R. Scot Duncan, Ph.D., is the chief architect and science writer for TrekBirmingham.com. After several years of planning for Trek Birmingham by the team of Dr. Duncan, Dr. Ed Brands, and Jeanne Jackson of the Urban Environmental Studies Program at Birmingham-Southern College, the website launched in May 2011. Much of the content on Trek Birmingham comes from Dr. Duncan’s academic research on the ecology of Alabama for his book Southern Wonder: Alabama’s Surprising Biodiversity.
Dr. Duncan’s interest in ecology began as a child in Gulf Breeze, Florida birding with his parents, Bob and Lucy Duncan. Today, he passes on his passion for birding by teaching Birmingham Audubon Mountain Workshops and a Birmingham-Southern College winter term birding class. Dr. Duncan’s students in both venues learn that every bird song tells a story.
As an Eagle Scout, he spent a summer in Antarctica as a research assistant through the Antarctic Scientific Program a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, increasing his knowledge of global ecology. After earning his B.S. in biology from Eckerd College in 1993, Dr. Duncan went on to study tropical forest conservation while earning an M.S. and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida (UF). During his time as a graduate student, he and his wife, Ginger, spent a year living at the Makerere University Biological Field Station in Kibale National Park, Uganda, East Africa, studying with UF zoology professor Dr. Colin Chapman.
Dr. Duncan taught for a year at UF and then moved to Birmingham-Southern College in 2002 to a tenure-track position in biology where he teaches conservation, ecology, and environmental studies. His current research focuses on the ecology of endangered species and threatened ecosystems in Alabama, including the Ketona dolomite glades, the Montane Longleaf Pine Woodlands, and the Watercress Darter.
His award-winning book, Southern Wonder: Alabama’s Surprising Biodiversity (2013, University of Alabama Press), is written for a general audience and interweaves the disciplines of ecology, evolution, climatology, and geology to explain clearly and colorfully why Alabama is so biologically rich and why its species and ecosystems need careful preservation.
Dr. Duncan’s theses and dissertation include:
Duncan, R. S. 2001. “Tropical forest succession: integrating theory and application in forest restoration.” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.
Duncan, R. S. 1997. “Seed dispersal in a degraded agricultural tropical landscape: the first steps toward reforestation.” M.S. Thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.