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How to save more species before they're gone forever

October 8, 2021

ASU conservation scientist calls for more funding of the Endangered Species Act to combat escalating biodiversity crisis

by Marshall Terrill

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a delisting of 23 species that are believed to be extinct in the United States, joining about 900 species that have been documented as extinct around the world.

Even though the Fish and Wildlife Service produces this list annually, the numbers are becoming accelerated, according to Leah Gerber, a professor of conservation science in Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences.

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Project engages businesses in Peru to promote green growth, decrease deforestation

September 30, 2021

USAID-funded Amazon Business Alliance is led by the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service and the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes

Peru’s natural resources are under threat of overconsumption due to unsustainable land use, rapid development and poor land management. Entrepreneurs in Peru also lack resources to build viable enterprises that are reliant on those natural resources.

Image of the Amazon rainforest, one half in good condition with green trees, other half has been cleared completely only dirt and smoke remaining
Peru’s natural resources are under threat of overconsumption due to unsustainable land use, rapid development and poor land management. Photo by Richard Whitcombe/Shutterstock

To tackle these issues, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the Amazon Business Alliance (formerly the Amazon Development Entrepreneurial & Learning Alliance (ADELA) program) to “engage investors, entrepreneurs and conservation-focused businesses to promote green growth, and decrease deforestation and natural resource degradation, while improving community livelihoods.”Peru’s natural resources are under threat of overconsumption due to unsustainable land use, rapid development and poor land management. 

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Estimating the cost of plastic pollution interventions

September 24, 2021

Plastic pollution in the oceans is one of the biggest issues we face as a planet.

To identify potential solutions, members of the Conservation Innovation Lab, including PhD student Erin Murphy and CBO founding director Leah Gerber, recently published “A decision framework for estimating the cost of marine plastic pollution interventions”, in Conservation Biology. The paper, published with members of the Plastic Pollution Emissions Working Group, presents a framework for evaluating the net cost of marine plastic pollution interventions. The researchers also applied the framework to two quantitative case studies and four qualitative case studies to explore how context of implementation influenced net costs.

Download the paper here: Murphy et al. 2021

News adapted from Conservation Innovation Lab

Beth Polidoro tapped for comment on IUCN Red List update for National Geographic

September 7, 2021

Newly released research from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) of the status of commercial tunas was compiled by a team of ASU researchers, led by associate center director of CBO Beth Polidoro, in collaboration with assistant research professor David Shiffman, post-doc Krista Kempinnen, and the IUCN SSC Tuna and Billfish Specialist Group, chaired by Bruce Collette.

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Graduate Student Research Assistantship Available!

August 20, 2021

Demand-driven science: the role of knowledge partnerships in improving the public value of conservation science

The actionable science in conservation team with the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at ASU has been awarded a 3-year NSF grant focused on actionable science, coproduction, and knowledge partnerships. Proposed research aims to understand the supply of and demand for conservation science knowledge, as well as the role of knowledge partnerships in facilitating this linkage. By analyzing experiences of knowledge users and the possibilities inherent in knowledge partnerships as a distinct organizational form, we aim to understand the organizational configurations best suited for facilitating demand-driven conservation science.

We seek a social-science oriented graduate research assistant (RA) to start in late 2021 or early 2022 for 20 hours/week. This RA will help to conduct interviews and surveys, adapt an existing research tool and help utilize it to collect data, analyze and manage qualitative and quantitative data, and help with reporting to the NSF. The RA would stay with the project for all three years funded, and ideally have this project play a role in their dissertation research. Desired qualifications include basic familiarity with qualitative social science research methods including interviews, surveys, data analysis and management, and interest in science policy, conservation and/or public value is a plus, as is fluency in Spanish.

If you are interested, please email your CV and a cover letter to the PI, Leah Gerber (Leah.Gerber@asu.edu) by September 27, 2021.

Can Market Interventions Make Coral Reef Fisheries More Sustainable?

