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Psyche mission aims to help scientists understand Earth’s core

ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 17, 2018

Artist's rendition of Psyche asteroid with spacecraft in backgroundThree times farther from the sun than Earth, a massive asteroid made of metal floats in space between Mars and Jupiter. Its name is Psyche, and it could be the core of an early planet that survived violent collisions when the solar system was forming. Psyche was the sixteenth asteroid ever discovered, in 1852, but only recently has a spacecraft mission been initiated by Arizona State University and NASA to study this asteroid in more depth.

Unlike most other known asteroids, which are primarily rocky, Psyche appears to be made almost entirely of nickel-iron metal — much like Earth’s own core. According to ASU’s Psyche website, “The asteroid Psyche may be able to tell us how Earth’s core and the cores of the other terrestrial (rocky) planets came to be.” Scientists can’t investigate Earth’s core directly, so studying an asteroid with a similar makeup may be the next best thing.

ASU leads the Psyche mission, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for its management, operations and spacecraft navigation. The spacecraft is slated to launch in 2022, and then it will spend nearly four years cruising through space, using the gravitational field of Mars to increase in speed, until it reaches Psyche in 2026. Upon arrival, the spacecraft will orbit Psyche for 21 months, mapping and studying the asteroid’s properties.

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Now Hiring! Biodiversity in Business: Management Research Analyst, Sr.

Biodiversity News

July 17, 2018

Close up of wheat moving with the wind against sunsetThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is currently hiring a Senior Management Research Analyst – Biodiversity in Business to lead the center’s work on biodiversity in the business sector.

This individual will join a vibrant and growing interdisciplinary team of faculty and non-academic partners to develop and implement a portfolio of projects that address the multiple aspects of environmental and non-market valuation within the business landscape.

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Galapagos: Third Annual Symposium on Research and Conservation

Biodiversity News

June 25, 2018

Underwater view of large sea turtle in shallow waterOn June 27 and 28, 2018, the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Science Center will be hosting the Third Annual Symposium on Research and Conservation in San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

The two-day symposium will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (7 a.m. to 5 p.m. AZ Time) at the Charles Darwin International Convention Center. Live coverage will be available via the Galapagos Science Center’s Facebook page.

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Galapagos Marine Reserve: From knowledge to conservation

Biodiversity News

June 19, 2018

School of fish In partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber will be facilitating a workshop titled "Linking knowledge to conservation outcomes in the Galapagos Marine Reserve" in Ecuador on June 19, 2018.

In the Galapagos Islands, a large no-take marine protected area was recently established around the remote islands of Darwin and Wolf. This reserve represents one-third of the greater Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR) and is entirely closed to fishing.

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ASU-STRI partnership calls for proposals

Biodiversity News

June 18, 2018

Violet-crowned woodnymph bird standing on branch

The ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes has recently joined other ASU units to launch a five-year collaborative research initiative in partnership with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

This new ASU-STRI effort follows a successful earlier partnership that finished in 2015. The new partnership aims to cultivate a shared research agenda to understand and manage human and ecological systems in the tropics and to train the next generation of tropical scientists. Specific research foci include:

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Now hiring! Summer student

Biodiversity News

May 18, 2018

Small plant sitting on pot by laptop on wood tableThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is hiring a summer 2018 student. The ideal candidate would facilitate a research project aimed at developing a decision tool for conservation investments, as well as assist with center communications and marketing.

Essential duties include collaboratively design the tool structure, compile and clean data and metadata for input; incorporate modeling framework into R; use R Shiny to build an interactive web application; work one-on-one with the center's communication manager; develop web-based communication materials, including blogs, social media posts and newsletters.

$15/hr, 20 hrs/wk. Click here for a complete job description.

If interested in applying, please contact Anahi Astudillo and Krista Kemppinen.

ASU-CI partnership in action in the world’s epicenter of biodiversity

Biodiversity News

April 20, 2018

Gerber and Sabo scuba diving with groupAs part of their Fulbright Fellowships to Ecuador, Professors Leah Gerber and John Sabo are experiencing the interface between people and nature in the Amazon rainforest and on the Galapagos Islands.

