post-production and is expected to air in late 2020 (https://houseboatamazon.com).