Faculty & Staff

David George Haskell

Professor of Biology
B. A., University of Oxford; Ph. D., Cornell University

Nonfiction Writing, Biodiversity, Evolution, Conservation



Please see my personal webpage for up-to-date news.

The Songs of Trees (Viking, 2017) was published April 4th, 2017.  “A work of scientific depth and lyricism”, Caspar Henderson’s review in The Guardian. “…keen observations and achingly beautiful narration”, Ed Yong’s profile in The Atlantic.

The Forest Unseen (Viking, 2012) was the winner of 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies, finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction, runner-up for the 2013 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award, and winner of the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature. The book is available as in paperbackhardcover, ebook, and audiobook. You can read more on the book's website.



Follow my wanderings through natural history, science, and literature on my blog, Ramble, on Twitter, or on Facebook.


BA with Honors (First), Zoology. 1990. University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Thesis advisor: W. D. Hamilton.

PhD Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. 1996. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Thesis advisor: D. W. Winkler.


Dapeng Nature Writing Award. Shenzhen, China. 2017.

Robert Foster Cherry Award of Baylor University for exceptional teachers from the English-speaking world. Semi-finalist, 2015-2016.

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. 2014-2015.

Writer-in-Residence, Rivendell Writers’ Colony, Sewanee, TN. 2015.

Humana Visiting Scholar, Centre College, Danville, KY. 2014.

National Academies’ 2013 Communication Award for Best Book. (Given by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, with support from the Keck Foundation.)

Finalist for 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

Winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award.

Winner of the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature.

Runner-up for 2013 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

2013 Harry C. Yeatman Environmental Education Award, Friends of the South Cumberland State Parks.

Carnegie-CASE Professor of the Year for Tennessee. Award given in recognition of “extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching.” November 2009.

Teacher of the Year Award. Society of Sewanee Scholars, University of the South. 2007.

Election by the American Ornithologists’ Union to Elective Member status in recognition for “significant contributions to ornithology”. May 2005

Contemplative Practice Fellow. American Council of Learned Societies. May-August 2005.

Associated Colleges of the South Environmental Fellow. Academic years 2000-2001, 2001-2002

Featured as one of five notable Ph.D. recipients in United States by Chronicle of Higher Education. 1996.

Marcia Brady Tucker Award, American Ornithologists’ Union Travel Award. 1995.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University. 1995.

Summer Fellowship, Cornell Graduate School. 1994.

R. H. Whittaker Award for best presentation at the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology symposium at Cornell University. 1993.

Summer Fellowship, Cornell Graduate School. 1993.

Summer Fellowship, Cornell Graduate School. 1992.

Oxford University Gibbs Prize for outstanding performance in Zoology degree program. 1990.




Haskell, D. G. (April 2107). The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors. New York, NY: Viking.

Penguin Random House Audio (April 2017).

German translation forthcoming by Kunstmann, München, Germany.

Spanish translation forthcoming by Turner, Madrid, Spain.

Japanese translation forthcoming by Tsukiji Shokan, Tokyo, Japan.

Korean translation forthcoming by Eidos, Seoul, Korea.

Chinese edition (simplified characters) forthcoming, The Commercial Press, Hong Kong.

Chinese edition (traditional characters) forthcoming, Business Weekly Publications, Cite Publishing, Taiwan.

French translation forthcoming. Flammarion, Paris.


Haskell, D. G. (2012). The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature. New York, NY: Viking.

Penguin paperback edition, March 2013.

Tantor Audio edition, January 2014, Narrator: Michael Healy.

Japanese edition: ミクロの森: 1m2の原生林が語る生命・進化・地球 Translator, Miki Naoko. Tsukiji Shokan, Tokyo. 2013.

Italian edition: La foresta nascosta. Translator: Daria Cavallini. Giulio Einaudi, Torino. 2014.

Spanish edition: En un metro de bosque. Translator: Guillem Usandizaga. Turner, Madrid. 2014.

French edition: Un an dans la vie d’une forêt. Translator: Thierry Piélat. Flammarion, Paris. 2014.

Korean edition: 숲에서 우주를 보다. Translator: Seungyoung Noh. Banyangjangbon, Seoul. 2014.

