Bio


William (Bill) Durham is Bing Professor in Human Biology, Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and a Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. He has taught in Human Biology and Anthropology at Stanford since 1977, when he came from the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan.

Today, Bill's main interests are environmental anthropology, the “coevolution” of genetic and cultural change in human populations, and the challenges of sustainable development in the tropics, especially Galapagos, Peru, and Costa Rica. Along with Stanford Professor Rodolfo Dirzo, Bill is co-director of the Osa-Golfito Initiative (INOGO) in the Woods Institute, working with Costa Ricans to develop a sustainability strategy for the southern region of the country.

Bill’s publications include the books Scarcity and Survival in Central America (Stanford Press 1979; and in Spanish, by UCA Editores 1988), Coevolution: Genes, Culture, and Human Diversity (Stanford Press, 1991), The Social Causes of Environmental Destruction in Latin America (U. of Michigan Press, 1995, with M. Painter), Inbreeding, Incest and the Incest Taboo (Stanford Press 2004, with A. Wolf), and Ecotourism and Conservation in the Americas (CABI, 2008, with A. Stronza). In addition, he served as Editor in Chief for 16 volumes of the Annual Review of Anthropology between 1992 and 2008.

A recipient of the MacArthur Prize Fellowship, Bill has also received five awards for teaching and faculty leadership at Stanford. He was Founding Co-Director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), a research organization that views tourism as a means to promote local livelihoods and environmental conservation. He has led more than 25 Stanford Alumni Association trips to Galapagos, the Amazon, East Africa, and elsewhere.

Academic Appointments


  • Emeritus Faculty, Acad Council, Anthropology

Administrative Appointments


  • Co-Director, Osa and Golfito Initiative, Woods Institute (2012 - 2018)
  • Co-Director, Center for Responsible Travel (2003 - 2014)
  • Chair, Department of Anthropological Sciences (2003 - 2006)
  • Advisory Board Member, Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, UCB (2001 - 2003)
  • Chair, Department of Anthropological Sciences (1997 - 2000)
  • Trustee, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1996 - 2002)
  • Associate Chair, Department of Anthropology (1992 - 1995)
  • Director, Program in Human Biology (1992 - 1995)
  • Editor, Annual Review of Anthropology (1991 - 2008)

Program Affiliations


  • Center for Latin American Studies

Projects


  • The Osa-Golfito Initiative (INOGO), Woods Insttute for the Environment, Stanford University (January 1, 2011)

    A collaborative effort with Costa Rican researchers and community members to build a sustainable development strategy for the south-eastern region of the country.

    Location

    Costa Rica

    Collaborators

    • Daniel Villafranca, Director, RBA Consulting, of Costa Rica
  • The Galapagos Challenge, Anthropology, Stanford

    Research on the relationship between evolution and conservation, including both the evolutionary emergence of biodiversity in Galapagos and its vulnerability, and the evolution of social institutions to regulate human behavior for conservation.

    Location

    Galapagos Islands

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Place-based education for environmental behavior: a "funds of knowledge' and social capital approach ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION RESEARCH Cruz, A. R., Selby, S. T., Durham, W. H. 2018; 24 (5): 627–47
  • Can ecotourism deliver real economic, social, and environmental benefits? A study of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM Hunt, C. A., Durham, W. H., Driscoll, L., Honey, M. 2015; 23 (3): 339-357
  • The Galapagos Challenge: The Role of Evolution in Conservation Durham, W. H. 2015
  • Positive and Negative Effects of a Threatened Parrotfish on Reef Ecosystems CONSERVATION BIOLOGY McCauley, D. J., Young, H. S., Guevara, R., Williams, G. J., Power, E. A., Dunbar, R. B., Bird, D. W., Durham, W. H., Micheli, F. 2014; 28 (5): 1312-?

    Abstract

    Species that are strong interactors play disproportionately important roles in the dynamics of natural ecosystems. It has been proposed that their presence is necessary for positively shaping the structure and functioning of ecosystems. We evaluated this hypothesis using the case of the world's largest parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum), a globally imperiled species. We used direct observation, animal tracking, and computer simulations to examine the diverse routes through which B. muricatum affects the diversity, dispersal, relative abundance, and survival of the corals that comprise the foundation of reef ecosystems. Our results suggest that this species can influence reef building corals in both positive and negative ways. Field observation and simulation outputs indicated that B. muricatum reduced the abundance of macroalgae that can outcompete corals, but they also feed directly on corals, decreasing coral abundance, diversity, and colony size. B. muricatum appeared to facilitate coral advancement by mechanically dispersing coral fragments and opening up bare space for coral settlement, but they also damaged adult corals and remobilized a large volume of potentially stressful carbonate sediment. The impacts this species has on reefs appears to be regulated in part by its abundance-the effects of B. muricatum were more intense in simulation scenarios populated with high densities of these fish. Observations conducted in regions with high and low predator (e.g., sharks) abundance generated results that are consistent with the hypothesis that these predators of B. muricatum may play a role in governing their abundance; thus, predation may modulate the intensity of the effects they have on reef dynamics. Overall our results illustrate that functionally unique and threatened species may not have universally positive impacts on ecosystems and that it may be necessary for environmental managers to consider the diverse effects of such species and the forces that mediate the strength of their influence.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/cobi.12314