August 18, 2021

Program Lead for Coral Reef Conservation, Katie Cramer and Research Professor at the School of Sustainability, Jack Kittinger published an article exploring how market-based initiatives can increase the sustainability of fisheries entitled, 'Reef Conservation off the Hook: Can Market Interventions Make Coral Reef Fisheries More Sustainable?'

The health of coral reefs has taken a massive hit due to overfishing, pollution and climate change, which has had a grave impact on reef ecosystems and the people who depend on these reefs for food and job security.

According to their article, "Coral reef fisheries contribute up to one-quarter of the total fish catch in developing countries (Jameson et al., 1995) and account for more than one-quarter of all small-scale fishers (Teh et al., 2013). Reef fisheries are intensely exploited as a local source of protein and for export-oriented trades including the aquarium, live reef food fish, and dried sea cucumber (“beche-de-mer”) trades (Sadovy et al., 2003Wabnitz et al., 2003Purcell et al., 2013)."

Market-based solutions have been floated to decrease unsustainable production practices in wild-capture fisheries and seafood farming. The article discusses the benefits and potential pitfalls of these types of solutions.

Read the full article here

The transformation of Caribbean coral communities since humans

August 6, 2021

A new paper on the transformation of Caribbean coral reefs throughout human existence was recently published by Katie Cramer, Program Lead for Coral Reef Conservation.

The authors integrated paleoecological, historical, and modern survey data to track the occurrence of major coral species and life-history groups throughout the Caribbean from the pre-human period to the present.

The findings revealed a long history of increasingly stressful environmental conditions on Caribbean reefs that began with widespread local human disturbances and have recently culminated in the combined effects of local and global change.

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Now hiring! New project manager

June 7, 2021

Woman writing the word "priorities" on a dry-erase boardThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is currently hiring a new project manager. Applications close on Friday, June 19, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. AZ time (the deadline may be extended, based on when we secure a qualifying candidate).

The new project manager will help plan, direct, organize and execute the strategic goals of the center.

The person in this role will coordinate internal and external proposal development; act as the primary center liaison for partnerships and research collaborations; act as primary center contact for ASU and external engagement; and will identify and implement project management tools for program planning.

Click here to learn more and apply or apply via Careers at ASU.

Giving chimpanzees space to thrive

June 7, 2021

chimpanzee-on-sunsetAn ASU-Conservation International study reveals that “the most important factor in protecting Liberia’s chimpanzees is simply to give them space – a radius of one to three kilometers of virgin forest,” as stated in an Afrik21 article titled “LIBERIA: giving chimpanzees space to thrive.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species recently listed chimpanzees as Critically Endangered. The IUCN Red List categories consist of: not evaluated, data deficient, least concern, near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild, extinct.

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Standardizing species recovery efforts

June 1, 2021

close-up-of-elephant-face-with-a-rope-on-his-neckGraduate students from the ASU School of Life SciencesConservation Innovation Lab, which Professor Leah Gerber leads, published a paper today titled “Aligning actions with objectives in endangered species recovery plans” in Conservation Science and Practice.

Abstract 

To achieve conservation objectives for threatened and endangered species, managers must choose among potential recovery actions based on their efficacy. Yet, a lack of standardization in defining how conservation actions support recovery objectives can impede action efficacy and inhibit the efficient allocation of resources across species and projects. It is especially difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of actions in U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery plans due to variation in how actions are described across different plans.

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Decision science and data tools

June 1, 2021

Scrabble pieces read "decision making"Science is not enough.

We need to translate knowledge into action to produce positive outcomes in biodiversity conservation.

That is why one of our main goals at the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is to develop evidence-based tools that inform action across all sectors: NGOs, governments and corporations.

A significant challenge to these organizations in measuring and valuing biodiversity is a lack of standardized assessment sets and indicators. We integrate disparate data and develop decision tools to account for the full suite of specific risks agencies in various sectors face.