Chinese edition (simplified characters): 看不见的森林. Translator: Xiong Jiao. The Commercial Press, Hong Kong. 2014.

Chinese edition (traditional characters): 森林祕境.Translator: Baosen Xiao. Business Weekly Publications, Cite Publishing, Taiwan. 2014.

German edition. Das Verborgene leben des waldes. Translator: Christine Ammann. Verlag Antje Kunstmann, München, Germany. 2015.

Polish translation: Ukryte życie leśne. Translator: Katarzyny Sosnowskiej. Wydawnictwo JK Publishing. 2017.

Lativian translation forthcoming, Jumava, 2017.

German translation, DIE ZEIT special boxed set. Forthcoming 2017.

Czech translation, Euromedia. Forthcoming 2018.


Selected other publications (* indicates Sewanee undergraduate co-author):

Haskell, D. G. 2017. The seasons are not what they used to be. The New York Times. March 17th, 2017.

Haskell, D. G. 2017. Introduction to Gerald Dorros collection. Sales Catalogue, Christie’s, New York.

Haskell, D. G. 2017. The long reach of Jerusalem’s olive trees. Forward. April 12th, 2017.

Haskell, D. G. 2017. Life is the network, not the self. NPR 13.7. April 4th, 2017.

Haskell, D. G. 2017. Springtime gardening: Begin by listening to trees. Houzz. April 28th, 2017.

Haskell, D. G. 2017. Ten ways to listen to trees. Scientific American online. May 10, 2017.

Haskell, D. G. 2017. Listening to the thoughts of the forest. Undark: Truth, Beauty, Science. May 7, 2017.

Evans, J.P., K.K. Cecala, B.R. Scheffers*, C.A. Oldfield*, N.A. Hollingshead, D. Haskell, B.A. McKenzie*. In press. Widespread degradation of a vernal pool network in the southeastern United States: Challenges to current and future management. Wetlands.

Kirchberg*, J., Cecala, K. K., Price, S. J., White, E. M, & Haskell, D. G. 2016. Evaluating the impacts of small impoundments on stream salamanders. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2664

Harris*, J. B. C., & Haskell, D. G. (2013). Simulated birdwatchers' playback affects the behavior of two tropical birds. PLoS ONE, 8(10), e77902. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077902

Haskell, D. G. and J. W. Pan*. 2013. Phylogenetic analysis of threatened and range-restricted limestone specialists in the land snail genus Anguispira. Conservation Genetics 14: 671-682. doi: 10.1007/s10592-013-0460-4

Haskell, D. G. 2013. Nature's case for same-sex marriage. Op Ed in New York Times. (March 29th, 2013).

Haskell, D. G. 2012. Fifty Years later: Rachel Carson’s Legacy. Op Ed in Chattanooga Times Free Press. (Sunday Edition: Oct 14th, 2012).

Haskell, D. G. 2012. Scientific American Guest Blog: The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Sewanee’s Forest. Scientific American online. (April 19th, 2012).

Haskell, D. G. 2012. A Closer Look. Essay in Sewanee Magazine. (Summer 2012 edition).

Haskell, D. G. 2012. Schuler Books Guest Blog: Wonder Increases as Speed Decreases.  (May 11th, 2012).

Haskell, D. G., D. L. Wolford, and M. E. Pate, eds. 2011. Sustainable food at Sewanee: a report to the Sustainability Steering Committee

Haskell, D. G. and J. W. Pan*. 2010. The short-term effects of foot-clipping as a non-lethal method of obtaining tissue samples from terrestrial gastropods. Journal of Molluscan Studies. 76: 301-302. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyq021

Haskell, D. G. 2010. Least Terns, St. Catherine’s Island, Georgia. Wildbranch: An Anthology of Nature, Environmental, and Place-based Writing (F. Caplow and S. Cohen, eds.). University of Utah Press. [poem]

Haskell, D. G. 2010. Common Yellowthroat, Craftsbury Common, Vermont. Wildbranch: An Anthology of Nature, Environmental, and Place-based Writing (F. Caplow and S. Cohen, eds.). University of Utah Press. [poem]

Haskell, D. G. et al. 2010. Review of lease policies and proposals for reform. Sewanee Leaseholders Association report to the Community Council.

