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What's New at the CBC?

November 13, 2020

A new version of Maxent (v3.4.3) is now available! Maxent is an open source species distribution modeling tool for conservation practitioners that applies a machine learning technique called maximum entropy modeling. This new version fixes various bugs and improves functionality when running with the dismo package in R. 

November 12, 2020

The Scientist Is In: Squids!

Title screen showing giant squid diorama for scientist is in program on squids with Sam Cheng

Learn all about the important role squids play in the health of our oceans with CBC scientist Dr. Sam Cheng. 

October 13-15, 2020

Consultation Workshop III: Expanding Wallace biodiversity modeling software to support Colombia BON assessment and reporting

Workshop faces on Zoom waving to their computer cameras

Held virtually this year, the purpose of this third annual workshop was to consult with invited biodiversity experts for their feedback on a preliminary expanded version of Wallace software that includes new functionality to connect with the Colombia BON web application BioModelos and functions from two new R packages: maskRangeR and changeRangeR, which we designed based on the input of participants in our 2018 and 2019 consultation workshops. maskRangeR processes species distribution models to estimate current species’ ranges using remotely-sensed data or other user input. changeRangeR allows users to calculate metrics of biodiversity and its change over space and time. Participants provided expertise and input to test the new software developed and also discussed opportunities to collaborate on a synthesis publication based upon our workshop series.

October 7-9, 2020

The Marshall M. Weinberg Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York 

Infographic depicting the number of applicants, presentations, and events at SCCS-NY 2020

The 11th annual Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York (SCCS-NY) was held entirely virtually this year! The CBC’s SCCS-NY team adapted all aspects of the conference to an online format, including presentations, workshops, dedicated mentoring feedback, and mentoring cafés, and convened a vibrant conference with a diversity of participants. With the aid of a custom conference website designed in-house, we engaged over 300 participants, an increase of over 65% from the number of participants who attended in person in 2019. To learn more about the conference, visit: amnh.org/sccsny

September 6, 2020

New Publication: The CEEDER database of evidence reviews: An open-access evidence service for researchers and decision-makers

How can you evaluate the reliability of evidence reviews in environmental disciplines? A collaborative effort by all of the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) centres, this paper introduces a new online, freely available evidence service: the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence Database of Evidence Reviews (CEEDER). CEEDER aims to transform communication of evidence review reliability to researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners through independent assessment of key aspects of available evidence reviews claiming to assess environmental impacts. Learn more about the CBC's Evidence Initiative and our role as the CEE-US centre. 

August 24, 2020

New Publication: Parasite Biodiversity

Orange fish with white spots and a parasite is attached to its body
Kevin Lafferty/USGS

In NCEP's newest module, students have the opportunity to discover the hidden world of parasites: they will come face to face with living parasites, learn about what differentiates parasites from free-living species, observe some common adaptations to a parasitic lifestyle, explore the ecological role of parasites in food webs, and assess how parasite abundance might change in a changing world. This timely module, which includes two interactive labs and a video lecture, can easily be adapted to online/remote learning scenarios. 

August 6, 2020

Dr. Alex Moore, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the CBC, was featured in a Nature article on the trials of global research under the coronavirus. Learn more about Dr. Moore's research on mangrove restoration and mangrove biocultural knowledge

July 31, 2020

A cluster of four diamondback terrapins on the bank of a body of water.
Billtacular/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

The Terrapin Tracker was selected as a finalist for the Con X Tech Prize! Developed by Ned Horning, Director of Applied Biodiversity Informatics at the CBC, the Terrapin Tracker is one of just 20 finalists for this global conservation technology prototyping competition. 

July 23, 2020

New Publication: Conservation Leadership Capacity Building: a Landscape Study

Front page of the report on Conservation Leadership Capacity Building

As we develop the capacity of conservation leaders, what are the needs, gaps, and opportunities for future initiatives? A team of us joined forces with National Geographic, Global Wildlife Conservation, and the Smithsonian Institution to find out. This report describes the key findings of a landscape study of capacity development initiatives focused on conservation leadership. 

July 16, 2020

New Publication: Towards an equity competency model for sustainable food systems education programs

The CBC, in collaboration with other members of the Teaching Food Systems Community of Practice, recently published a paper aimed at increasing equity-related competencies in students of sustainable food systems education (SFSE) programs. We found that in the US and Canada, the vast majority of undergraduate and graduate programs do not explicitly including equity in their curricula. Our results show that it is unlikely that future professionals will have the capacity to help dismantle systemic inequities, and may result in the re-entrenchment of on-going forms of oppression. Our findings indicate a clear need for equity to be explicitly integrated in required courses in SFSE programs. Given this concerning gap, as a starting point we propose declarative and procedural elements of an equity competency model. It is our hope that our model will be shared, critiqued, adapted, and integrated into SFSE programs to support constructive alignment among learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, and assessment strategies, within individual courses and across degree programs. 

