UGA Libraries Logo

Interview with Harold Mooney, August 11, 2015

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:20 - Early interests / Undergraduate education

Play segment

Partial Transcript: How did you get interested in ecology Hal, and how did this interest translate to a profession in ecology?

Segment Synopsis: Mooney talks about his early life, recalling how he was interested in politics in high school. He decided to major in political science at UC-Berkeley, but he realized that he could't afford it so he spent some time working on ships. When he decided to return to college, he went to the College of Marin where he took a botany course that peaked his interest in ecology, which led him to transfer to UC-Santa Barbara to study plant ecology. Mooney discusses the brief time he spent in the army when he was drafted for the Korean War while at UC-Berkeley. When recalls finishing his undergraduate studies post-service and continuing on to graduate school at Duke University to study with Dwight Billings.

Keywords: Alfred Johnson; Andes; Bill Osborne; Boy Scouts; C.H Muller; George Sprugel; Harriet Barkley; John Marr; NSF; Naval ROTC; Norwegian freighter; Panama Canal; Rocky Mountain Biological Station; South America; chemical theory

00:20:53 - Graduate school at Duke

Play segment

Partial Transcript: One question I had, it seemed like at some point you must have gotten interested in physiological process. Was this a result of Billing's interest in that or was it something that you had become interested in earlier on?

Segment Synopsis: Mooney discusses his time as a graduate student at Duke University and how he became interested in physiological ecology by working with Dwight Billings. He talks about his dissertation research, saying that he studied the seasonal carbohydrate cycle of alpine plants for his master's, and worked with alpine seeds from New Mexico and Alaska for his graduate research. After he graduated, he was offered a job at UCLA.

Keywords: Aubrey Naylor; Boyd Strain; John Kennedy; Larry Bliss; Medicine Bow Mountatins; Paul Kramer; Rockies; Studebaker; University of Whyoming; University of Wisconsin

00:32:07 - First sabbatical / International science

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you talked about how you got into physiological ecology as a graduate student. How did this play out professionally after you got a job at UCLA and how did things happen later in other phases of your career?

Segment Synopsis: Mooney discusses taking his first sabbatical to compare the chaparral plants in California to those in Chile. He talks about how this sabbatical got him interested in international science, mentioning his subsequent involvement in the International Biological Program and the International Council for Science, which was dedicated to the free exchange of science.

Keywords: Alexander von Humboldt; Chili; Frank Blair; National Academy of Science; Nuclear Winter; South Africa; The Cold War; Venezula; evolutionary biology

00:45:26 - ESA's shift toward political involvement

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay. Another thing I would be interested in asking about is the history of your involvement in the Ecological Society of America.

Segment Synopsis: Mooney recalls the the Ecological Society of America (ESA)'s stance against getting involved in public policy and politics when he first joined, saying that that has changed over the years. He discusses his ESA presidency (198801989) and talks about working on the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative report with his vice president, Jane Lubchenco.

Keywords: Bill Robertson; ESA Washington Office; Mellon Foundation; National Academy of Sciences

00:57:24 - Getting involved with climate change issues

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What have been your interactions with the ecological society since then?

Segment Synopsis: Mooney talks about getting involved with climate change issues, saying that he has became more involved with programs like the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). Mooney also says that he is glad that he did not end up majoring in political science.

Keywords: Bob Watson; Climate Assessment Program; French government; Global Biodiversity Assessment; Global Change Program; SCOPE; ecosystem services; wealth of nations