Casey, J. M.*, M. E. Wilson*, N. Hollingshead, and D. G. Haskell. 2009. The effects of exurbanization on bird and macroinvertebrate communities in deciduous forests on the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee. International Journal of Ecology 2009: Article ID 539417. doi:10.1155/2009/539417

Haskell, D. G. and A. Adhikari*. 2009. Darwin's Manufactory Hypothesis Is Confirmed and Predicts the Extinction Risk of Extant Birds. PLoS ONE 4: e5460. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005460. 

Thurman, C. F.*, and L. P. Shackleton*, and D. G. Haskell. 2008. Does Density of Dead Shells Predict Density of Living Anguispira cumberlandiana Lea 1840 (Gastropoda: Discidae)? American Midland Naturalist 159: 478-481.

Haskell, D. G. 2008. Bark and blood. Whole terrain. 15: 24-27

Harris, J. B. C.* and D. G. Haskell. 2008.  Land Cover Sampling Biases Associated with Roadside Bird Surveys. Avian Conservation and Ecology - Écologie et conservation des oiseaux 2: e12.

Haskell D. G., J. P. Evans, N. W. Pelkey. 2006. Depauperate Avifauna in Plantations Compared to Forests and Exurban Areas. PLoS ONE 1(1): e63. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000063

Scheffers, B. R.*, J. B. C. Harris*, and D. G. Haskell. 2006. Avifauna associated with ephemeral ponds on the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee. Journal of Field Ornithology 77: 178-183

McGrath, D. A; J. P. Evans; C. K. Smith; D. G. Haskell; N. W. Pelkey; R. R. Gottfried; C. D. Brockett; M. D. Lane; & E. D. Williams. 2004.  Mapping land-use change and monitoring the impacts of hardwood-to-pine conversion on the Southern Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. Earth Interactions 8: 1-24

Haskell, D. G., 2003. A case study in conservation biology: Songbirds in the Eastern United States.  Pages 55-74 in Loss of Biodiversity, S. L. Spray and K. L. McGlothlin (eds), Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Haskell, D. G. 2002. Begging behavior and nest predation.  Pages 163-172 in The Evolution of Nestling Begging: Competition, Cooperation and Communication, J. Wright and M. L. Leonard (eds.), Kluwer Academic Press.

Evans, J. P.; N. W. Pelkey; & D. G.  Haskell. 2002. An Assessment of Forest Change on the Cumberland Plateau in Southern Tennessee. Small Area Assessment Forestry Demonstration Project for the Southern Forest Resource Assessment. Final Report to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. http://lal.sewanee.edu/research/assessment.html

Haskell, D. G.; A. M. Knupp*; & M. C. Schneider*. 2001. Nest predator abundance and urbanization. Pages 243-258 in Avian Ecology and Conservation in an Urbanizing World, J. M. Marzluff, R. Bowman, and R. Donnelly (eds.), Kluwer Academic Press.

Haskell, D. G., 2000. Effects of forest roads on the macroinvertebrate soil fauna of the Southern Appalachian mountains. Conservation Biology 14: 57-63

Haskell, D. G., 1999. The effect of predation on begging-call evolution in nestling wood warblers. Animal Behaviour 57: 893-901 [this paper is used as an example in the "Evolution of Communication" section of J. Alcock's Animal Behavior textbook]

Haskell, D. G. 1997. Learning and foraging: experiments and a model examining the area-restricted search behavior of ferrets Behavioral Ecology 8: 448-455

Haskell, D. G. 1996. Do the bright plumages of birds incur a cost due to nest predation? Evolutionary Ecology 10: 285-288

Haskell, D. G. 1995. Forest fragmentation and nest-predation: Are experiments with Japanese Quail eggs misleading? Auk 112: 767-770

Haskell, D. G. 1995. A reevaluation of the effects of forest fragmentation on rates of bird-nest predation. Conservation Biology 9: 1316-1318

Haskell, D. G. 1994. Experimental evidence that nestling begging behavior incurs a cost due to nest predation. Proceedings of the Royal Society,  London, series B: Biological Sciences 257: 161-164. [this paper is used as an example in the "Parents and their Offspring" section of F. Gill's Ornithology textbook]

Haskell, D. G. 1991. Mating Preferences. Nature  352: 26. [Scientific Commentary]