What's New at the CBC?

June 4, 2024

Humpback whale breeching out of the dark blue water, blue sky background and water splashing all around the whale.
Nina Moysi

The CBC's Spring 2024 Progress Update is now available for download. 

April 21, 2024

New publication: Overcoming challenges to extracting and sequencing historical DNA to support primate evolutionary research and conservation, with an application to Galagos

In this study, the authors compared two DNA extraction methods to recover DNA from historical museum specimens of small nocturnal primates known as lorisiforms. This research not only helped fill geographic and taxonomic gaps in primate evolutionary research, it also highlights the potential of museomics to advance our understanding of primate ecology and conservation. 

March 22, 2024

New publication: Conservation Museomics

Learn more about conservation museomics, a growing subfield of conservation science! In this article published in Conservation Biology, CBC's Director of Biodiversity Informatics Research Dr. Mary E. Blair shares how a conservation museomics approach leverages natural history collections to tackle key challenges for conservation science.

March 11, 2024

A group of workshop participants pose smiling for the camera in front of a white board in a classroom.

The CBC played a key role in two workshops held in Colombia this month: 

  • On March 6th and 7th, co-organized by the CBC, INVEMAR, and Instituto Humboldt, experts gathered at INVEMAR headquarters in Santa Marta. They collaborated to refine species distribution models for marine life using Wallace EcoMod and BioModelos software. This collaborative effort not only produced valuable insights but also established a strong foundation for continued collaboration.
  • On March 11th, the CBC co-led a workshop at the V Colombian Congress of Mammalogy in Yopal, Casanare, introducing participants to Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) and the Wallace EcoMod platform for mapping potential distributions of Neotropical mammals.

These workshops highlight our commitment to fostering collaboration and equipping scientists through leveraging open-source software to support Colombian biodiversity conservation efforts.

February 12, 2024

New publication: The influence of scale-dependent geodiversity on species distribution models in a biodiversity hotspot

The Philosophical Transactions A issue on ‘Geodiversity science for society’ features a new publication by CBC scientist Dr. Mary Blair and colleagues that highlights how incorporating metrics of geodiversity, or how topographically complex a place is, can improve species distribution model performance and therefore its predictions, making these methods even more useful for spatial conservation planning and priority setting. 

January 9, 2024

New publication: Lessons in Conservation, Volume 13: Monitoring and Modeling

Close up photo of a black ant walking on a peony leaf, surrounded by droplets of water

Under the umbrella of a Monitoring and Modeling theme, this issue features five student-facing educational resources that support learners to contribute to the scientific process, collect data, and analyze and model existing datasets in the same ways that some communities and scientists do as part of conservation research. 

January 3, 2024

DotDotGoose program window showing green and red dots superimposed on white geese.

We've just released version 1.7.0 of DotDotGoose! DotDotGoose is a free, open source tool to assist with manually counting objects in images.

November 30, 2023

New publication: Exploring the relationship between plural values of nature, human well-being, and conservation and development intervention: Why it matters and how to do it?

green and white map of the world showing geographic location, aims and methods applied for the seven empirical studies.

In 2021, CBC researchers examined what constitutes a "good life," reviewing literature on human well-being frameworks that consider equity and interrelationships between humans and the environment. These findings are now integrated into a synthesis published in the British Ecological Society's People and Nature journal about the many values people have for the natural world. Understanding these values is central to building just and sustainable futures. 

October 25, 2023

New publication: Assessing evidence on the impacts of nature-based interventions for climate change mitigation: a systematic map of primary and secondary research from subtropical and tropical terrestrial regions 

Green and yellow circles depicting the interaction between climate change focus on x axis and focus on y axis

Nature-Based Interventions (NBIs) for climate change mitigation are crucial for meeting climate goals. A new evidence map developed by the CBC and our partners is the first systematic look at the state of the evidence base on NBIs to guide research and support implementation at scale. 

October 17, 2023

Cover of the Fall 2023 CBC Progress Update featuring a close-up photo of a turtle.

The CBC's Fall 2023 Progress Update is now available for download. 

October 4-6, 2023

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

Nyeema Harris stands on stage during her plenary with the slide showing a confrontation between two lions.
M. Shanley / AMNH

The 14th annual Student Conference on Conservation Science—New York (SCCS-NY) convened nearly 200 participants from 21 countries at the first fully on-site student conference in four years. Virtual attendance was supported by live-watch parties of presentations, interactive Q&A sessions, and virtual workshops and mentoring sessions. To learn more about the SCCS-NY, visit: amnh.org/sccsny

July 5, 2023

New publication: Exploring Changes in Foodscapes in Western Province, Solomon Islands

Closeup on the hands of several people as they dig into the soil surrounding some plants.
©J. McCarter for CBC

Food connects people and place, and weaves together issues of resource use, culture, and sovereignty. As part of a multi-year effort to support land- and seascapes in the Solomon Islands, CBC and collaborators share how Indigenous knowledge and practice, along with access to land, builds essential resilience to environmental and economic shocks.

