Mary Jane Angelo, J.D.

Mary Jane Angelo, J.D.

Professor of Law

Levin College of Law

2011 Awardee

Mary Jane Angelo’s scholarship draws on her background in biological sciences coupled with experience as an environmental lawyer.

Her research explores the intersection of law and science, particularly focusing on how ecological sciences are used in, and can inform, environmental law. Angelo’s work on the integration of science and law to improve how the law addresses environmental impacts from pesticide use and other agricultural activities is nationally-recognized as leading research in this area of law.

Her recent publication, Corn, Carbon, and Conservation, is the first law review article in the U.S. to explore the complex relationship between U.S. agricultural policy, as reflected in the 2008 “Farm Bill,” and the current climate change and energy crises. In Stumbling Toward Success, she addresses the environmental legacy of past agricultural activities. Analyzing environmental restoration of agricultural lands through a lens of adaptive management and ecological resilience theory, this article explores mechanisms to make environmental law better able to address the uncertainties and dynamism of natural systems to restore and protect ecological resilience.

Another article addressing pesticide issues, The Killing Fields, examines the tension between the species protection and pesticide statutes and suggests legislative reform targeted to eliminate, or at least alleviate, the conflict while promoting the reconcilable goals of wildlife protection and availability of pesticides in the public interest. In Embracing Uncertainty, Complexity and Change, Angelo explores how pesticide law could be modified to take into consideration protection of ecosystem services and demonstrates how ecological principles can be incorporated into existing environmental law.

The thesis of Regulating Evolution for Sale is that a new legal approach, which draws on principles of evolutionary biology, is needed to address the novel risks created by man’s intervention in, and manipulation of, evolution through the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This article was the first to analyze the complete array of U.S. regulatory programs addressing GMOs and the adequacy of these programs to address the novel elements of risk posed by GMOs and the first ever to propose a new approach to regulation of GMOs utilizing principles drawn from evolutionary biology theory.