Thomas Chesnes


The following interview was conducted in the summer of 2020. Thomas Chesnes, the interviewee, is long-time professor of biology at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. A native Floridian, Chesnes completed all of his degrees at the University of Florida in Gainesville (Ph.D., environmental engineering sciences/systems ecology/wetlands; M.S., environmental engineering sciences/estuarine systems; B.S., zoology). His research has focused on seagrasses, soil salinity, the Gulf killifish, the mangrove saltmarsh snake, the Atlantic red snapper, and all matters pertaining to wetlands, coastal habitats, and aquatic environments. For over a quarter of century, with numerous grants awarded (including a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties), he has done fieldwork throughout the state, from North Florida (the St. Johns River area) to Florida Bay (which includes the Keys and the Everglades). He has also directed numerous trips to the Galapagos Islands. Until his recent appointment as associate dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, he was chair of his biology department. Perhaps most importantly for this interview, Chesnes draws from his scientific research some deeply reflective and philosophical insights.

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