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Team awarded ASU Morrison Prize for analysis of climate change’s impact on a critical conservation tool

ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

February 14, 2019

Climate change is complicating land conservation practices because of how it alters land over time. Among other things, climate change is raising new questions about perpetual conservation easements — a critical land preservation tool relied upon by government agencies and nonprofit land trusts. A six-author team that conducted an unprecedented analysis of the structuring of conservation easements in the face of rapid climate change has been awarded the 2019 Morrison Prize, an honor established in 2015 and administered through the program on Law and Sustainability at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

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Protecting the hive: ASU scientists discover path to colony-level immunity in honeybees

ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

February 14, 2019

Honeybee on flower covered in pollenHoneybees frequently make international news, as their global decline threatens the world’s food supply. Since honeybees pollinate the majority of crops that humans use for food, scientists have been searching for a way to maintain healthy bee populations.

Now, researchers with Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences and the University of Helsinki are one step closer to understanding the complex immune mechanism that protects honeybees from diseases in their environments.

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Preserving nature on a tight budget

Biodiversity News

February 12, 2019

Northern Spotted Owl sitting on tree branchASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber’s work was highlighted in a recent The Economist article titled, “How to preserve nature on a tight budget: Saving species cheaply and effectively.”

Gerber's proposal on streamlining budgets for protection of  endangered species would allow an increase in the number and variety of species that are actually preserved if funds are allocated differently.

As stated in the article, “[Gerber] found that 139 of the 1,124 plants and animals with federal recovery plans in place got more than their fair share of public resources, as defined by USFWS recommendations. The surplus totalled $150m a year, more than a quarter of spending in the area. Re-allocated, this could bring nearly 900 currently underfunded plans up to budget.”

Click here to read the full article.

Natural Capital Protocol for the Oceans Workshop

Biodiversity News

January 23, 2019

Look from below at closing ocean wave with sun in the backgroundThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is partnering with the Natural Capital CoalitionConservation International, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to develop a Natural Capital Protocol for the Oceans.

The Natural Capital Protocol for the Oceans will be a framework to help businesses answer questions such as: How does your business depend upon ocean resources? How is this ocean natural capital changing and what risks and opportunities does this present? Which resources, information or expertise do you need?

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Conservation through conversation

Biodiversity News

January 22, 2019

Indigenous woman smiles with long hair, red face paint and feathers crownWritten by Katie Surrey-Bergman

Three thousand miles by plane, two and a half hours by car over the high-altitude mountain ranges of Quito, an additional six and half more hours down the Amazon river by single-motor boat and we arrive at the tiny village of Gomatan, set between the riverside and the jungle which would be our home for three days.

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Students provide sustainability solutions for NCAA triathlon

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News Sustainability In Action ASU Wrigley Institute News

January 16, 2019

Triathlon RunnerAt Arizona State University, successful results often come from collaborative action, especially when making events more eco-friendly. Thanks to ASU students and the work of two ASU sustainability leaders, Colin Tetreault and Lesley Michalegko, the NCAA Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships that took place at Tempe Town Lake on November 4, 2018, was a more sustainable endeavor.

Tetreault is an instructor in the School of Sustainability and Michalegko is a program manager for University Sustainability Practices. Through mutual effort and the support of students, they made the NCAA triathlon a place where functionality met sustainability. They found ways to reduce waste, save money, and increase the fan and competitor experience while simultaneously driving revenue.

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Graduate Hydrosystems Seminar

Biodiversity News

January 14, 2019

Headshot of DanicaASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Postdoctoral Research Associate Danica Schaffer-Smith will present a talk entitled “Risks and opportunities: can we improve water quality and reduce catastrophic flooding in the Cape Fear River Watershed, North Carolina under ongoing climate change?” as part of the CEE 591: Graduate Hydrosystems Seminar.

Danica is a current NatureNet Science Fellow examining the use of nature-based strategies to address nutrient pollution and flooding in Eastern North Carolina using remote sensing and watershed modelling methods, in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy North Carolina.

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Invisible Wild

Biodiversity News

January 14, 2019

Presenter hugging dogA significant proportion of the Earth’s biodiversity has been erased, not from the world, but from our collective depiction of nature.

Join us this Thursday, January 17, 2019, from 1-2 p.m. for a brown-bag lunch talk on compassionate conservation.

The talk will take place in ASU Tempe campus, Life Sciences-E Wing, Room 244.

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Now hiring! Administrative assistant

Biodiversity News

December 19, 2018

Close view of Sonora Desert vegetation with sprouted flowersThe Arizona State University Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is currently hiring a new administrative assistant to support the daily operations of the center.

The perfect candidate must possess knowledge of standard office policies and procedures, be a great communicator, be organized and detail oriented. A love of biodiversity conservation is always a plus!

If you think this job is for you or someone you know, click here to learn more and apply.

Natural Capital Protocol for the Ocean Workshop

Biodiversity News

December 6, 2018

Close up of ocean water surface with sunset in the backgroundOn Friday, December 7, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST in Washington, D.C., the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes will join other organizations in discussing how businesses depend upon ocean resources as part of the Natural Capital Protocol for the Ocean.

The Natural Capital Protocol for the Ocean will be a framework to help businesses answer questions related to both risks and opportunities.

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Reflections on the NatureNet Science Fellowship

Biodiversity News

November 13, 2018

Gravuer kneeling on crops holding soil between her hands, wearing sung glasses, smilingBy Kelly Gravuer

As I boarded the plane to Washington, D.C. to take on new science policy challenges, my thoughts drifted to the NatureNet Science Fellowship I had just wrapped up and how it had prepared me for this new adventure.

