Skip to Content


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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Growth in plastic waste could exceed mitigation efforts

September 17, 2020

Plastic trash floating underwaterToday, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber and Associate Center Director of Biodiversity Valuation and Assessments Beth Polidoro published a Science article titled “Predicted growth in plastic waste exceeds efforts to mitigate plastic pollution.”

In addition, 18 researchers from other universities and NGOs co-authored this publication including ASU Conservation Innovation Lab graduate students Erin Murphy and Miranda Bernard.

This work emerged from the center’s Plastic Emissions Working Group supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.

Continue Reading

ASU launches Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory to transform the world for a better future

ASU Now | September 9, 2020

Artist rendering of new ASU building ISTB7The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory represents the next quantum leap in the evolution of Arizona State University as one of the world’s premier centers for studies of sustainability, Earth's life-supporting systems and the future of life on our planet.

In rethinking traditional approaches to academic work and public engagement — often too slow to ensure needed impact — the Global Futures Laboratory aims to engage with speed and urgency to address the existential threats facing the planet and global society. To complete these goals, the lab encompasses a new College of Global Futures, a major research institute called the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation, a solutions service called the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service, and engagement initiatives.

Continue Reading

Hurricanes' pollution risks and conservation opportunities talk

September 4, 2020

Red flag on beach as hurricane approachesASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and The Nature Conservancy Assistant Research Professor Danica Schaffer-Smith, will present a talk on Monday, September 14, 2020, titled "Repeated hurricanes reveal risks and opportunities for social-ecological resilience to flooding and water quality problems," as part of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning Fall 2020 Colloquium Series.

The talk will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (MST) via Zoom. A conversation session with Schaffer-Smith will follow, from 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Continue Reading

Rethinking conservation approaches in the age of COVID

September 1, 2020

Back of man navigating canoe on narrow riverOn August 31, 2020, Mongabay released a new opinion piece written by Conservation Solutions Lab co-founders Michael Brown and Samantha Cheng, along with other affiliated conservation researchers. The commentary piece is titled “Communities, conservation, and development in the age of COVID: Time for rethinking approaches.”

In this op-ed, the authors advocate for systemic, long-term solutions to existing biodiversity conservation and sustainable economic development challenges aggravated by the current pandemic.

“The existing systems and structures upon which conservation is based must evolve. Climate change, biodiversity conservation, and poverty elimination efforts have been further complicated by Covid-19, with the brunt of the pandemic borne most acutely by the poorest and most vulnerable.”

Continue Reading

ASU joins global research cohort to launch new center focused on society’s relationship with oceans

ASU Now | August 21, 2020

men on a beach holding a large net near a boat, walking toward the ocean Arizona State University, through its partnership with Conservation International, joins the University of Washington and the Nippon Foundation to announce the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center. The Ocean Nexus Center is an interdisciplinary research initiative that focuses on social equity, ocean sustainability and climate change. The Ocean Nexus Center will bring uncompromised, critical voices to policy and public conversations that will help enable research and policy engagement. The new center is supported by the Nippon Foundation’s investment of $32.5 million over 10 years.

Continue Reading

Postdoc job opening, coastal livelihoods and China's Maritime Silk Road

July 21, 2020

Large rock with small wide tree against coastal landscapeA new postdoc position is available, called "Challenges and opportunities for coastal livelihoods associated with China’s Maritime Silk Road investments."

The fisheries social science team at the University of Technology Sydney is recruiting for a postdoctoral research associate to conduct research as part of the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center, a new interdisciplinary research group that studies changes, responses and solutions to societal issues that emerge in relationship with the oceans.

Continue Reading

Join #BackyardBiodiversity, social media campaign

July 15, 2020

Coyote standing on desert vegetation with his head turned towards the cameraBiodiversity is all around us! Even in urban settings, we can observe a variety of interesting species of plants and animals, each serving a unique role in our ecosystems.

To recognize and celebrate biodiversity close to home, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes invites you to submit cool photographs or short videos of species you observe in your surroundings as part of our #BackyardBiodiversity social media campaign.

Continue Reading

A business guide for biodiversity conservation

July 15, 2020

Keyboard with green key that reads "Conservation"A new publication co-authored by ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes founding director Leah Gerber illustrates a pathway for the private sector to assess their biodiversity performance and demonstrate responsible management practices.

The publication, titled “Bringing sustainability to life: A framework to guide biodiversity indicator development for business performance management,” was published in Business Strategy and the Environment.

Continue Reading

Protecting nature, our best shot against pandemics

July 15, 2020

Illustration of the Earth wearing a maskASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber recently published an op-ed in Mexican newspaper El Universal titled “Protecting biodiversity: our best shot to prevent the next pandemic.”

