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Three Ways to Protect Biodiversity Today

June 16, 2022

The ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, in collaboration with the Conservation International Lab at ASU and Sustainable Earth, recently published a comprehensive article for conservationists of all ages and all places to help provide greater understanding of what they can do to be a protector of our planet’s biodiversity. The article includes three easy behaviors that every human can do that will directly and positively impact biodiversity at a global scale. These actions include adding more plant-based foods into your diet, discover how you can reduce your daily water use and communicate directly with your elected officials and other government representatives. To learn more about what biodiversity is and how you can add your efforts to protecting the planet, read this article.

CBO is hiring a Program Manager

May 10, 2022

The ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is hiring a new program manager who supports center operations, including administrative, project management, communications, and fundraising tasks in conjunction with center leadership. This role will act as the primary center liaison for partnerships and research collaborations and the main point of contact for ASU and external partners.

Applications close on Monday, May 16, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. AZ/MST time (the deadline may be extended based on when we secure a qualifying candidate).

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

Center for Biodiversity Outcomes co-hosts documentary with local high school students

May 10, 2022

Alex DeLeon, Armin Abdoll, Gabriella Sabo, Annelyse Basha Smog of the Sea
Valley high school students Alex DeLeon, Armin Abdoll, Gabriella Sabo, and Annelyse Basha.
On Friday, April 29th, ASU's Center for Biodiversity Outcomes partnered with Seton Catholic's Oceanic and Marine Sciences Club, Xavier's Students for Social Action Club, and Tempe Prep to screen the short documentary Smog of the Sea. Marcus Ericsson and Jack Johnson's Smog of the Sea focuses on the harmful effects of plastic pollution in the ocean.

The event raised awareness of how we impact our oceans and educated guests on how to substitute average items for environmentally friendly alternatives. Funds raised from the screening will be supporting the work of marine conservation ecologist and ASU grad student Erin Murphy as she works on identifying impacts of and solutions for marine plastic pollution.

The ongoing Pitchfunder will continue to support Erin's research in the fields of marine plastic pollution. Consider becoming a part of the solution by donating here.

Two CBO proposals finalists for ASU Women in Philanthropy prizes

March 3, 2022

CBO at ASU Women in PhilanthropyTwo proposals headed by the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes leadership were announced as grant finalists for ASU Women and Philanthropy, an organization comprised of women committed to becoming advocates and philanthropic supporters of the university. The proposal presentations took place at the Musical Instrument Museum on Feb. 23.

Designing a public engagement strategy to support the establishment of an effective and equitable US National Biodiversity Strategy was led by Center for Biodiversity Outcomes founding director Leah Gerber, in conjunction with the center program leads. This proposal focuses on how we can more effectively tackle the biodiversity crisis in the U.S. through an inclusive community-led approach leading up to developing a stakeholder engagement strategy for an NBS in the US.

GirlsConserve: Engaging girls in STEM careers using a culturally relevant One Health approach was led by the center's assistant director Gwen Iacona, in collaboration with the ASU Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST). GirlsConserve centers around the development of a culturally responsive curriculum for a high school summer camp and mentoring program, focusing on engaging girls in STEM and conservation by following the highly successful model of CGEST’s preexisting program CompuGirls.

CBO's Leah Gerber speaks at GreenBiz22

March 2, 2022

Leah GerberThe business sector's premier annual sustainablility conference, GreenBiz 2022, returned to the Valley of the Sun in Scottsdale this February. The ASU Center of Biodiversity Ooutcome’s founding director, Leah Gerber, was invited to sit on a panel titled "Teaming Up To Tackle Plastic Waste: How Cross-Industry Partnerships Can Ignite Long-Lasting Change", which also included Chairman of SC Johnson, Fisk Johnson, and Senior Director of Facilities for the Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Brockman. Moderated by Chris Coulter, CEO of GlobeScan, the panel focused on addressing plastic waste and the disrupting impact it has on our ecosystems.