Through NatureNet, I had the incredible opportunity to work closely with scientists and conservation practitioners at The Nature Conservancy in California and the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at Arizona State University.

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Conservation International partners with ASU’s Decision Theater on innovative tool

ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

November 7, 2018

A dry, cracked bed of dirt with grass in backgroundClimate change. Species loss. Pollution.

These are well-known consequences of economic development threatening human and ecological health. International efforts to mitigate these threats are also familiar, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting endangered animals and cleaning our air and waterways.

However, perhaps the most crucial threat is also the most neglected — land degradation.

Approximately 1.3 billion people depend on polluted or degraded agricultural land. This leads to reduced agricultural productivity and access to water and increased carbon emissions. It is a complex problem with serious implications for food security, health and sustainable development.

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Sustainability scientist calls for careful oversight of environmental gene editing

ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

November 1, 2018

James P. CollinsAround the world, scientists are solving serious issues using modern technology. Whether the solution is genetically modified, malaria-fighting mosquitoes or other gene editing technologies, Arizona State University sustainability scientist James P. Collins is calling for careful risk assessment.

Collins, the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment at ASU's School of Life Sciences, co-authored a paper published in the journal "Science." The authors urgently encourage global governance to review new technologies on a a case-by-case basis — a decision-making process that must include the local communities that would feel the biggest and most immediate effects.

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Biomimicry Center planting inspiration with seed exhibit

ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

October 26, 2018

whirlybirdStill most widely associated with the invention of velcro, ASU researchers are walking the talk of biomimicry with a newly renovated office space and a new seed exhibit they hope will capture the imagination of innovators seeking solutions for complex human problems.

"Seeds continue to offer a bottomless design and engineering trove for many other innovations," said Heidi Fischer, assistant director at the Biomimicry Center. "We hope that our exhibition can provide new models for some of these innovations."

Titled “Designed to Move: Seeds that Float, Fly or Hitchhike through the Desert Southwest,” the exhibit, opening Oct. 30 in the Design School South Gallery on ASU's Tempe campus is offering viewers an extraordinary look at the beauty of desert seeds as captured through the macro photography lens of Taylor James, an alumni of ASU’s Masters of Fine Arts program.

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Making the most of conservation money

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News Biodiversity News

October 25, 2018

black footed ferretOne of the balancing acts faced by conservation agencies is how to conserve and protect as many species as possible from extinction with limited funding and finite resources. In the U.S., conservation agencies are supported and guided by the Endangered Species Act, the seminal wildlife conservation law signed by President Nixon in 1973 that is currently being reviewed by Congress.

Over time, the number of threatened and endangered species added to the ESA has grown faster than the funding for their recovery. As a result, conservation agencies have struggled in making decisions about how to apply the available resources to the greatest effect.

The result of this inadequate funding has been that while the ESA has brought back many species from the brink of extinction, many of those species remain on “life support,” never fully recovering to independence once again. This adds fuel to the debate over the effectiveness of the ESA.

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Efficient resource allocations for species protection

Biodiversity News

October 19, 2018

Black-footed ferret

ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber co-authored a paper published today by Science magazine titled “Endangered species recovery: A resource allocation problem[PDF].

The article highlights a new decision-tool recently developed in partnership with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The tool will help inform USFWS on best funding allocations for more exponentially efficient endangered species recovery efforts.

Read the full story in ASU Now.

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CAP LTER urban ecology work highlighted by Arizona PBS

ASU Wrigley Institute News Biodiversity News CAP LTER News

October 15, 2018

2 people making measurements in desert with city skyline in the backgroundThe Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program, a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, was recently featured in an episode of “Catalyst” by Arizona PBS. The episode, “Desert animals in urban centers,” discussed current research about how natural environments (including plant and animal life) are affected by urban development.

Sharon Hall, a senior sustainability scientist who works with the CAP LTER, said that some plant and animal life continues to flourish within or nearby Phoenix.

"There's all these hidden spots around the city that nature is thriving,” said Hall. “If we can think about finding those areas and protecting them — or at least understanding them a bit better, maybe then we can try to make our landscape a little bit more friendly to the types of animals that . . . are living among us all the time."

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The importance of African-Americans to the executive kitchen

ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

October 8, 2018

Whitehouse KitchenAt an October 5 Food and Thought event sponsored by Arizona State University College of Health Solutions, Author Adrian Miller spoke about the importance of African-Americans to the executive kitchen. Miller, a James Beard Award winner, signed copies of his new book at the event, which also featured food tastings an an audience question-and-answer session.

Miller’s book, "The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas," takes a look at some of the most pivotal characters in the White House’s kitchen history, some of which he spoke about at the event hosted by the ASU College of Health Solutions.

The reception also featured some of the recipes included in the book that were prepared for presidents and their families throughout history, including first lady Caroline Harrison’s deviled almonds and a baked macaroni and cheese that was served to Thomas Jefferson.

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The inconvenience of single-use plastics

Biodiversity News

October 4, 2018

Plastic bag slowly decomposing and floating underwaterAn ASU Now story titled “The inconvenient consequences of a culture of convenience” was published today.

In this article, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Associate Director of Biodiversity Valuation and Assessments Beth Polidoro and other center affiliated faculty shared insights on the health, pollution and biodiversity issues associated with single-use plastics.

Plastics can take decades, centuries and even millennia to break down. As they break down, they can separate into tiny pieces called microplastics. These microplastics release harmful chemicals into the environment, harming species that ingest them — humans and animals alike.

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