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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Human activities kickstarted the decline in Caribbean coral reefs

ASU Now | April 25, 2020

Fish swimming in coral reefAccording to researchers, about half of Caribbean coral reefs have died since the 1970s, with the iconic elkhorn and staghorn corals being the hardest hit. However, climate change does not completely explain the loss of the reefs. So, in order to get a better picture of the drastic coral loss, Arizona State University researcher Katie Cramer has published a new paper in Science Advances.

"I am interested in going back to the scene of the crime when humans first began to significantly impact coral reefs centuries ago, to understand when, why and how much reefs have been altered by humans,” said Cramer, an assistant research professor at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and an Ocean Science Fellow at the Center for Oceans at Conservation International.

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ASU expert proposes a biodiversity-focused solution to prevent zoonotic diseases

ASU Now | April 24, 2020

Barbary ApeCOVID-19 may have jumped from a wild animal market in Wuhan, China, to people. If so, it’s not the first deadly disease to spring from nature. Middle East respiratory syndrome is said to have a source at a camel market in Saudi Arabia. In the United States, the H1N1 swine flu originated in factory farms where animals are held in extreme confinement. And Ebola likely had its start in a chimpanzee habitat in West Africa.

A rising chorus is calling for wildlife markets to be shut down across the globe.

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Coral decline began in the mid-1900s

April 23, 2020

Underwater coral reef viewASU-Conservation International Assistant Research Professor Katie Cramer recently co-authored a paper in Science Advances titled the “Widespread loss of Caribbean acroporid corals was underway before coral bleaching and disease outbreaks.

The publication presented evidence through fossil data, historical records and underwater data, that throughout the last 125,000 years, the abundance of staghorn and elkhorn corals began declining in the mid-1900s. This reveals new speculation that the corals began to decline from fishing and land-clearing, but warming oceans have impelled this deterioration further.

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A project drawdown for biodiversity

April 22, 2020

Watercolor paint EarthAn Ensia opinion article by ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber was published on the 50th anniversary of Earth’s Day, identifying viable solutions to combat biodiversity loss through Project Drawdown.

Project Drawdown is an organization that researches the most practical global climate change solutions while sharing their findings with the rest of the world. Just as Project Drawdown pursued interventions for climate change, Gerber believes we need to produce a project drawdown for biodiversity to identify and share solutions to alleviate the biodiversity crisis.

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Managing fish, ecosystem and biodiversity goals

April 22, 2020

School of fish swimming in one directionASU-Conservation International Research Professor Jack Kittinger co-authored a new Science publication titled “Meeting fisheries, ecosystem function, and biodiversity goals in a human-dominated world.”


The worldwide decline of coral reefs necessitates targeting management solutions that can sustain reefs and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them. However, little is known about the context in which different reef management tools can help to achieve multiple social and ecological goals.

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ASU ranks best in UN sustainability goals

April 22, 2020

Hand of student painted in white making ASU forks hand gestureArizona State University ranked top in the U.S. and fifth in the world for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Back in 2017, world leaders came together to produce 17 sustainable objectives to improve the state of our planet by 2030.

On the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020, Times Higher Education magazine announced that out of 766 institutions from around the world, only three American universities placed in the top 100. ASU scored 96.3 out of 100 points, therefore making our university the top American university and fifth-best in the world.

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How to save the environment

April 22, 2020

Pink lotus flower floating among leavesToday's issue of ASU Now features a video by ASU experts, including ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber, sharing insights and recommendations for saving the environment.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, they remind us that every action counts towards conserving nature and the diversity of life on our planet.

Watch the video to learn how you can make a difference.

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COVID-19 linked to environmental degradation

April 11, 2020

Digital illustration of Earth in space with the shape of a COVID-19 particleOn April 10, 2020, Issues in Science and Technology published an article by ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber titled “A Global Strategy for Preventing the Next Pandemic.”

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. In this publication, she explains how environmental degradation has contributed to the transition of disease from animals to humans.

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Single-use plastic survey

April 7, 2020

Computer illustration of four hands holding four puzzle pieces that fit togetherThe ASU Conservation Innovation Lab and the S.W.A.T. Lab invite you to participate in a research study about single-use plastics (SUP) and effective policymaking.

To participate, all you need to do is complete a 10-minute survey.

This survey aims to determine the SUP footprint of ASU affiliated individuals by evaluating weekly use and disposal of single-use plastics. The SUP footprint will serve as a referral tool for institutions and governments when designing plastic-related policies that are shaped specifically to the city’s plastic consumption, management and perception.

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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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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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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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