The professional biologist and advocacy: What role do we play?

Stephen DeStefano, Robert J. Steidl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Professional biologists assume a variety of roles during their careers. The potential role of advocate has come under increased debate and scrutiny by the public, resource users, legislators, and professional biologists themselves. We believe that biologists should offer their opinions on resource issues if those opinions are based on data, experience, and insight. As much as possible, professionals should resist involving personal philosophies, agendas, and emotions in favor of the most objective stance possible, realizing that there will be instances when they will be asked for their opinion when sufficient data are lacking, but biologists should not always defer to others to make interpretations and construe implications of data without their participation. This approach is best described as professional or expert opinion. Professionals should guard their unique position of providing reliable information and expert opinions while striving for objectivity and impartiality. For many professionals, controversy and confrontation will remain an aspect of the job, but the approach of offering input based on science and experience would allow professional biologists to perform their duties and participate meaningfully in the conservation and management of natural resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Dimensions of Wildlife
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


  • Advocacy
  • Conservation
  • Natural Resource Issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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