Geerat Vermeij

Profesor of Marine Ecology and Paleoecology

University of California, Davis

"Transformations in biology"


Geerat Vermeij is a professor of marine ecology and paleoecology at the University of California at Davis. Perhaps best known for his work documenting the arms race among long-extinct molluscs and their predators, Dr. Vermeij has advanced the field of paleobiology by addressing the profound influences organisms have on each other's evolutionary histories.

He has published nearly a hundred scientific papers and four books, including Evolution and Escalation: An Ecological History of Life, A Natural History of Shells, and a recent autobiography entitled Privileged Hands: A Scientific Life. His latest book, Nature and Economic History, integrates the principles of economics and evolution – linking diverse theoretical approaches to understand major trends in the history of life and humanity. He served as editor for Evolution, the field's foremost journal and his research has spanned the coastlines of nearly every continent. He is a distinguished professor, the recipient of the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal by the National Academy of Sciences and in 1992 was honored as a MacArthur Fellow.

In addition to his scholarly contributions, Dr. Vermeij’s passion and enthusiasm for understanding the natural world is further demonstrated in his ability to make science assessable to all segment of society – from teaching in a traditional academic setting to sharing his knowledge with others in the highly acclaimed PBS series, “The Shape of Life”. He has truly transformed the field of evolutionary biology and his research continues to inspire established practitioners of science, budding conchologists and the blind. Dr. Vermeij himself has been blind since the age of three.

Selected Publications

Vermeij, GJ (1980) Exploring Pictures by Hand. IN: NATURE. 594-594. MACMILLAN MAGAZINES LTD. LONDON.

Vermeij, GJ (1994) The Evolutionary Interaction Among Species - Selection, Escalation, and Coevolution IN: ANNUAL REVIEW OF ECOLOGY AND SYSTEMATICS. 219-236. ANNUAL REVIEWS INC. PALO ALTO.

Vermeij, GJ (1993) A Natural History of Shells. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 207 p.

Vermeij, GJ (1994) Give me Your Shelled, Your Clawed. IN: NATURAL HISTORY. 33-39. AMER MUSEUM NAT HISTORY. NEW YORK.

Vermeij, GJ (1996) Privileged Hands; A Scientific Life. New York: John Wiley. 297 p.

Vermeij, GJ (1993) Evolution and Escalation: An Ecological History of Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 544 p.