In this article, Gerber highlights the relationship between environmental health and human health. Habitat degradation by human activities, such as pollution, climate change, overexploitation, species removal and introduction, parallels the emergence of zoonotic (animal-to-human transmitted) viruses with pandemic causing potential.

Continue Reading

Lemurs and North Atlantic Right Whales, on the brink of extinction

July 10, 2020

Aerial view of North Atlantic Right Whale swimming along calfThe International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, an ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes partner, reported that almost a third of lemurs and North Atlantic Right Whales are now critically endangered.

The IUCN Red List categorizes species worldwide by their level of threat to extinction. Critically Endangered is the last level before the species becomes extinct.

The currently revised list contains more than 120,000 species assessed, with at least 32,000 of these species threatened with extinction. The updated list reveals the true scale of threat the primate and whale species are facing.

Continue Reading

Protecting biodiversity can prevent future pandemics

June 18, 2020

Two green parrots sitting on a branchASU Now I June 17, 2020

As a follow-up to her recent article, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber presented a webinar to address the link between natural habitat destruction and pandemics.

This webinar, titled “A Global Strategy for Preventing the Next Pandemic,” took place on June 11, 2020 and was co-sponsored by the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. A recording of the webinar is available here.

Continue Reading

Public talk, global strategy for preventing the next pandemic

June 3, 2020

Illustration of the world with disease molecule insideASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber will be delivering a virtual talk on Thursday, June 11, 2020, titled “A Global Strategy for Preventing the Next Pandemic.”

This webinar will take place via Zoom at 12:00 p.m. AZ Time and 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (US and Canada).

While the media and the public are focusing on the wildlife trade as the main factor for COVID-19, Gerber believes it is only one part of the equation. During this talk, she will discuss her proposal for combating future infectious diseases by implementing a global body backed by science, which she calls the Zoonotic Disease Commission.

Continue Reading

Repeated hurricanes, risks and opportunities to flooding and water quality

June 1, 2020

Weather radar graph showing hurricane approaching North Carolina coastAs the 2020 hurricane season begins, a new study published today by The Nature Conservancy and Arizona State University's Center for Biodiversity Outcomes shows that Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, flood hazard maps underpredicted the extent of recent hurricane-induced floods, their effect on vulnerable human communities and consequential environmental damage in the North Carolina region.

This study, titled “Repeated Hurricanes Reveal Risks and Opportunities for Social-Ecological Resilience to Flooding and Water Quality Problems” was published in Environmental Science and Technology.

Continue Reading

New study, reforesting tropics essential for biodiversity conservation

May 31, 2020

Dense tropical vegetationIn partnership with Conservation International and the Global Trophic Cascades Program at Oregon State University, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes published a new study in Conservation Biology revealing the potentially significant contribution reforestation could have on biodiversity conservation.

The publication, titled “Global reforestation and biodiversity conservation,” was led by Postdoctoral Research Associate Krista Kemppinen and co-authored by Pamela Collins and David Hole from Conservation International, Christopher Wolf and William Ripple from the Global Trophic Cascades Program at Oregon State University and Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber.

Continue Reading

Anti-poaching device detects gunshot noises

May 8, 2020

Jaguar sitting on rain forest soilASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Faculty Affiliate Garth Paine developed a tool that tracks gunshots in rainforests to stop illegal poaching of wild animals.

This device identifies sonic characteristics of a gunshot from a mile away that reports the location of the shot to local authorities. Originally, wildlife conservationists used camera traps to document illegal poaching. However, if the perpetrators sighted the cameras they destroyed them.

Continue Reading

A reflection of my time at CGEST and CBO

May 1, 2020

Headshot of Nosizo LukheleWritten by Nosizo Lukhele

As an undergraduate student at Bennington College, which highly cultivates students to be multifaceted, I cannot imagine a better way to have spent the six weeks dedicated to my fieldwork term than at the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology and Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at Arizona State University.

Being at the centers and seeing researchers and staff with expertise in research, STEM, computer science, curriculum and education, and other interdisciplinary areas work together to manifest a project that showcases the transdisciplinary nature of STEM was nothing short of inspirational.

Continue Reading

Global body needed to prevent pandemics

April 25, 2020

View from space of Earth with sun rays behindASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber was interviewed by ASU Now regarding her recently published Issues in Science and Technology op-ed titled “A Global Strategy for Preventing the Next Pandemic.” In this publication, Gerber proposes a global body to monitor and enforce wildlife trafficking to prevent future pandemics.

Many scientists have found that past diseases have been linked to wild animal markets, including the recent coronavirus pandemic. Past evidence has predicted these outbreaks, but nothing has been done to prevent them from occurring.

Now is the time to act.

Continue Reading