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Gerber quoted in Bioscience: Scientists key to decision-making in critical times

March 16, 2021

"With the world still gripped by the coronavirus, with devastating weather and climate disasters, and with attacks on science being spread through disinformation campaigns, there has never been a greater need for scientific engagement with public policy. Leaders in the scientific community are calling for better ways to incorporate science into decision-making during periods of crisis and beyond."

Thus begins a new piece in Bioscience, Ensuring that Science Has a Seat at the Table: Scientists key to decision-making in critical times, published March 8, 2021.

Sustainability scientist Leah Gerber's work on structured decision-making was referenced as a means to improve decision-making. “Evidence and science should be used for decision-making across the board, especially in natural disasters,” Gerber said. The process of structured decision-making makes every step in that decision process transparent, she notes. Gerber is director of ASU's Center for Biodiversity Outcomes.

Read the full article.

Decision-making in conservation science, 2021 AAAS meeting

January 15, 2021

AAAS 2021 Annual Meeting FlyerArizona State University will be co-hosting this year’s 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting, February 8-11. During the live virtual meetings, the ASU community will be presenting over 20 sessions and 43 papers, many of them featuring our sustainability scientists and scholars.

Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber and School of Public Affairs Assistant Professor Derrick Anderson will facilitate a session titled “The Art of Bringing Evidence to Decision-Making in Conservation Science”. This session will take place on Thursday, February 11, 3:00-3:45 p.m. MST.

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Sustainability scientists representing ASU at AAAS

January 13, 2021

The 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting will convene entirely online, February 8-11, with related pre-released materials available online now. The AAAS Annual Meeting will be conducted in English. Use the AAAS Virtual Platform to browse the video library of pre-recorded Spotlight Videos, view AAAS E-poster and Sci-Mic Podcast galleries, visit and learn at the Exchange, and more. Live virtual meeting will convene on this platform February 8-11.

Among the 20+ sessions and 43 papers by ASU presenters are the following sessions and presentations featuring sustainability scientists and scholars. More sessions are being added all the time; check the AAAS website for most current listings.

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Creative tools for saving biodiversity

January 7, 2021

Ladybug sanding on leaf with spread windsIn spring 2021, ASU School of Music, Dance and Theater Professor Liz Lerman and School of Life Sciences Professor Becket Sterner will be teaching a multidisciplinary course titled "Creative Tools for Saving Biodiversity."

Why are they teaching this class?

Life on Earth has entered a sixth mass extinction, driven by pervasive human impact on the global environment. Even the most common species, such as many insect pollinators, have experienced precipitous declines in their populations over the past few decades.

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Enhance your communication and leadership skills

December 2, 2020

Wolf photographed from above, standing on snowAre you a graduate student who is passionate about conserving nature? Do you wonder what is the most effective way to influence change? Are you ready to take your communication and leadership skills to the next level? If so, the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Communication and Leadership may be for you.

The ECL graduate certificate is a compilation of key courses designed to train graduate students in honing their leadership skills and communicating environmental science to the general public, stakeholders and decision-makers.

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Founding Director Gerber named AAAS Fellow

November 25, 2020

Two young women performing scientific experiment on a labIn November 2020, the American Association for the Advancement of Science elected ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director and School of Life Sciences Professor Leah Gerber as a Fellow.

Gerber was recognized for “For [her] leadership in balancing conservation priority setting, ecosystem-based management, adaptive monitoring, marine reserve design, endangered species recovery policy and decision science.”

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Policy memo urges improvements of AZ’s recycling program

November 25, 2020

Small flyer with info on AZ recycling programIn September 2020, five graduate students affiliated with the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes published a memo addressing how to reinvigorate recycling in Arizona through state-level policy reform.

By interviewing recycling coordinators from across the state, they found that most municipalities have been forced to alter their programs due to changing international markets and a lack of state-level support. Despite these challenges, interviewees view an investment in the recycling sector as an opportunity to improve the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of their community.

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Graduate and postdoctoral fellowships with The Nature Conservancy

October 28, 2020

Sprout and morning mistDuring the past few years, we at the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes have had the pleasure of collaborating with The Nature Conservancy’s NatureNet Science Fellows Program and various ASU units to fund two postdoctoral research associates.

The NatureNet Science Fellows Program has continued to expand and again this year they have opened the fellowship to applicants from all accredited universities with the opportunity to receive research grants.

New this year, masters and PhD students are eligible to apply in addition to postdocs. Also, TNC is now fully funding these fellowships. The RFP closes on January 1, 2021.

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Knowledge to outcomes in biodiversity conservation, talk

October 27, 2020

Green young toucan standing on tree branchOn Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 6:00-7:00 p.m. PST, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber delivered a virtual talk titled “Knowledge to outcomes in global biodiversity conservation.” This talk was part of the New Mexico State University’s Climate Change Education Seminar Series.