Sabo’s work focuses on strategic development of hydropower in the Amazon basin and Gerber’s focus is on the social, ecological and economic dimensions of marine conservation in the Galapagos Islands.

During their time in the Galapagos Islands, the pair are also piloting the ASU-CI Professor-in-Residence program. The converse of our ASU-CI Professor of Practice program where CI scientists engage with ASU scholars. Professor in Residence work on the ground with conservation practitioners.

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ASU-CI professors of practice speed talks

Biodiversity News

April 17, 2018

ASU-CI professors of practice pose next to ASU statueIn partnership with Conservation International, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes will be hosting a series of speed talks by the ASU-Cl professors of practice on their respective research areas. This will be a great opportunity for faculty to learn more about their work and find out ways to get involved.

Wednesday, April 25, 9:25-10:25 a.m., ASU Tempe campus, Wrigley Hall 481. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP »

Click here to learn more about the ASU-CI partnership.


Can nature save us? Stories from the natural world

Uncategorized Biodiversity News

April 17, 2018

Headshot of M. SanjayanIn partnership with Conservation International, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes will be hosting a talk by CI CEO and ASU-CI Distinguished Professor of Practice M. Sanjayan titled, “Can nature save us? Stories from the natural world.”

The talk will take place on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at ASU Tempe campus, Memorial Union, Mohave 236.

Sanjayan will be discussing the importance of nature to human wellbeing and the role we all play in conserving it.

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Endangered vaquitas: Film screening and discussion

Institute Press Releases Biodiversity News

March 21, 2018

Film poster illustration of three vaquitas swimming in coral reef with title of the film "Souls of the Vermilion Sea"Arizona State University’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes is pleased to collaborate with local partners Plea for the Sea and Lightkeepers Foundation to offer a special screening of the short documentary Souls of the Vermilion Sea.

The free public event will occur on Sunday, March 25 from 3-5 p.m. at the university’s Memorial Union in Room 230 (Pima). The event will also be live streamed. More details are available at the following link:  

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Biodiversity research focal areas and initiatives

Biodiversity News

March 9, 2018

Close up of tropical white flower and thin branchThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes will be hosting three sessions this spring dedicated to highlight important biodiversity conservation research taking place at the university.

Each session will explore a different focal area: Stakeholder engagement; biodiversity evidence, metrics and monitoring; decision science.

Case statements will be presented, followed by an open Q&A session. Light refreshments will be served.

For additional information and to RSVP, please click here.

ASU Open Door: Learning about the natural world

Biodiversity News

March 8, 2018

Close up of kids hands playing with animal figurinesOn February 24, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes joined other ASU centers and schools in engaging with children of all ages as part of the ASU Open Door 2018.

For its third year participating in the program, the center organized three activities designed to teach students about conservation. This included asking participants to put together a giant jigsaw puzzle of the Amazonian rainforest, matching animals and people to certain biospheres and letting children dig for (fake) insects in a tin of soil.

Prizes were handed out for completion, which included nature-themed bookmarks and stickers. For the first time, a TED-ED video was shown on loop at the table explaining biodiversity and its global importance.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to watch children, from babies to high-school students, learn about the natural world and have fun doing it,” Project Manager Amy Scoville-Weaver said. “I hope they all came away with a new interest in biodiversity and the role they can play in conserving it.”

Initial numbers estimate as many as 4,000 people participated in the event.

Bringing stable power to the most remote communities

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

February 22, 2018

As many as 1.3 billion people lack access to electrical power, according to Senior Sustainability Scientist Nathan Johnson. That's why the ASU engineer – who directs the Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions – is advancing technologies for electrical-grid modernization and off-grid electrification.

One of these solutions is the microgrid, which provides independent power generation and storage. Johnson and the LEAPS team are developing microgrids that are more technically and economically viable – easier to design, scale and transport. On top of providing the world's poorest and most remote communities with stable power, this technology can improve scenarios like disaster relief and medical care.

Johnson’s approach to military microgrids won a TechConnect Defense Innovation Award at the Defense Innovation Technology Acceleration Challenges Summit.


Slum residents make themselves count

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

February 20, 2018

If cities in developing nations don’t address their burgeoning slums, poverty will increase, political instability will heighten and human misery will continue.

