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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.


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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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.

Creating a livable planet

March 15, 2021

aerial-view-of-island-with-lighthouse-in-the-pacif-Tackling the species extinction and habitat degradation crisis takes transdisciplinary and out-of-the-box approaches. That is why Arizona State University has become a key player in creating a livable future for all. A recent article by Kristin Toussaint in Thrive magazine highlights how ASU has become a hotspot for biodiversity conservation research and innovation.

Toussaint highlights different expert voices throughout the article, including Greg Asner, who leads the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science; Leah Gerber and Beth Polidoro, who co-lead the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes; and Bryan Brayboy, who leads the Center for Indian Education.

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Securing science’s seat at the table

March 8, 2021

Close-up of a hand touching a touch-screen with little lights illuminated in the backgroundBioScience journalist Randy Showstack interviewed ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber in an article published today titled “Ensuring that Science Has a Seat at the Table.”

In this article, Gerber shares her insights on the importance of translating scientific research into decision-making tools across all sectors. “Evidence and science should be used for decision-making across the board, especially in natural disasters,” she explains.

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Jurisdictional approach for sustainable seafood

March 5, 2021

The Pacific Ocean, home to a half-trillion corals

March 5, 2021

Close up on a coral species alive, underwaterA half-trillion corals live in just one ocean. Does that mean they are safe?

This is the title of a new Science article published on March 4, 2021, by Elizabeth Pennisi, quoting ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Associate Center Director Beth Polidoro, among other scientists.

Polidoro is an associate professor in the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, New College, and also helps lead the partnership between ASU and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

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Thank you, Dr. Morton!

February 12, 2021

Morton_HeadshotExecutive Vice President Sally C. Morton is the first woman to lead ASU Knowledge Enterprise, an organization in charge of advancing the university’s research, innovation, strategic partnership, entrepreneurship and international development.

As quoted in a November 2020 ASU Now article:

“I’m tremendously honored and excited to be joining ASU,” she said. “There is no more important time than now given the issues facing the world to conduct research of importance to our society. We need to do so using transdisciplinary approaches, integrated into our educational mission, and in partnership with industry and our communities. ASU Knowledge Enterprise is the place to make this difference.”

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Math to the rescue

February 4, 2021

Computer on desk against a blackboard filled with mathematical equations and problemsAs part of the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes’ educational agenda, School of Life Sciences Assistant Research Professor Gwen Iacona and graduate student Olivia Davis developed a mathematical problem on funding for biodiversity conservation as part of the 2020 High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM), sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAD).

“The problem was a big success, and I believe the students appreciated that this was a real and current issue,” celebrated COMAD HiMCM Director Kathleen G. Snook. “We received some interesting and thoughtful papers.”

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