Steve is an ecologist, broadly interested in the ecology and natural history of plants, birds, mammals, and insects. Steve received a doctorate in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley and spent 26 years on the faculty of the University of Alaska Fairbanks as Professor of Biology and Director of International Programs. He taught courses in ecology and authored over fifty scientific papers.
In 1980 Steve famously measured the number and mass of living things on the floor of the boreal forest in an Alaskan summer. He calculated that about one-half million soil mites, relatives of the spider, occupy each three-foot square of soil by the end of summer. "To convert that to more meaningful units," he wrote, "I drew a line around my size 11 boot and found that each step on the forest floor...pads down on more than 10,000 individual mites, the largest of them about the size of a pinhead."
In 1997, Steve retired from the University and now spends his time traveling with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic exploring ecosystems from the Arctic to the Antarctic, the tropics to the deserts of Baja California. His research interests include birds, lemmings and, most recently, plant-eating insects in Arctic and sub-Arctic environments, however, he retains a naturalist's interest in the warmer climates of tropical and desert regions as well. He is most commonly found on hands and knees peering into some small and cryptic part of the natural world.