Simon Levin is James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University. He is one of the leading ecologists in the world, noted especially for his contributions to the development of the foundations of spatial ecology, for his landmark work on pattern and scale, and more recently for his research at the interface between ecology and economics, especially problems of public goods, common pool resources, and the global commons. His book, , along with his subsequent research, weaves these themes together, invoking ecological and evolutionary theory to inform principles for management practice.
Simon’s research has been devoted to understanding the dynamics of biological diversity at all levels, from the molecular diversity of diseases to the diversity of global ecological and cultural systems. It is furthermore concerned with exploring the importance of that diversity for humans, and socioeconomic mechanisms for sustaining or modifying diversity. He has combined mathematical modeling with empirical investigations to explore the dynamics of biodiversity and biocomplexity, including infectious diseases and the interactions between ecological systems and socioeconomic systems, with attention to the management of natural resources.
Throughout, a central thread has been the development of rules for scaling from the microscopic to the macroscopic, from individuals to collectives, from small scales to large, from short time scales to long. He has built interfaces between theoretical investigations and their application to the management of natural resources, used those applications to stimulate theoretical investigations and the elucidation of general principles for the management of ecological systems.