May 22, 2023

Brown loris with large, expressive eyes sits partially covered by bright green leaves.

The Spring 2023 CBC Progress Report is now available for download. 

April 1, 2023

From the field: CBC Associate Director Dr. Felicity Arengo 

Numerous flamingos wade in shallow water in the foreground, with large mountain range in the distance - one mountain peak is snowcapped.
Felicity Arengo / CBC

Dr. Arengo with colleagues from Argentina conducted a field expedition to the wetlands of the high Andean plateau in an ongoing effort to monitor flamingo and other waterbird populations in these unique high altitude landscapes. The team surveyed 10 wetland sites in Catamarca province and found 14,000 adult Puna flamingos, 1,000 active nests, and 500 chicks at Laguna Grande. Nearby, in the Salar del Hombre Muerto basin, lithium mining has taken off. Eight new mining projects here are poised to increase production by an order of magnitude over what has been extracted from the salt flats since 1998. Global demand for lithium has skyrocketed to supply batteries required for the energy transition to renewable sources. The team is working on monitoring the impacts of brine & freshwater extraction from mining on these wetlands that support unique biodiversity & human livelihoods.

March 3, 2023

New species: the Northern pygmy loris

A pygmy loris, Xanthonycticebus intermedius, hanging onto a branch and surrounded by leaves.
The newly described species of pygmy loris, Xanthonycticebus intermedius, is found in northern Vietnam, Laos, and China. 
Mary Blair/© AMNH

Led by Dr. Mary Blair, the CBC's Director for Biodiversity Informatics Research, researchers have used museum collections to identify a new species: the Northern pygmy loris! The Northern pygmy loris has a shorter muzzle and longer fur than its souther cousin, and can be found in northern Vietnam, Laos, and southern China. Pygmy lorises are globally threatened with extinction due to high demand for illegal wildlife trade. Genetic analysis allows museum scientists to unlock hidden information stored inside historical collections to help conserve these endangered species.

March 1, 2023

The call for applications to present a talk, speed talk, or poster at the Student Conference on Conservation Science–New York (SCCS–NY) is open March 1 through April 1, 2023. Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, or early-career professionals pursuing or considering the field of conservation are encouraged to present their work. Undergraduate students conducting thesis-level research may also apply. 

February 20, 2023

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation is deeply saddened to share the passing of Dr. Eleanor J. Sterling. A brilliant and creative mind, a tireless and visionary collaborator, a champion for equity and inclusion, a devoted mentor, and a beloved colleague and friend, Eleanor was a trail-blazing conservationist and an innovative and prolific scientist of global influence. She worked to advance conservation through teaching and mentoring, research, on-the-ground conservation, public outreach, and policy. She changed the minds and lives of staff, interns, students, and partners around the world—and of all who knew her. She will be deeply, deeply missed but will continue to inspire us, always.

February 6, 2023

Congratulations to Dr. Eleanor Sterling, CBC Jaffe Chief Conservation Scientist Emerita, recipient of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Fred M. Packard International Parks Merit Award! The award is in recognition of Dr. Sterling's extraordinary contributions to conservation in protected areas around the world.

January 31, 2023

Screen view of the software program dotdotgoose

We've just released version 1.6.0 of DotDotGoose! DotDotGoose is a free, open source tool to assist with manually counting objects in images. New features include:

  • Translations for Chinese, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese
  • Undo and redo capabilities
  • Export image display area (image, points, grid) to new jpg
  • Dirty data check on close to prevent loss of unsaved changes
  • Export point coordinates as geographic coordinates
  • Certificate signed Windows binary to help prevent false positives from virus/malware scanners
  • Support for INTEL - Big Sur (11.0) Monterey (12.0) Ventura (13.0)
  • Support for ARM - Monterey (12.0) Ventura (13.0)

December 22, 2022

New publication: Lessons in Conservation, Volume 12: The Network Issue

A grouping of small white mushrooms growing from a bed of pine needles

NCEP’s open-access journal Lessons in Conservation has a new issue out! The "Systems Thinking" issue features a suite of materials created by NCEP Studio participants, including case studies on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and exercises engaging with issues of human-wildlife coexistence through mapping and stakeholder role-play. Indicative of the times, these materials include recommendations for implementation in both in-person and online classroom settings, and instructor guidance, solutions, and notes are available for download by registered educators. 

