MODELING ECOLOGICAL NICHES AND GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS: WHAT, WHY AND HOW?
Richard Pearson, American Museum of Natural History
Robert Anderson, City University of New York
Steven Phillips, AT&T Labs-Research
Models that predict species' ecological niches and geographic distributions by combining observed occurrence records with digital data layers of environmental variables are increasingly used across a wide range of applications in conservation. Using a combination of presentation, demonstration and discussion, we will address 3 main areas: What: from a theoretical standpoint, what do these models predict?; Why: examples of applications in conservation, such as reserve planning, and invasive species Management; How: demonstration of how to run niche-based distribution models, with a focus on Maxent.
CONSERVATION ACTION PLANNING: DEVELOPING CONSERVATION STRATEGIES FOR APPLIED CONSERVATION PROJECTS
Karen Poiani and George Schuler, The Nature Conservancy
Conservation Action Planning (or CAP) is The Nature Conservancy’s primary methodology to develop conservation strategies for places and projects. It is a planning method based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (http://www.conservationmeasures.org/CMP/) that has evolved from the Conservancy’s on-the-ground and in-the-water applied conservation work over the past three decades. This workshop will take participants through the basic steps of CAP, highlight its strengths and weaknesses, and involve students in some interactive exercises which illustrate the dynamic nature of applied conservation planning, including CAP.
ADVANCES IN MONITORING AND QUANTITATIVE ECOLOGY IN CONSERVATION SCIENCE
Benjamin Zuckerberg, Cornell University Lab of Ornithology
James P. Gibbs, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse
Wesley Hochachka, Cornell University Lab of Ornithology
Monitoring is a fundamental component of conservation science, and data from monitoring can form an important part of students’ research programs. Here, we are proposing a workshop that will provide participants with: (1) an overview of the types of activities that constitute “monitoring” including descriptions of existing sources of available monitoring data, (2) discussion of logistical issues surrounding gathering and using monitoring data, and (3) a survey of analytical methods that can be applied to monitoring data in order to answer diverse conservation-oriented questions. One motivation for this workshop is the diverse range of activities encompassed by monitoring, ranging from local community-based projects to national citizen science programs. Analytical tools are now available to develop cost-effective sampling designs that generate more reliable information for management decision-making and thereby assess the effectiveness of conservation efforts. Once data are collected, they need to be appropriately analyzed in order to extract insights, and so our final goal for this workshop is to introduce participants to current quantitative topics in conservation monitoring including issues related to: types of biological data, effective sample sizes, measuring and detecting population change, least-cost sampling design, and the growing availability of analytical tools that are able to account for and remove biases in the data that result from the inevitable imperfect recording of natural phenomena by conservation scientists. We will emphasize the importance of both local monitoring projects and the use of online biological data sources in regional and national monitoring. Participants will be guided through hands-on exercises using freeware programs such as Monitor.exe and R.
Note: Each participant will need to bring a laptop! (The workshop leaders will follow up with enrolled participants with specifics about the software that you will need to install prior to the workshop (which is available for free on the Internet).
EXPANDING YOUR TEACHING TOOLBOX: AN INTRODUCTION TO ACTIVE AND SCIENTIFIC TEACHING APPROACHES
Ana Luz Porzecanski, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History
In graduate school, most of us get a heavy dose of content knowledge, which is certainly important to our future work as academics or practitioners. However, many of us don’t receive the same sort of training on how to communicate this information, whether that be in the form of teaching, or perhaps running workshops and meetings. This workshop will focus on how active, student-centered, and evidence-based approaches can be more effective in promoting student learning than traditional lecture-based approaches. During the workshop, we will review the principles of scientific teaching, and a number of tools for active teaching and classroom assessment. Participants will be able to practice application of some of these tools, and will take home a “toolbox” of materials and resources.
WORKSHOP SESSION II
4:00-5:30 pm (90-minute concurrent sessions)
ECOLOGICAL RISK ANALYSIS FOR CONSERVATION BIOLOGY
Nicholas Friedenberg, Applied Biomathematics
The future is uncertain and our biological knowledge is often woefully incomplete. Therefore, any modeling effort that claims to quantitatively forecast the unique behavior of an ecological system is simply preposterous. Conservation and management decisions should instead be supported with quantitative assessments of risk. Risk is a range of possible outcomes and their associated probabilities, for instance the probability of extinction as a function of time. This workshop will cover the basic components of population modeling and Monte Carlo simulation with an overview of the language and metrics used in risk
analysis. A case study will be developed from an existing project or the interests of the participants using the RAMAS Metapop software package.
ECONOMICS AS A TOOL FOR CONSERVATION? REALLY?
Brendan Fisher, Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, Princeton University
In a world of global environmental change we are faced with several interrelated challenges for ecological sustainability. Increasingly it is recognized that these challenges are not going to be solved by conservation and natural scientists alone, but rather by coordination amongst natural scientists, social scientists and political institutions with input provided by all concerned stakeholders. In this workshop we will look at the nature of ecosystem services as public goods (e.g biodiversity, carbon sequestration, maintenance of natural stocks) and how this characteristic affects their distribution and allocation. We will play a few economic games to better understand human and societal decision-making and use these games and the economic insights they generate to demonstrate conservation coordination problems, free-riding, and the pitfalls in governing public goods. In this workshop you will learn how to use few basic economic concepts and tools in order to help inform conservation-development decisions.
LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES OF INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH AND SPECIMEN COLLECTION IN A POST-CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY WORLD: A DISCUSSION
James S. Miller, Dean & Vice President for Science and Rupert Barneby Curator for Botanical Science, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York
International research involving the collection of biological specimens is today a very complicated issue, often requiring permits or written permission from multiple agencies. When the Convention on Biological Diversity was drafted at the 1992 United National Conference of Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it entered into force on 29 December 1993, it challenged the party nations to conserve and sustainably use their biological resources and to equitably share any benefits that arose from their use. Responsibility for compliance with the Convention rested with individual party nations and although there are similarities, there are many different rules in different countries. This discussion will touch on the principles upon which these complex regulations are based, including a review of the basic tenets of the Convention on Biological Diversity and examples of the permitting process in several countries. In addition to permits, it is now also necessary for those collecting biological specimens to understand how benefits from commercial research are allocated in benefit sharing agreements.