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Seeking admin and communications intern

May 26, 2021

Young lady typing in a computer while smiling, next to a coffee cupThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is currently seeking an enthusiastic, sustainability-minded intern to support its daily administrative and communication projects.

Through this opportunity, interns will enhance transferable skills such as administrative organization, workflow, teamwork and strategic communication. They will also be exposed to a variety of fields such as copywriting and editing, social media, public relations and project management to advance biodiversity conservation efforts in the academic and environmental fields.

This is an unpaid position, but might be eligible for course credit.

This position can be performed remotely.

The search will remain open until we have secured an intern.

Learn more and apply.

Gerber calls for action during Congressional Testimony

May 5, 2021

Senator Kelly with screen on the back showing Gerber delivering her testimonyYesterday, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding  Director Leah Gerber delivered a five-minute Congressional Testimony titled “Examining Biodiversity Loss: Drivers, Impacts, and Potential Solutions” to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

During her testimony, Gerber exposed the biodiversity and nature crisis we currently face.

“More species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction now than at any other time in human history. Twenty-five percent of all species – including 40% of amphibians and 30% of marine mammals – are threatened with extinction,” she explained. “And we’re not talking about just extinction; we’re also talking about the general decline of nature.”

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Impacts of tourist conservation awareness on whales

April 14, 2021

tourists-watching-fin-whales-from-a-cruise-ship-Faculty and students from the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and the Conservation Innovation Lab co-authorized a paper published yesterday in Frontiers in Marine Science, presenting their pilot study conducted last summer in Las Perlas Archipelago, Panama.

The publication, titled “Tourist Knowledge, Pro-Conservation Intentions, and Tourist Concern for the Impacts of Whale-Watching in Las Perlas Archipelago, Panama,” is a product of the ASU-Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute partnership and our collaboration with the University of San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador.

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STAR Metric to prevent species loss

April 8, 2021

newborn-turtles-near-the-sea-wave-close-up-turtleNewcastle University (UK) Research Associate Louise Mair, PhD, published a paper titled “A metric for spatially explicit contributions to science-based species targets” in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

According to the publication, sustainable crop and timber production could prevent 40% of the extinction of terrestrial wildlife – amphibians, birds and mammals. Scientists generated these results using a new metric by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called the Species Threat Abatement and Restoration (STAR) Metric.

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AAAS Annual Meeting

April 1, 2021

AAAS 2021 Annual Meeting FlyerArizona State University partnered with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to co-host the virtual 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting titled “Understanding Dynamic Ecosystems.”

Different university units shared their expertise, including leadership and faculty affiliates from the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, such as School of Life Sciences Professor Leah Gerber and School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Derrick Anderson. They facilitated a session called “The Art of Bringing Evidence to Decision-Making in Conservation Science.”

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Conservation can’t just be a popularity contest

April 1, 2021

View of the printed magazine showing the article's front pageASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber was featured in this year’s Earth Day issue of National Geographic in a story titled “The Conservation Popularity Contest: Wildlife funding and advocacy focuses heavily on protecting charismatic species. Is it time to rethink that approach?”

In this article, Gerber warns against making uninformed decisions in conservation that can lead to tremendous misuse of funds for species protection efforts, putting even more species at risk.

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Teaming up with program leads

April 1, 2021

water-droplet-world-of-the-worldIn FY21, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes introduced the program leads model to scale the reach and impact of our research and activities. This selected group of faculty affiliates will guide research incubators in their respective areas that align with our strategic goals, with the center providing logistics and project management support.

We have selected six initial program leads: Candice Carr Kelman in actionable science; Katie Cramer in coral reef conservation; Caitlin Drummond in decision making, science communication and environmental social science; Gwen Iacona in conservation investment; Kailin Kroetz in sustainable fisheries; Rebecca Muenich in agriculture and biodiversity; and Beckett Sterner in big data and biodiversity.

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