Beth A. Kaplin, PhD

Core Faculty and Director of Conservation Biology Concentration
Department of Environmental Studies

Program Director
Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation

AUNE Contact Information


Highest Degree

PhD, Zoology, University of Wisconsin Madison

Other Degrees & Credentials

MS, Zoology, University of Wisconsin
BS, Wildlife and Fishery Ecology, Colorado State University

Areas of Expertise

Plant-animal interactions, seed dispersal ecology, tropical forest ecology and restoration, matrix and edge effects. Vertebrate ecology, animal behavioral ecology, foraging behavior. Primate behavioral ecology, primate seed dispersal, primate conservation. Protected areas conservation and management, human-wildlife interactions, capacity building for conservation in developing countries


As a conservation scientist, Dr. Beth Kaplin is interested in the relationship between biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem functioning.

“We humans rely on ecosystems for our life support. One of the greatest challenges facing humans today is the loss of biodiversity, and with it the support system we rely on,” says Dr. Kaplin. “Our current economic systems do not help us to understand the value of these ecological systems in our daily lives. The exceptional loss of biodiversity, occurring at a fast pace across a large scale, is largely caused by human activities. I believe we can solve these problems through a combination of more effective educational approaches, combined with applied research to understand the functioning, limits, and extent of how ecological systems operate and the role of biodiversity.”

Kaplin’s interests have revolved around how species, as elements of biodiversity, maintain ecological processes. Much of her work is focused in the Albertine Rift in east and central Africa, a region of isolated tropical montane forest islands possessing extremely high biodiversity, a rich evolutionary history, very high human population densities, and a history of colonialism which has affected the regions ability to effectively manage its landscapes and biodiversity. Her main study site is the Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda, where she has worked since 1990.

Professionally, teaching and research are both important components of her work, and in many ways she views these interests as complementary and mutually enhancing. “I am interested in the ways that we teach, and the ways people learn best. I believe that an interdisciplinary program in Environmental Studies, such as we have here at Antioch University New England, is one of the best ways to educate students effectively in the effort to maintain biodiversity at all levels,” says Kaplin. “Our program teaches students that there are different ways of knowing, and they learn the different languages of the disciplines that are involved in environmental studies and conservation science.”