About this talk

Global biodiversity loss is occurring at an unprecedented rate. Approximately 1 million species are threatened with extinction and many species have gone extinct in the past decade.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report offers an integrated overview of where the world stands in relation to key international goals, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

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Best practices for actionable science

October 24, 2020

Fish swimming and palm trees against sunsetASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber recently published an academic article titled “Producing actionable science in conservation: Best practices for organizations and individuals.”

The publication was co-authored by ASU School for the Future of Innovation in Society Graduate Research Associate Chris J. Barton, American Museum of Natural History Biodiversity Scientist Samantha H. Cheng and ASU School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Derrick Anderson.

The team interviewed 71 biodiversity researchers to identify and analyze these specific trends and came up with six best practices associated with actionable science or scientific data and models supported by conservation science.

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IUCN Species Threat Abatement and Restoration Metric, talk

October 7, 2020

Butterflies standing and flying close to the groundOn Thursday, October 15, 2020, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and the Conservation Innovation Lab will host a talk by Newcastle University Research Associate Louise Mair, PhD. Mair will talk about the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Threat Abatement and Restoration (STAR) Metric.

STAR is a novel metric that quantifies the potential contribution that threat abatement and habitat restoration actions could make to reducing global species extinction risk. 

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Uniting Business LIVE, biodiversity conservation talk (rerun)

October 7, 2020

Toucan standing on branch facing the cameraOn Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 12:15-2:00 p.m. PDT, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber hosted a panel discussion on “Industry Partnerships for Biodiversity Outcomes: Measuring private sector contributions toward mitigating biodiversity loss.

This presentation was originally held on September 21 as part of the United Nations Global Compact’s Uniting Business LIVE (September 21-23), which marked the opening of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Due to technical difficulties during the UN conference and by popular demand we presented the session once again.

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IUCN Red List Training Center at ASU [talk]

October 1, 2020

Stingrays swimming in clear shallow waterOn October 6, 2020, 6:00-7:00 p.m., via Zoom, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Associate Center Director and School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Marine Conservation Beth Polidoro will be delivering a talk to Nature at ASU students on the IUCN Red List training center at ASU.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s global standard for measuring and monitoring species extinction risk. During this talk, students will learn about ASU’s formal partnership with the IUCN, including our Red List of Species and Red List of Ecosystems assessment activities, as well as our local and global Red List training initiatives.

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Ocean Hope Spots, discussion on marine protected areas

October 1, 2020

Sea turtle swims near corals and small fishAs part of the United Nations Global Compact’s Uniting Business LIVE (September 21-23), marine conservation experts joined a panel discussion titled "Ocean Hope Spots: A panel discussion on marine protected areas with leading experts"

The expert panel was composed of Sylvia Earle from Mission Blue;  ‘Aulani Wilhelm from Conservation International; and Lance Morgan from the Marine Conservation Institute.  

The panel discussion was followed by a conversation on innovative sustainability initiatives by Mark Kaplan from Envisible and an audience Q & A session facilitated by ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber.

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SOLS New Faculty Showcase, Danica Schaffer-Smith and Qiyun Zhu

September 24, 2020

The ASU School of Life Sciences will be hosting their Fall 2020 New Faculty Showcase on Friday, September 25, 2020, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. MT (5:00-6:00 p.m. EST).

Danica Schaffer-Smith headshot ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Assistant Research Professor Danica Schaffer-Smith will present: "Water resources management under extreme events: human and natural engineering solutions." Can infrastructure and floodplain management help to protect and sustain freshwater resources? Schaffer-Smith explores risks and opportunities with remote sensing, watershed modeling and stakeholder-based processes.

Qiyun Zhu headshotAssistant Professor Qiyun Zhu will present: "Untangling microbe-community-host interactions in light of evolution." Universal phylogenomic tree of microbial organisms enables an upgrade of shotgun metagenomics.

Join us to welcome SOLS new professors and learn more about their ongoing research projects. Register here.

Microplastic contaminants in American Samoa’s seafood and coastal environments

September 22, 2020

small pile of microplastics on a surfaceASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Associate Center Director of Biodiversity Valuation and Assessments Beth Polidoro will be delivering a webinar Thursday, September 24, 2020, 9:00-10:00 a.m. MT (12:00-1:00 p.m. EST) titled “A Risk Assessment of Microplastics and Associated Contaminants in Coastal Environments and Seafood in American Samoa.”


Solid waste disposal is a massive concern among Pacific Island nations. With severe limitations in land area, in combination with the lack of reuse or recycling options, many near-shore marine ecosystems across Oceania are severely impacted by locally derived marine debris, including plastics, microplastics and associated chemical contaminants.

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Uniting Business LIVE, biodiversity and ocean conservation talks

September 18, 2020

On Monday, September 21, 2020, 5:00-6:30 p.m. MST (8:00-9:30 p.m. ET), ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber will lead a group of panelists in a talk titled “Industry Partnerships for Biodiversity Outcomes: Measuring private sector contributions toward mitigating biodiversity loss.”

This talk is part of the United Nations Global Compact’s Uniting Business LIVE (September 21-23).

Global biodiversity loss is occurring at an unprecedented rate. The recent global assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services reports that approximately 1 million species are threatened with extinction.

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