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Center for Biodiversity Outcomes: 10-Year Anniversary Celebration

April 3, 2024

Please join us in celebrating the Center for Biodiversity Outcome's success over our first 10 years and help shape plans for future work. We invite you to bring your enthusiasm for collaboration and your ideas for the next decade of biodiversity research. Our event will include panel discussions, lightning talks, interactive activities and a photo exhibition on Indigenous sustainability in the Amazon. We will wrap up with a celebratory lunch. We look forward to your participation in this important event!

More information and registration.

ASU researchers call for universities to incentivize societally engaged conservation work

March 28, 2024

In the world of academia, a scientist’s list of publications is their currency: It helps them get job offers, promotions and research funding.

But publications don’t always make a difference outside of academia, as they may never reach members of the public who that research might be important to. That puts scientists in fields like conservation in the tough spot of choosing between doing work that boosts their career or work that makes a real-world difference.

A team of researchers from ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes argues that scientists shouldn’t be forced to make that choice. In their new paper published in the journal of Biological Conservation, the team calls upon universities to reward conservation scientists not only for their publications, but for doing work that has real outcomes.

Read full story on ASU News.

Administrative Assistant position

February 2, 2024

The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is seeking a highly motivated and dynamic Administrative Assistant to perform various advanced secretarial and administrative work unique to the Center. This position is an exciting opportunity for a highly skilled and motivated applicant to work in an established Center making significant contribution to the Sustainability field.

See the job description.

To save biodiversity, it’s time to turn science into societal outcomes

November 13, 2023

Leah GerberFor decades, scientists have held data about Earth’s biodiversity in hand — a crisis replete with 1 million species facing extinction, more so than at any other time in human existence — and yet, collectively, our global actions to protect species have, for the most part, been a failure.

In 2021 alone, 23 species were taken off the endangered species list because they had gone extinct.

To read the full ASU News story, click here.

Center for Biodiversity Outcomes intern position

October 19, 2023

The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is seeking driven, sustainability-minded students interested in becoming an Intern on our team. You will enhance transferable skills such as administrative organization, workflow, teamwork and strategic communication. You will be exposed to a variety of fields such as administration, copywriting and editing, social media, public relations and project management to advance biodiversity conservation efforts in the academic and environmental fields. Students may also request specific projects within their area of interest.

This position will average 10-15 hours of work per week. The start and end dates are flexible, according to the student’s availability. Students may work remotely or in our office space in LSA 351 on ASU’s Tempe campus. This internship is unpaid, but it may be eligible for academic credit.

To apply, candidates should email their CV/resume and unofficial transcripts to We are currently accepting applications on a rolling basis.

National Park System Advisory Board welcomes ASU professor

June 23, 2023

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has appointed 15 new members to the National Park System Advisory Board; among them is Gwen Iacona, an assistant research professor in Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences and the assistant director of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes.

As a member of the board, Iacona will advise the secretary and director of the National Park Service on matters relating to national parks. Her experience in conservation planning and decision support is what guided her to apply for the board.

Read the full article on ASU News

GirlsConserve program offers guidance for future environmental leaders

May 10, 2023

High school students interested in conservation and sustainability found professional development and learning experiences through GirlsConserve, a program focused on fostering the growth of environmentally conscious, empathetic and collaborative future leaders.

GirlsConserve was created partly in response to the lack of representation of diverse women in the science, engineering, technology and math fields. Leah Gerber, director of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and Kimberly Scott, founding executive director of the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology and professor at the School of Social Transformation, have been working together to address this issue since 2015.

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CBO activities at ASU Open Door 2023

February 22, 2023

The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes will be attending ASU Open Door 2023 as a part of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. Members of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes invite you to learn more about ecology and biodiversity by visiting our table and engaging in the family-friendly, conservation-oriented activities we’ve curated! At our table, you’ll be able to explore the importance of keystone species conservation through a game of giant Jenga, test your knowledge of marine communities through our interactive guessing game, complete a wildlife puzzle, and more. Visitors will be able to learn: how can you contribute to conservation?

Meet the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes team February 25, 2023, from 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM in the Walton Center for Planetary Health (WCPH) Atrium.

Guidebook for the Engaged University

February 22, 2023

Leah Gerber, founding director of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, has co-authored a new book alongside Nancy Grimm, founding director of the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-term Ecological Research program. Titled “The Guidebook for the Engaged University,” this compelling book “highlights how universities can help solve defining problems of our age,” according to ASU News. Read the full article here.

The opportunity cost of conservation: a case study from Colombia

February 22, 2023

In a compelling new research paper titled “An investment strategy to address biodiversity loss from agricultural expansion,” Colombia becomes the first case study on how to balance biodiversity goals with limited economic resources. Camila Guerrero-Pineda, a graduate student at ASU, led this exciting project alongside Dr. Leah Gerber and Dr. Gwen Iacona. Their results–published in the prestigious journal Nature Sustainability–suggest that significant investment into conservation must be made in Colombia in order to counteract and prevent further biodiversity loss. This approach can be applied to other countries and contexts, making it an invaluable scientific contribution. To read the full ASU News story, click here.

CBO Leads Nature Forum at VERGE 2022

February 14, 2023

Leah Gerber and Shirley-Ann Behravesh led a discussion during the 2022 VERGE Nature ForumIn our fight to protect Earth’s biodiversity, Leah Gerber and Shirley-Ann Behravesh led a discussion during the 2022 VERGE Nature Forum, promoting our return-on-investment for conservation research and its potential applications for businesses. This was a critical opportunity for the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes to advocate for the importance of actionable conservation science, particularly in the private sector.

To learn more about CBO, click here.

To support CBO, please click here.

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.