    View details for Web of Science ID 000342668700001

  • Pushing back against paper-park pushers – Reply to Craigie et al. Biological Conservation McCauley, D., Power, E., Bird, D., Dunbar, R., Durham, W., Micheli, F., Young, H. 2014; 173
  • Conservation at the edges of the world BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION McCauley, D. J., Power, E. A., Bird, D. W., McInturff, A., Dunbar, R. B., Durham, W. H., Micheli, F., Young, H. S. 2013; 165: 139-145
  • Farm-scale adaptation and vulnerability to environmental stresses: Insights from winegrowing in Northern California GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE-HUMAN AND POLICY DIMENSIONS Nicholas, K. A., Durham, W. H. 2012; 22 (2): 483-494
  • The effect of land use change and ecotourism on biodiversity: a case study of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, from 1985 to 2008 LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY Broadbent, E. N., Zambrano, A. M., Dirzo, R., Durham, W. H., Driscoll, L., Gallagher, P., Salters, R., Schultz, J., Colmenares, A., Randolph, S. G. 2012; 27 (5): 731-744
  • Shrouded in a fetishistic mist: commoditisation of sustainability in tourism International Journal of Tourism Anthropology Durham, W. H., Hunt, C. A. 2012

    View details for DOI 10.1504/IJTA.2012.052541

  • Ecotourism Impacts in the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM RESEARCH Almeyda, A. M., Broadbent, E. N., Wyman, M. S., Durham, W. H. 2010; 12 (6): 803-819

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jtr.797

    View details for Web of Science ID 000284216100012

  • Anthropology and Environmental Policy: What Counts? AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST Charnley, S., Durham, W. H. 2010; 112 (3): 397-415
  • Ecotourism and Conservation in the Americas (Book Review) TOURISM MANAGEMENT Book Review Authored by: Clarke, A. 2010; 31 (3): 447-447
  • Fishing for Solutions: Ecotourism and Conservation in Galapagos National Park Ecotourism and conservation in the Americas Stronza, A., Durham, W. H. 2008; 7: 66-90
  • The Elephant in the Room: Evolution in Anthropology General Anthropology Durham, W. 2007

    View details for DOI 10.1525/ga.2007.14.2.1a

  • Inbreeding, Incest and the Incest Taboo Wolf, A., Durham, W. H. Stanford University Press. 2006
  • Political ecology and environmental destruction in Latin America The social causes of environmental destruction in Latin America Durham, W. H. University of Michigan Press. 1995: 249–264
  • APPLICATIONS OF EVOLUTIONARY CULTURE THEORY ANNUAL REVIEW OF ANTHROPOLOGY DURHAM, W. H. 1992; 21: 331-355
  • INTERGROUP AGGRESSION IN CHIMPANZEES AND HUMANS CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Manson, J. H., Wrangham, R. W. 1991; 32 (4): 369-390
  • ADVANCES IN EVOLUTIONARY CULTURE THEORY ANNUAL REVIEW OF ANTHROPOLOGY DURHAM, W. H. 1990; 19: 187-210
  • Escaséz y Sobreviviencia en Centroamérica Scarcity and Survival in Central America Durham, W. H. UCA Editores. 1987
  • Testing the Malaria Hypothesis in West Africa Distribution and Evolution of Hemoglobin and Globin Loci Durham, W. H. 1983: 45-72
  • INTERACTIONS OF GENETIC AND CULTURAL-EVOLUTION - MODELS AND EXAMPLES HUMAN ECOLOGY DURHAM, W. H. 1982; 10 (3): 289-323
  • ADAPTIVE SIGNIFICANCE OF CULTURAL BEHAVIOR - REPLY HUMAN ECOLOGY DURHAM, W. H. 1977; 5 (1): 59-66
  • ADAPTIVE SIGNIFICANCE OF CULTURAL BEHAVIOR HUMAN ECOLOGY DURHAM, W. H. 1976; 4 (2): 89-121