Our ability to predict, minimize and mitigate negative impacts, and our ability to live sustainably within the ecology of this planet, rests on three things: our understanding of the forces that shape and reshape the organisms and ecosystems around us, our understanding of the way these organisms and ecosystems shape and reshape our societies, and our capacity to collectively mobilize knowledge in the service of sustainability. I am trained as an ecologist, a natural historian, and a conservation biologist, and until recently, my work centered on the first of these issues – human and non-human forces that shape the contours of biological diversity. This work includes basic questions in biodiversity research (e.g. understanding the forces that define, create and maintain life on this planet), but it has often emphasized the application of science in the service of solutions to the most pressing human-caused impacts on diversity and ecosystem function. Here, research areas include the impacts of climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, and the disruption of species interactions. In the past 5 years, my work has expanded to include more explicit efforts to explore and to enhance the synthesis and mobilization of knowledge within and beyond my field, and my research arc has taken me into increasingly collaborative projects in which the goal is to build knowledge across disciplines.