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ASU professor creates hydropanels to address water scarcity

ASU Now | March 30, 2020

According to the United Nations, the year 2050 could see more than 5 billion people suffer water shortages as a result of climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies. This forecast means that now more than ever, it’s important to create new ways of obtaining sustainable drinking water. One person working to make that a reality is Arizona State University professor Cody  Friesen.

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Gober retires from ASU, establishes student water prize

ASU Now | March 17, 2020

This month, Pat Gober will be retiring from ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning full-time faculty to focus on research and professional service projects. Gober, a population geographer and demographer, was the founding director of the Decision Center for a Desert City.

Over the course of her 45-year tenure at ASU, Gober held a range of appointments including a term as chair of the Department of Geography, where under her leadership it grew into a nationally-ranked geography doctoral program. She also held appointments as distinguished honors faculty fellow in Barrett, The Honors College; policy research associate, Morrison Institute for Public Policy; senior sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; and interim director in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban planning.

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Discover resources for remote learning and teaching

March 16, 2020

Hands typing on laptop computer at deskAs ASU continues to monitor COVID-19, the university is temporarily transitioning classes wherever possible to remote teaching and learning, starting March 16, 2020. The university’s primary goal is the continuation of classes and the commitment to high-quality delivery of learning. ASU has collected all the resources available to you on one website so that you are prepared to teach, learn and work through digital remote options.

Plastic pollution: emissions and mitigation strategies

March 10, 2020

Borelle smiles at cameraOn Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 4-5 p.m., David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow Stephanie Borelle  will be presenting a talk titled "Plastic Futures: plastic emissions and the impact of mitigation strategies for reducing plastic pollution."

Marine litter is a complex socio-ecological problem, with numerous land-based and sea-based sources, impacts and many proposed solutions. Diverse strategies are necessary to meet place-based goals, but there should also be quantitative evidence or calculated evaluation to inform which individual mitigation strategies will be the most effective in specific contexts, whether they are achievable, and if they are enough to meet their plastic pollution reduction targets.

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ASU professors contribute to federal food waste report

ASU Now | March 5, 2020

A new federal report by ASU professors highlights how nearly a third of the food produced in the United States never makes it to the grocery aisle, instead ending up in landfills. The research shows that the entire food chain is fraught with unpredictability, from how much it rains to how many farm workers show up for harvest, to which apple will be plucked from the bin. Literal tons of food are thrown away at nearly every step.

Sustainability Scientists Tim Richards and Ashok Mishra, both professors in the W. P. Carey School of Business, were on the nationwide team of researchers who produced the report.

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3000-year record of coral reef degradation

March 2, 2020

Two fish swim in coral reefOn February 24, 2020, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes hosted a presentation titled “The past, present and future of coral reefs,” by Assistant Research Professor Katie Cramer. Cramer’s presentation focused on her recent publication exploring a 3000-year record of coral reef degradation to investigate the role of human and natural disturbance.

Cramer is a marine conservation ecologist and Oceans Science Fellow at Conservation International. She joined the center in November 2019 as part of the ASU-Conservation International partnership.

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Joining forces with IUCN, new membership

March 2, 2020

Geese flying during sunsetIn September 2016, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes became an official partner of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. As of February 2020, we are proud to announce the center is an official IUCN member.

Many of the research projects we conduct revolve around ecosystem restoration, reversing the global biodiversity crisis and improving human wellbeing. The IUCN membership provides an exciting platform to interact with other organizations around the globe to discover and implement solutions to alleviate environmental challenges.

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Opening the door to biodiversity conservation

March 2, 2020

CBO staff smile while at table with puzzle and Jenga setOn February 22, 2020, the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes participated in ASU Open Door at the Tempe campus.

Every year, ASU hosts this event for the local community to explore the university's campuses while participating in hundreds of interactive activities facilitated by faculty, students and staff.

The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes' activities included a “which fish is which?” poster designed to help identify mislabeled seafood, an ocean conservation facts poster board, a jungle-themed large print puzzle for children and a new activity of marine biodiversity Jenga.

Monterrey Bay Aquarium pocket-size seafood watch guides were handed out to participants, along with other fun participation incentives.

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Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability celebrates 15 years

February 17, 2020

Wrigley HallIn 2004, Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow convened a meeting in Temozón, Mexico, of a small but distinguished group of intellectual leaders who were exploring a new idea: sustainability science. Could sustainability be a core value of a large public research university?

It would have to instruct and inspire new generations. It would have to solve pressing real-world problems. And it would have to walk its talk.

On the 15th anniversary of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU has proven it can do all of that and more. Read more about the accomplishments and evolution of the ASU Wrigley Institute in these ASU Now stories:

The past, present and future of coral reefs

February 13, 2020

Fish swimming in coral reefASU-Conservation International's Assistant Research Professor Katie Cramer will be delivering a talk on Monday, February 24, 2020, titled "The past, present and future of coral reefs."

This talk will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the School of Life Sciences, C-wing, room 202 (LSC 202), ASU Tempe campus.

Coral reefs provide vital ecosystem services to humanity but are imperiled globally due to local and global human disturbances. Despite broad scientific consensus on the anthropogenic activities responsible for the coral reef crisis, this knowledge has not been effectively translated into policy and management actions to reverse reef declines.

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Now hiring! Decision support for endangered species pesticide risk

February 13, 2020

Butterfly standing on a flowerThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is currently hiring a postdoctoral research associate to lead the development of a decision tool for assessing pesticide risk for species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The ESA requires explicit consideration of the potential pesticide impacts on threatened and endangered species. However, this process is currently hindered by agency limitations on resources, data and inter-agency coordination.

