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Biodiversity News

March 15, 2016

Group of smiling researchersOn Friday, March 25, and Monday, March 28, 2016, the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes will host decision scientists Richard Maloney, New Zealand Department of Conservation; Gwen Iacona, University of Queensland, Australia; and Stephanie Avery-Gomm, University of Queensland, Australia.

Part of CBO's Biodiversity Series, a seminar titled "Five important things needed to spend money efficiently on saving threatened species" will be held on March 28 in Wrigley Hall, Room 481 – ASU Tempe campus – from 1:30-3:00 p.m. It will address the decision-making processes designed to maximize species recovery with limited resources at regional and national levels.

CBO, in conjunction with the featured scientists, are collaborating with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to address resource challenges regarding the protection and recovery of endangered species.

If you would like to talk with Dr. Maloney, Dr. Iacona or Dr. Avery-Gomm on Friday, March 25, contact Anita Hagy Ferguson at Anita.Hagyferguson@asu.edu to schedule a meeting time.

Richard Maloney is a Senior Scientist at the Department of Conservation (DOC), New Zealand. Dr. Maloney's background is a mix of threatened species conservation, reintroductions and habitat management, particularly in braided rivers and dry-lands environment. He is the lead science advisor for black stilt, an endangered wading bird with 70 wild adults remaining. His MSc in zoology attempted to train NZ robins to recognize and respond to introduced mammalian predators, and his PhD was on the reintroduction and breeding ecology of houbara bustards, which he did while working on conservation projects in the Saudi Arabian desert. In the last decade Dr. Maloney led work for DOC in setting outcome based objectives for all natural heritage work and for cost efficiently prioritizing national resources for all threatened species. He has been involved in similar work in the states of Tasmania and New South Wales in Australia.

Gwen Iacona is an applied conservation scientist who uses quantitative and empirical approaches to understand how biodiversity outcomes can be improved by better decision making. Her current work uses theoretical tools to study how the costs of conservation interventions influence the choice of actions and the resulting outcomes. Gwen has also worked closely with several conservation organizations on projects that include predicting invasive plant cover, modelling protected area effectiveness, and prioritizing conservation action. Gwen currently is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions at the University of Queensland where she is advised by Professors Hugh Possingham, Kerrie Wilson and Jonathan Rhodes. She earned her PhD in 2014 from the University of Tennessee, under the tutelage of Professor Paul Armsworth, and has a MS from the University of Florida where she worked with Professors Kay Kirkman and Emilio Bruna.

Stephanie Avery-Gomm is an applied ecologist, interested in using decision science to achieve optimal outcomes for conservation. Stephanie’s current research examines the efficacy of endangered species legislation and develops decision support tools to improve endangered species recovery. Stephanie is also an active member of the seabird research community. Her seabird-related work focuses on identifying the drivers of historical seabird population decline at a global scale, and applying this knowledge to help prioritize seabird conservation efforts. She is also a partner on research that seeks to monitor plastic pollution and to understand the emerging impacts of plastic ingestion on seabirds. By partnering with government agencies and NGOs in the USA, Australia and Canada, Stephanie ensures that her research is relevant to policy makers and on-the-ground conservation efforts.

Stephanie commenced her PhD at the University of Queensland Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions, advised by Professors Hugh Possingham and Richard Fuller. Prior to moving to Australia, Stephanie worked as an environmental assessment biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and as a seabird research biologist with Environment Canada. In 2013, she earned my MSc from the University of British Columbia, where she studied the habitat requirements of an endangered species of freshwater fish, under the supervision of Professor John Richardson and Jordan Rosenfeld.