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Effective tracking of US seafood imports

Biodiversity News

September 20, 2017

Close up of wood fishing boatNew ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Associate Research Professor Samantha Cheng recently published a paper titled “Delivering on seafood traceability under the new U.S. import monitoring program.”

The U.S. is the world’s largest fish importer. However, recent reports indicate that 25-30% of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S. is illegally caught, raising concern for the country’s role in driving unregulated fishing.

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Innovative financing for the High Seas

Biodiversity News

September 20, 2017

Seagulls flying closely over ocean against cloudy skyASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber recently published a paper titled “Innovative financing for the High Seas,” along with co-author Torsten Thiele, of London School of Economics.

The publication is part of a special issue emerging from a session on innovative financing mechanisms to achieve the United Nation’s Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, during the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress session in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

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Broadening diversity in biodiversity science

Biodiversity News

September 14, 2017

Three minority children conducting fieldwork experimentIn August 2015, the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber and graduate student affiliate Beth Tellman from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning organized a panel titled “Expanding diversity in the next generation of ecology.” This event attracted dozens of minority students who have led a paper just out in Science titled “Without inclusion, diversity initiatives might not be enough.”

Fewer young people are pursuing conservation science degrees and working in their professions after graduation – even as platforms to increase diversity persist.  What is behind this disconnect?

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Biodiversity monitoring promotes sustainable development

Biodiversity News

August 9, 2017

Close up of ant standing on green leaf against green backgroundASU-Conservation International Professor of Practice, Dr. Jorge Ahumada, recently published a paper in Biological Reviews titled “Building essential biodiversity variables (EBVs) of species distribution and abundance at a global scale.”

The study assesses some of the challenges of developing a large, global database focused on species distribution and abundance. It proposes eleven workflow steps to operationalize this process while offering concrete examples from existing projects, including the TEAM Network.

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Uncovering the blue economy in coral reef fisheries

Biodiversity News

August 8, 2017

Underwater photo of coral reef and small yellow tropical fish swimming around ASU-Conservation International Professor of Practice, Dr. Jack Kittinger, recently published a paper in PLoS ONE titled “Follow that fish: Uncovering the hidden blue economy in coral reef fisheries.”

The study sheds light on the economic and social value of small-scale coral reef fisheries in Hawai’i with the intention to incentivize sustainability efforts in the region.

Although human well-being depends greatly on nearshore fisheries, these natural resources are often undervalued. Insufficient data exists to support effective policy and development programs.

“This work is the result of a three-year effort to assess the value chain in coral reef fisheries and is one of the four publications that are forthcoming from this project,” explained Kittinger.

Kittinger et al., estimate the economic value of Hawaiian coral reef fisheries at $10.3-$16.4 million, providing over $7 million annually in meals.

Students advance collaborations in biodiversity conservation

Biodiversity News

August 4, 2017

Group photo of graduate students participating in conferenceAffiliated graduate students, Maria del Mar Mancha-Cisneros and Ute Brady, attended the 16th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) to develop a set of standard variables for social-ecological systems (SES) that facilitates more effective and sustainable conservation outcomes.

The conference took place in July 2017 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Mancha-Cisneros and Brady organized the interdisciplinary panel as part of a collaboration between the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) and the Center for Behavior, Institutions, and the Environment (CBIE).

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Professor Grimm, new American Geophysical Union Fellow

Biodiversity News

July 31, 2017

Outdoors headshot of Dr. GrimmNancy Grimm, ASU School of Life Sciences professor and Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Affiliate Faculty, was recently named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. This recognition is awarded to individuals who have made exceptional contributions in the field.

“It is an honor to join such a great group,” Grimm said. “I am thrilled to be recognized for my contributions and am grateful to all the terrific students, postdocs and colleagues I’ve worked with over the years for helping shape those contributions.”

Congratulations Professor Grimm!

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Faculty Affiliate Spotlight: Tod Swanson

Biodiversity News

July 24, 2017

Close up of tropical Ecuadorian Amazon orchids against other local vegetationTod Swanson is a Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) Faculty Affiliate and Professor in The School of History Philosophy and Religious Studies. He studies language of indigenous people and how language co-evolves with the relationship between people and nature.

Tod grew up in Ecuador and married a woman from a small native community found on the banks of the Napo River in the Amazon jungle. Tod and his extensive Ecuadorian family speak Spanish when they have to, but their native tongue is Kichwa, one of several indigenous languages in Amazonia. The family owns a 600 hectare reserve of rainforest, where they operate the Andes and Amazon Field School.

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ASU-CI: A transformational partnership

Biodiversity News

July 19, 2017

Satellite view of sun rising behind EarthThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) and Conservation International (CI) unveiled a video featuring CBO’s Distinguished Professor of Practice and CI’s new CEO, M. Sanjayan, describing the transformational potential of the ASU-CI Knowledge Partnership during his ASU visit in May 2017.

In the video, Sanjayan explains that “This partnership will help us answer that fundamental question—how do we live on this planet without exhausting the resources we all need to survive?”

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ICCB Workshop 202: Partnerships for conservation

Biodiversity News

June 27, 2017

Street view of colorful colonial streets in CartagenaDuring the last week of July 2017, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director, Leah Gerber, will represent academia in Cartagena, Colombia during an International Congress for Conservation Biology workshop titled “Partnerships for Conservation.”