The postdoctoral research associate will work with the stakeholders to bring a decision-theoretic approach to the problem and identify bottlenecks that can be enhanced by explicitly incorporating efficiency and developing robust and transparent decision support techniques to achieve efficiency, both now and into the future.

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ASU present, OdySea Aquarium Conservation Expo

February 12, 2020

Team members assisting kids with activitiesOn Saturday, January 18, 2020, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes’ employees represented Arizona State University at the third annual OdySea Aquarium Conservation Expo, held in the aquarium's courtyard.

Over 40 local organizations were featured, sharing their conservation efforts. Activities included live animal interactions, pet adoptions (two dogs), didactic games, raffles and sustainable fish sampling by the aquarium's chef (1,500 samples).

Close to 9,000 people attended this event and many of them donated much-needed supplies to support conservation efforts in the region. The aquarium was also able to raise funds to support its education and conservation initiatives.

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CBO takes on GreenBiz

February 12, 2020

Hand holds piece of white paper template of the world against trees backgroundASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber and School for the Future of Innovation in Society’s Innovation in Global Development PhD program student Chris Barton attended GreenBiz 2020 to present a micro-session on “Biodiversity and Profitability: Mapping the natural environment's influence on your firm's profitability."

The GreenBiz conference took place on February 4-5 at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn, convening sustainable companies to advance the intersection between technology, sustainability and business.

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ASU faculty generates innovative idea to change behavior

ASU Now | February 11, 2020

Man stands on ASU campus with crossed hands and smileOne of the many challenges we face in the journey to create a more sustainable planet is that although more people are now aware of the problem of climate change, that awareness does not necessarily lead to a change in behavior. At Arizona State University, student organizations discovered this roadblock when they noticed intensively publicizing information did not result in as much success as they hoped in regards to meeting the university’s sustainability goals. So to address this, Kendon Jung, the Coordinator for Educational Outreach and Student Services and the chair of the City of Tempe sustainability comission came up with an innovative idea: creating a new interdisciplinary class.

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ASU engineer works to increase solar panel efficiency

ASU Now | February 8, 2020

Zachary HolmanAs we continue to grapple with the adverse effects of climate change, there is a renewed urgency about the need to transition to renewable sources of energy. However, transitioning comes with its own set of challenges, some of which include the high costs of some alternate sources of energy and questions about their efficiency. One renewable source of energy that ticks both of the previous boxes is solar energy.

Solar energy, while quite expensive, still remains one of the most promising sources of alternate energy. It’s why researchers at the Holman Research Group in Arizona State University have been working on innovative ways to reduce its cost. Led by Zachary Holman, an associate professor of electrical engineering and a senior sustainability scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, the research team has published new findings in the science journal Joule that show how a minute change to the industry-standard silicon wafers significantly enhances solar cell composition.

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3000-year record of coral reef degradation

February 5, 2020

Degrated coral reefsASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Assistant Research Professor Katie Cramer recently co-authored a paper in Ecography titled the “Millennial‐scale change in the structure of a Caribbean reef ecosystem and the role of human and natural disturbance.”


Caribbean coral reefs have transformed into algal‐dominated habitats over the past half‐century, but the role of specific anthropogenic drivers is unresolved due to the lack of ecosystem‐level data predating human disturbance.

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Sunny day flooding in Norfolk, Virginia

January 27, 2020

Image of a car driving through flood water in VirginaWith Hurricane Dorian threatening in late August 2019, staff from Arizona State University traveled to Norfolk, Virginia to investigate and film flooding due to the climate crisis. Norfolk is the site of the largest Naval base in the world and vital to U.S. national security. The city is also the first location in the U.S. where the threats and complications from sea level rise began in earnest.

This nine-minute documentary was produced by Steven Beschloss for the Global Futures Laboratory and co-produced, shot and edited by Kirk Davis for Knowledge Enterprise.

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ASU biologist starts magazine to save bees

ASU Now | January 25, 2020

2 million blossoms logoDestruction of biodiversity can sometimes feel like such an overwhelming problem, the average person has no idea where to begin if they want to make a difference. To those who feel this way, Arizona State University biologist Kirsten Traynor has a suggestion: Start with bees.

In the face of the climate crisis, all sorts of animals are facing extinction. But while the average person may not be able to do much about rhinos, tigers or birds, they can certainly help bees.

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Marchant is named AAAS fellow

ASU Now | January 23, 2020

Gary MarchantDistinguished Sustainability Scientist Gary Marchant was recently elected by his peers as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – one of eight fellows named in the Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering sector, for distinguished contributions to research, teaching and outreach at the intersections of law, science and biotechnology, including important work with legislative, executive and judicial groups.

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National Academy of Sciences honors Elkins-Tanton

ASU Now | January 22, 2020

Lindy Elkins-TantonThe National Academy of Sciences has announced that Sustainability Scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton has been awarded the 2020 Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship. The Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship is awarded to a scientist making lasting contributions to the study of the physics of the Earth and whose lectures will provide solid, timely, and useful additions to the knowledge and literature in the field.

The prize was awarded to Elkins-Tanton for her lasting contributions to the study of the physics of Earth and for illuminating the early evolution of rocky planets and planetesimals. She will be awarded a $50,000 prize and funds to present a series of Day Lectures, which are provided by the Arthur L. Day Bequest. The award will be presented on Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m. in Washington, D.C., at the National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting and will be available via live webcast.

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