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Richard B. Primack

Professor of Biology, Boston University

Our lab focuses on how climate change affects the flowering, leafing out, fruiting, and leaf senescence times of plants, the migration times of birds and the flight times of insects in Massachusetts, and the potential for ecological mismatches among species caused by changes in timing. The main geographical focus is Concord, Massachusetts, due to the availability of extensive phenological and species abundance records kept by Henry David Thoreau and later naturalists. We are currently comparing our results from Concord with long-term changes at Acadia National Park in Maine. At the Arnold Arboretum and an international network of botanical gardens, we investigate variation among over 1600 species in leafing out times, leaf senescence times, and fruiting times and the physiological control of these processes. We compare on the ground observations with similar observations made using remote sensing and drones. A new interest is investigating noise pollution in protected areas. An ongoing activity involves producing conservation biology textbooks and working with co-authors to produce textbooks in other languages. In addition, Richard Primack serves as Editor of the international journal Biological Conservation.


  • –present
    Professor of Biology, Boston University