David Duggins was raised in a family with a strong conservation ethic, and he pursued an academic career in line with those values. He earned both his bachelor’s degree (in zoology) and Ph.D. (in wildlife biology) at the University of Washington. He worked as a research scientist at UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories for 40 years before retiring in 2016.
David’s academic expertise centers on the effect of disturbance on ecological communities. While his work has focused on marine communities, the principles extend to terrestrial communities as well.
In addition to his academic research and teaching at the university level, David has long advocated introducing marine science to children in the primary grades. He created and supervised the Friday Harbor Labs’ Marine Science Outreach Program, a partnership with UW, public and private schools, and government agencies for K-12 science education and stewardship.
He and his wife, Megan Dethier (also a scientist at Friday Harbor Labs), have been enthusiastic supporters of the San Juan Preservation Trust since its inception. Now that he’s retired, David says, “I am able to put ‘my mouth where my money is’ and contribute to the Preservation Trust’s Board as a working board member.
“I am a strong believer in acting locally,” he says, “and while global conservation challenges are daunting, local issues seem like the place to begin.”