Georgina Mace, Ph.D.

Professor and Director, Centre for Population Biology
Imperial College London
NERC Centre for Population Biology
City, State, Zip
Silwood Park, Ascot Berks SL5 7PY
Award Year


Project Details

Mace accomplished four significant initiatives during her fellowship tenure. Firstly, she developed new criteria for listing species on IUCN red lists. She worked with the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of IUCN to develop new systems for listing species as threatened with extinction. The aim was to make this a more objective system that could be applied across all species so that the resulting listings were more transparent, equitable and appropriate to their increased use for setting conservation priorities. Mace served as the chair of a small drafting group comprised of 6-10 scientists.

Secondly, Mace focused on estimating extinction rates. In this effort she addressed the implications of threatened species assessments for estimating current extinction rates. The conclusion, from a variety of evidence including island biogeography theory, endangered species lists and extrapolations from historically recorded extinctions, is that current extinction rates are at least 1000 to 10,000 times the background rates in the fossil record. "Many species go extinct unnoticed, some have never been described and some have been described but are so poorly known that we would not notice their passing," says Mace. "It is a well-known phenomenon in biology, the more a group of animals or plants is studied, the greater the threat of extinction is realized."

Thirdly, Mace explored the role of captive breeding in species conservation. She undertook a wide-ranging analysis of the economic and biological costs and benefits of captive breeding. The conclusions from both perspectives support captive breeding as a conservation tool, especially for small-bodied, colonial living forms with rapid reproductive rates.

Finally, she addressed conservation of Partula snails. Working with colleagues at the London Zoo, she helped develop comprehensive conservation strategies for these creatures. This included assessments of all 120+ species, captive breeding, protection of wild populations, reintroduction into enclosures in the wild and release into semi-captive conditions in botanic gardens.


Georgina Mace is an expert on species extinction and is concerned with the effective assessment of the degree of extinction risk faced by species. Her current work is in three main areas: the development and analysis of biologically based systems, for identifying and listing species threatened with extinction; the use of population viability models in the development of species recovery and management plans and the role of captive breeding programs for ex-situ preservation of threatened species.

Mace has been the head of both the Population Genetics Unit and the Conservation Biology Group at the Zoological Society of London.



Ph.D., University of Sussex
1979: Evolutionary Biology, United Kingdom

Bachelor of Science, University of Liverpool
1976: Zoology, United Kingdom


Marine Fellow
1991: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment


  • Gardenfors, U., C. Hilton-Taylor, G.M. Mace and J.P. Rodriguez. 2001. The applications of IUNC red list criteria at regional levels. Conservation Biology 15(5): 1206-1212
  • Mace, G.M. and J.D. Reynolds. 2001. Exploitation as a conservation issue. Conservation Biology Series (6): 3-15
  • Mace, G.M. and N.J. Collar. 2002. Priority-settings in species conservation. Conservation Biology Series (7): 61-73
  • Purvis, A., G.M. Mace and J.L. Gittleman. 2001. Past and future carnivore extinctions: a phylogenetic perspective. Conservation Biology series (5): 11-34
  • Coulson, T., G.M. Mace, E. Hudson and H. Possingham. 2001. The use and abuse of population viability analysis. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16:219-221
  • Pruvis, A., K.E. Jones and G.M. Mace. 2000. Extinction. Bioessays 22(12): 1123-1133
  • Purvis, A., J.L. Glittleman and G.M. Mace. 2000. Predicting extinction risk in declining species. Biological Sciences 267(1456): 1947. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B
  • Purvis, A., P.M. Agapow and G.M. Mace. 2000. Nonrandom extinction and the loss of evolutionary history. Science 288(5464): 328
  • Mace, G.M. and E.J. Hudson. 1999. Attitudes toward Sustainability and Extinction. Conservation Biology 13(2): 242
  • Mace, G.M. 1996. What do we save first? World conservation 27(1): 11
  • Ginsberg, J.R., G.M. Mace and S. Albon. 1995. Local extinction in a small and declining population: wild dogs in the Serengeti. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 262(1364): 221-228
  • Kershaw, M., P.H. Williams and G.M. Mace. 1995. Threatened status, rarity, and diversity as alternative selection. Conservation Biology 9:324-334
  • Mace, G.M. 1995. Classification of threatened species and its role in conservation planning. 197-213
  • Mace, G.M. and N.J. Collar. 1995. Extinction risk assessment for birds through quantitative criteria. Ibis 137:S240-S246
  • Durant, S.M. and G.M. Mace. 1994. Species differences and population structure in population viability analysis. In: Creative Conservation - the Interactive Management of Wild and Captive Animals (P.J. Olney, G.M. Mace and A.T.C. Feistner eds.). Chapman & Hall, London, UK
  • Heywood, V.H., G.M. Mace, R.M. May and S.N. Stuart. 1994. Uncertainties about extinction rates. Nature 368:105
  • Kershaw, M., P.H. Williams and G.M. Mace. 1994. Conservation of Afrotropical antelopes: consequences and efficiency of using different site selection methods and diversity criteria. Biodiversity and Conservation 3(4): 354
  • Mace, G.M. 1994. Classifying threatened species: Means and ends. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. 344:91-97
  • Mace, G.M. 1993. Sexual dimorphism in primates. In: Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution (J.S. Jones, R.D. Martin and D. Pilbeam eds.). Cambridte University Press, p. 52-55
  • Mace, G.M. 1993. The status of proposals to redefine the IUCN threatened species categories. In: 1994 Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK,
  • Mace, G.M., N. Collar, J. Cooke, K. Gaston, J. Ginsberg, N. Leader-Williams, N. Maunder and E.J. Milner-Gulland. 1992. The development of new criteria for listing species on the IUCN Red List. Species 19:16-22