In bringing the panel together, GreenBiz highlighted the importance of forming partnerships to tackle plastic waste through innovating solutions to positively impact generations to come. It also addressed how the sports industry is working with companies to adapt to the waste crisis and incorporate various recycling models. GreenBiz is centered around bringing together business, technology, and sustainability with the goal of a clean economy. More than a thousand sustainability leaders were registered for the GreenBiz yearly forum.

Gerber spoke about the mission of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes. She was able to share her knowledge on how businesses can explore opportunities within universities to solve sustainability crises. Plastic waste can threaten the survival of key species and pollute important ecosystems and habitats to further negative impacts on these species. Gerber elaborated on how crucial finding solutions to the plastics crisis is about biodiversity conservation.

CBO conducts research, such as finding regions that are most at risk and pinpointing where the most impactful reduction of plastics could be. They also partner with government, corporate and corporate-facing institutions solutions to provide solutions that can help lower the plastic footprint.

In cultivating partnerships between academia and larger corporations, specific solutions can be found to address the plastics crisis one step at a time.

Could coral habitats be rebuilt on sunken warships?

February 21, 2022

Corals naturally growing on sunken warships in the PacificFaculty and researchers from the ASU Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, teaming with partners from the University of Hawaii, recently published a paper based on their survey of 29 sunked warships around the Bikini Atoll and Chuuk Lagoon in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Until these explorations, it was unknown if the hulls of the ships would sustain the development of biodiversity habitats based on ship size and hull material, location relative to natural reef, time since sinking, ocean currents and water depth. According to this study's findings, the team identified more than 9,100 types of corals that represented around 70 percent of the corals found in the natural reefs in the area. The team determined that ship length, but not water depth, positively correlated with relative abundance and richness at the genus level, meaning that very large wrecks can serve as havens for reef-building corals with a broad genetic diversity. Read more.

CBO at conference on decolonizing conservation research

February 18, 2022

The Conservation Solutions Lab (CSL) participated in the Integrative Conservation Conference (ICC), held from February 3-5 and hosted by the University of Georgia. The conference centered around decolonizing conservation research and called for racial and environmental justice. With over 50 presentations, workshops, a discussion, and a charette addressing socio-environmental issues, the aim was to promote productive conservation and innovate progression towards adaptive and transformative conservation design and practice. The CSL emphasizes community engagement in conservation and has introduced a sub-thematic focus area that includes Indigenous Rights, Indigenous Knowledge, and co-management.

CBO’s Program Lead for Actionable Science, Candice Carr Kelman, presented a talk on how scientists engage with communities to promote workable science. Her talk, Levels of engagement: Toward co-production in conservation science, synthesizes interviews with 71 conservation scientists and professionals who partook in one of three fellowship programs centering around leadership and the production of actionable conservation work.

16 practices found were used by these professionals to produce more actionable science. These practices were categorized into 3 areas: motivations, strategies, and tactics. Further, Kelman and team were able to address 5 approaches to actionable science in conservation, which were placed in a hierarchy based upon the complexity of engagement, the potential to support actionable science, and proximity to ideal co-production with knowledge users.

Kailin Kroetz appointed to the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council

January 26, 2022

Kailin Kroetz, Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainability, has been appointed to the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Kailin serves as the CBO Program Lead for Economics and Biodiversity, bringing her knowledge of aquatic and terrestrial species management and economics.  

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Dragonflies threatened as wetlands around the world disappear - IUCN Red List

December 9, 2021

The first global assessment of dragonflies via the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species indicated that the destruction of wetlands is a major contributing factor to the decline of dragonfly populations across the globe. The marshes, swamps and rivers that these insects inhabit and breed are being lost to the expansion of unsustainable agricultural practices and urbanization. Dragonflies are just one of 142,577 species marked as being threatened by human action.

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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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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.

Read the full article

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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