Our planet will be populated by 9.7 billion by 2050, but the current 7 billion have already taxed its capacity to provide for us. To advance conservation and nature-based solutions that achieve impact at scale requires a broad range of actions and participation by government, the private sector, donors, communities, NGOs and academia.

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Using math to save endangered U.S. species

Biodiversity News

June 27, 2017

Close up of threatened spectacled eider maleOn May 5, 2017, ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director, Leah Gerber, partnered with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center to present the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials with a new tool for prioritizing recovery actions.

The plan, based on an algorithm specifically created for the United States, proposes to save as many as 200 additional species by tapping into funds currently allocated to save more iconic species, whose populations have decreased regardless of the millions of dollars invested to save them.

This proposal, already proven effective in New Zealand and Australia, is most timely as the Trump administration plans to reduce the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior, which oversees USFWS.

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Joining forces with the Natural Capital Coalition

Biodiversity News

June 27, 2017

Landscape of mountains and small lake with stormy sunset skyThe ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes recently became a member of the Natural Capital Coalition (NCC).

NCC is a unique multi-stakeholder collaboration that brings together leading global initiatives and organizations to harmonize approaches to natural capital.

Through this collaboration, CBO joined 250 other member organizations dedicated to protecting natural capital and ensuring sustainability.

CBO’s work with NCC will help advance our partnerships with Conservation International and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, specifically on directing research and creating decision tools that help integrate biodiversity accounting and valuation into the Natural Capital Protocol.

Job Opening! Field Institute Manager

Biodiversity News

June 21, 2017

Sunset landscape view of McDowell mountains and cactusThe McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, a non-profit organization in Scottsdale, AZ, has an exciting job opening for a Field Institute Manager.

The Field Institute Manager would work with a dynamic group of citizen scientists, Conservancy staff, land managers, and scientists to lead ecological fieldwork and K-6 STEM education initiatives.

This is a fantastic opportunity for an up-and-coming environmental professional to work with a knowledgeable and passionate group of people doing critical environmental work with regional implications in central Arizona and beyond.

Applications close on Tuesday, June 27. For more information and to apply, please contact Paul Staker at paul@mcdowellsonoran.org (submit cover letter, resume/CV and three references).

On the topic of strategic prioritization, or ‘species triage’

Biodiversity News

June 19, 2017

It’s easy to misrepresent the field of species prioritization. It’s often tempting to purport that some scientists are advocating for extinction. A few facts:

  • There is a clear link between funding and recovering endangered species. Wildlife conservation is grossly underfunded.
  • If we are not going to fully fund efforts to recover all endangered species, then it is important to allocate funds to achieve the greatest good.
  • A transparent approach designed with costs and other values built in will help us allocate recovery funds to save more species.
  • Each choice to fund the protection of one species comes with the consequence of sending unfunded species closer to extinction. Opponents of prioritization just pretend that is not the case by hiding the fact that there is a choice.

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Market-based approach to whaling

Biodiversity News

June 6, 2017

Seagull flying over humpback whales doing bubble net feeding A team of researchers including ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director, Dr. Leah Gerber, recently published a paper titled “Thinking Beyond the Moratorium: Testing the Feasibility of a Hypothetical Whaling-Conservation Permit Market in Norway” in Conservation Biology.

The article explores a new conservation management approach for protecting whales: a cap-and-trade system for harvests. This concept is dependent on conservationists being willing to pay for permits to protect the species. In this article, the authors model the potential outcomes of various market scenarios while acknowledging the cultural and ethical customs embedded in whaling.

Tackling wildlife poaching in South Africa

Biodiversity News

June 5, 2017

Elephant walking behind dried three branchA team of scholars from ASU traveled to South Africa to establish a joint project with the University of Johannesburg. Dr. Leah Gerber, Founding Director of ASU's Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, and Dr. Michael Schoon, CBO Faculty Affiliate and Assistant Professor of ASU School of Sustainability, spearheaded the project in collaboration with the ASU Decision Theater.

In addition to visiting the University of Johannesburg, they traveled to Kruger National Park and adjacent private reserves. This is the beginning of a promising partnership that aims to address the increasing rhino poaching epidemic. The proposed project will develop management plans that draw from the knowledge of a broad array of stakeholders at the local, national, and international levels.

Businesses called to reduce ocean waste

Biodiversity News

June 5, 2017

Beach scene with garbage accumulated in the sand, close to the waterThe World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) will publish a business case report titled “Roadmap for curbing the Ocean Waste” (ROW) the week of June 5-9, 2017 as part of the United Nation’s Oceans Conference in New York.

“Today, at least 8 million tons of plastics leak into the ocean each year, which is equivalent to dumping the content of one garbage truck into the ocean per minute,” explained WBCSD via a release to its affiliates.

The ROW report serves as a call to action to businesses, emphasizing how marine debris prevention practices can benefit industries. The report was produced with the collaboration of various corporations, including The Dow Chemical Company, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, Unilever, Nestlé, LafargeHolcim and Borealis.

WBCSD is one of the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) knowledge partners. CBO supported this project by participating in the ROW workshops leading up to the report and by providing expert reviews along the way.