That's according to Senior Sustainability Scientist José Lobo, one of the authors of a 2018 report presented at the World Urban Forum. The report detailed the efforts of Know Your City, an initiative that organized slum residents in 103 cities to profile, enumerate and map their communities.

“The central premise of community data collection is that the data collected becomes an instrument to foster a dialogue among the many different parties (communities, public agencies, governments, NGOs, international funding agencies) about the design and implementation of effective solutions,” Lobo said.


Food Systems director calls for lifestyle-wide behavior change for a more sustainable future

ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

February 20, 2018

Chris Wharton, director of the Food Systems Transformation Initiative, gives the latest KEDTalk hosted by ASU's Knowledge Enterprise Development. "We live in a world of wild, damaging, unsustainable excess," he says, and the solution requires a rapid, transformational response. By revealing what is hidden in plain sight, Wharton illuminates a path to health, wealth, happiness and sustainability through values-based behavior change.


Accelerating the transition to a low-carbon future

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News

February 6, 2018

ASU is part of a new coalition of 13 leading research universities committed to tackling climate change. The group – called the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3 – includes distinguished universities from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Each university has committed to mobilizing its resources and expertise to help businesses, cities and states achieve their climate goals. Specific UC3 goals include hosting cross-sector forums and producing a climate mitigation and adaptation report.

The formation of UC3 was announced at the Second Nature 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit.


Study abroad in Botswana

Biodiversity News

February 3, 2018

Aerial view of Okavango Delta BotswanaLearn from the top water resource academic experts in the world through this ASU Study Abroad initiative, while exploring the intersection of water, ecosystems and governance.

This program is a part of the PLuS Alliance, Connected River Basins with University of New South Wales, Sydney and Kings College London.

ASU students will be joining students and faculty from the two other universities as well as the University of Botswana to participate in an interdisciplinary course centered on water resource management.

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Sci-fi can offer a window to our food future

ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

February 1, 2018

There are plenty of sci-fi stories set in post-apocalyptic scenarios where urban ruins crumble amid mass environmental destruction, and the remaining human communities struggle to find food, water and shelter. Charlie Jane Anders’ short sci-fi story “The Minnesota Diet” is different, and the Food Systems Transformation Initiative (FSTI) director Chris Wharton explains why in a special Future Tense article for Slate.

Anders’ story begins in fictional New Lincoln, a technologically advanced, future urban city seemingly well-insulated from agricultural vulnerabilities—until it isn’t.

Wharton says “The Minnesota Diet” offers opportunities for backcasting and reflection on our current behaviors when it comes to our food system. Anders’ story lends insight into more than just the technological efficiencies required for food production and delivery systems — it invites us to think critically about the choices we make right now with the resources we have today.


Retailers rise with the tide of responsible products

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

February 1, 2018

$200 billion worth of consumer products are now managed using tools created by The Sustainability Consortium – an organization run by ASU and the University of Arkansas – according to the consortium's 2017 impact report.

TSC helps companies define, develop and deliver more sustainable products by providing them with science-based tools. Its members – which exceed 100 and include brands like Walmart, Amazon and Walgreens – have access to research insights in almost 130 product categories. To date, 85 percent of consumer goods are covered.

“We are now seeing the tide changing in the number of companies committing to creating sustainable products for a more sustainable planet,” said TSC Chief Executive Euan Murray.


Conservation science in practice

Biodiversity News

January 31, 2018

ASU-CI Professors of Practice group photo by ASU statueThis spring, as part of the Knowledge Partnership between Arizona State University and Conservation International, six CI scientists began teaching a course for 38 undergraduate and graduate students at ASU.

The course, titled Biodiversity Conservation in Practice, is designed and taught by the CI-ASU Professors of Practice: Jorge Ahumada, David Hole, Miroslav Honzák, Jack KittingerRosimeiry Portela and Percy Summers.

The course brings CI’s science, experience and field conservation issues into the classroom, giving students an opportunity to learn from and question leading conservationists in their fields of research and practice.

The course syllabus builds on the first-hand experience of these scientists and covers a range of cutting-edge conservation science applications, including species population assessments, ecosystem services, landscape conservation planning, sustainable production, ocean conservation and nature’s role in global sustainability.