The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Remembering Dr. Rafe Sagarin

All of us at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment are deeply saddened by the death of our colleague Rafe Sagarin. He leaves behind a scientific gap that will never be filled, as his wonderfully creative mind was one of a kind. Rafe was an Adjunct Faculty member in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. He was a marine ecologist and environmental policy analyst who coordinated interdisciplinary investigations along the science and society interface. His work spanned the realms of ecological studies to examinations of what we can learn from biological evolution and adaptation.  Rafe’s research covered a wide diversity of topics and one of his career strengths was his ability to seamlessly cross a wide variety of disciplines.  Topics his research focused on were climate adaptation and sustainability, conservation biology, global change management, population and community ecology, and social dimensions of natural resource management (  He was also a valued member of the UA Arts and Environment Network, with his marvelous ability to find novel ways of interpreting the natural world (

Rafe was an extremely effective teacher and his classrooms were filled with a dynamic student-directed learning environment. He taught “The Desert Sea” and “Observational Life Sciences” (  Rafe was also a wonderful mentor to many graduate and undergraduate students through Biosphere 2 internship programs, the Carson Scholars program, and various research projects he directed.

On May 28, 2015, Rafe was hit and killed by a truck while riding his bicycle near the Biosphere 2, outside of Tucson, AZ. At Biosphere 2, he was Director of Marine Research and was working to transform the Biosphere 2 Ocean into a “Desert Sea.”  Our thoughts and warmest wishes go to his family and friends in this difficult time (