She received her undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Liverpool in 1975 and her Ph.D. in biology from the University of Sussex in 1979. After completing postdoctoral work at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, she returned to Britain went to work for the Zoological Society of London, eventually rising to director of science. She held a position at Imperial College London from 2006 to 2012, when she joined University College London.
A fellow of the Royal Society, she was made a dame of the British Empire in 2016.
Dr. Mace married Rod Evans, who survives her, in 1985. In addition to him and her brother, she is survived by three children, Ben, Emma and Kate; one grandchild; and another brother, Edward.
Dr. Mace championed restoration of biological diversity and was a major contributor to a project called the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which laid out the value of a healthy natural planet for the world’s people and its economies.
In a tribute on the website of the British Ecological Society, Professors Jon Bridle and Kate Jones of the Center for Biodiversity & Environment Research at University College London wrote that Dr. Mace’s work had “helped to reveal the ecological emergency that we face, and that we have less than a decade to prevent.”
“Perhaps her most remarkable achievement,” they added, “was the way she could calmly convince an audience of this fact, while expressing an unwavering optimism that we still have time to forge a more creative interaction with the rest of nature, one that benefits more than a wealthy minority, and one that can last more than just a few more decades.”
Dr. Mace continued to work even after she learned she had cancer. “She never mentioned her illness to others unless she absolutely had to,” her brother Peter, a physician, said. “She didn’t want to be categorized by it. She wanted to get on with her life, to get on with her job, which she enjoyed hugely.”