July 6, 2020

New Publication: The Harvest of Tropical Wildlife for Bushmeat and Traditional Medicine

Schematic of the interacting drivers of unsustainable bushmeat consumption in the tropics.

Wildlife is an important source of food security, medicine and income for many rural people globally. In this review paper, the CBC's Amanda Sigouin and her co-authors explore the multidimensional issues surrounding the trade in wild animals, including how the unsustainable trade threatens rural livelihoods as well as biodiversity conservation and global public health. The review compiles evidence for approaches that can help stem the trade, including improved harvest monitoring, local delegation of resource management, alternative sources of protein and medicine, and combating illegal trade.  

June 30, 2020

Indicators of Well-being webinar series: Household and Community Food Sovereignty and Security

Word cloud from a presentation at the June biocultural webinar

The Indicators of Well-being webinars provide a virtual platform for learning and exchange among practitioners who are using place-based monitoring and reporting indicators on well-being that bridge social and ecological dimensions, nature and culture, people and place. In this highly interactive webinar, the CBC’s Biocultural Conservation Planning team focused on well-being in action as we shared and exchanged place-based examples and experiences with household and community food sovereignty and security. 

June 3, 2020

New Publication: Academic leaders must support inclusive scientific communities during COVID-19


The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation’s Dr. Alex Moore and Dr. Eleanor Sterling, together with a team of international scientists, call for a collective effort by the entire scientific community, especially those in leadership positions, to actively support the retention and diversity of early-career scientists during and after COVID-19.

In this Nature Ecology & Evolution article, the team of authors identify a set of key actions for scientific workplaces, communities, and broader policy to clearly show what can be done to support early-career scientists during and after the crisis. The authors also emphasize that overcoming the acute and long-term challenges of this pandemic calls for a strong international scientific community that understands that diversity and equity are key factors in promoting healthy, resilient ecosystems as the cornerstones of human health and well-being.

May 26, 2020

New Publication: Creating a space for place and multidimensional well-being: lessons learned from localizing the SDGs


CBC scientists published a new study in the journal Sustainability Science which examines the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, and dimensions of well-being in the Pacific Islands.  The study team (a collaboration across 27 authors, including customary chiefs, ministry representatives, social and biological scientists, and sustainable development professionals) systematically compared the SDGs indicators with factors contributing to well-being in Pacific Islands to see how well the SDGs can inform sustainable development in this region.

Their research shows that there are overlaps, but also significant gaps. As a result, internationally generated indicators may result in misdiagnosis and design of on-the-ground interventions with unintended and negative outcomes, including natural resource degradation, displacement of communities, or loss of food security. The research has already had significant impact in modifying regional development strategies. To support policy makers, the CBC also launched a series of guides on culturally attuned metrics for countries reporting on sustainable development.

May 20, 2020

Screen view of the software program dotdotgoose

The latest version of DotDotGoose is now available! DotDotGoose is a free, open source counting tool developed by the CBC to assist with manually counting objects in images.

May 19, 2020

Cover page from the CBC Spring 2020 Progress Report

The Spring 2020 CBC Progress Report is now available for download. 

March 20, 2020

New Publication: Strengthen causal models for better conservation outcomes for human well-being

systematic map evidence base flow chart figure

Causal models are useful tools for understanding pathways from conservation actions to impacts on nature and people. In this PLOS ONE paper, the CBC’s Dr. Samantha Cheng and co-authors reviewed recent studies on links between nature-based conservation actions and human well-being impacts and found that causal models were not widely used and were rarely tested for validity with empirical data. This paper provides criteria for credible models and gives recommendations for promoting, using and reporting on causal models.

February 21, 2020

New Publication: Consumer impacts on ecosystem functions in coastal wetlands: The data gap

Wetlands grass surrounded by fencing

What are the impacts of consumers on coastal wetland ecosystems? In this Innovative Viewpoint, the CBC’s Dr. Alex Moore and AMNH Science Research Mentoring Program student mentees identify the current gaps in knowledge relating to ecosystem properties and functions and provide additional impetus for the study of community and ecosystem ecology within these globally important ecosystems. 

February 7, 2020

New Publication: Lessons in Conservation: Conservation and Technology

Cover of the LINC 10 journal issue with diver

NCEP’s open-access journal Lessons in Conservation has a new issue out! Technologies are changing the way conservation is practiced—and students should be familiar with technologies—not only how to use them, but also whetherwhen, and where to use them, and how to manage the massive amounts of data they produce. The "Conservation and Technology" issue features exercises that familiarize students with these challenges. In addition to manipulating and analyzing real data, the exercises allow students to reflect and think critically about the remarkable potential and realistic limitations of these technologies.