December 19, 2022

New publication: changeRangeR: An R package for reproducible biodiversity change metrics from species distribution estimates

Out today in Conservation Science and Practice, CBC visiting scientist Pete Galante, Biodiversity Informatics Research Director Mary Blair, and colleagues have published a new R package. changeRangeR translates species’ current distributions into meaningful conservation metrics in repeatable and transparent ways. changeRangeR package development was funded by the NASA ROSES award No. 80NSSCK0406 to collaboratively improve the utility of the Colombia BON-in-a-Box toolkit as well as build capacity for conservation practitioners and educators. 

November 7, 2022

The cover page of the Progress Report featuring white reindeer with large antlers in front of a bright blue sky

The Fall 2022 CBC Progress Report is now available for download. 

October 26, 2022

New publications: Cultural Ecosystem Services in Estuary Stewardship and Management

The CBC and partners published two reports on work we are doing with local stewards of estuarine systems in Alaska and Hawai’i: a White Paper on Expanding and Deepening the Application of Cultural Ecosystem Services in Estuary Stewardship and Management, and a Methods Pilot Summary that outlines lessons learned during a small exchange and exploration with members of the Heʻeia and Kachemak Bay Reserves. The work we, and many others, are doing is part of a global reframing in how we value nature and how we can measure that value so that we can better factor it into our decision-making across scales. 

October 3-7, 2022

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

The 13th annual Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York (SCCS-NY) was held both virtually and in person at the Museum this year. Nearly 200 attendees from 47 countries participated in the online conference. To learn more about the SCCS-NY, visit: amnh.org/sccsny

July 13, 2022

New Publication: Human-Wildlife Conflict: Assessing the Complexity of Stakeholder Perspectives

Jaguar perched on a log drinks from a reflective body of water
Tambako/Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]

NCEP's newest module is a collection of case study-based exercises (including remote learning adaptations) about a fictional community facing conflict related to living with carnivores. The activities provide an opportunity for students to explore diverse stakeholder perspectives on living with wildlife, predator conservation, and how interests, values, and needs might vary within a community.

June 30, 2022

NCEP Studio: The Nuts and Bolts of Active Teaching

Name of the NCEP Studio with artistic renderings of a nut and a bolt on a dark green-blue background

In June 2022, we held our 9th annual NCEP Conservation Teaching and Learning Studio in a virtual format. Over the course of two weeks, conservation educators engaged with the principles of evidence-based teaching and connected with a community of practice.

April 12, 2022

New publication: The arid Andean plateau waterscapes and the lithium triangle: flamingos as flagships for conservation of high-altitude wetlands under pressure from mining development

Pink flamingos with their grey chicks on a sandy grey wetland, with other flamingos in the distant background
F. Arengo

Out today in Wetlands Ecology & Management, this paper highlights a complex conservation issue facing the wetlands of the high Andean plateau: the region's unique biodiversity and ecosystems are now confronted with an unprecedented level of lithium mining used for rechargeable batteries. This research brings attention to the social and environmental impacts of mining, identifies knowledge gaps relevant to conservation, management, and wise use of these wetlands and their resources. CBC's Dr. Felicity Arengo was a co-author on this paper. 

March 30, 2022

Collaboration with Colombia’s Humboldt Institute

The American Museum of Natural History signed a memorandum of understanding with Colombia's Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute to collaborate on a project to monitor and conserve biodiversity. This NASA-funded grant will incorporate a satellite-data-based biodiversity monitoring system into Colombian conservation practices, in an effort to meet and maintain Colombia's biodiversity conservation targets. The grant builds on a current NASA-funded Museum project with the Colombia Biodiversity Observation Network to expand tools to measure and model wildlife biodiversity in the country.

March 2, 2022

New publication: Transboundary Conservation Under Climate Change - Special Issue

Cover of the journal featuring an orange and black lizard sitting on a piece of wood

Out this week, Frontiers of Biogeography's Special Issue on transboundary conservation under climate change was compiled by CBC Director of Biodiversity Informatics Research Mary Blair, with collaborators Minh D. Le and Ming Xu. 

March 1, 2022

SCCS-NY 2021: Call for Applications

Blue background with the big blue whale illustration announcing the conference dates for 2022

Applications to present a talk, speed talk, or poster at the hybrid 2022 Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York (SCCS-NY) are now being accepted through April 15, 2022. Visit the SCCS-NY website for more information on the application and registration process. 

January 13, 2022

Word cloud generated by responses from webinar participants, the most common words are nature, family, and colleagues

Our NCEP team hosted a webinar for educators who have attended past Conservation Teaching and Learning Studios. We exchanged challenges and tips for research and teaching in Covid times, shared new educational resources and updates, and brainstormed ideas for the new semester. 

January 12, 2022

News article: Inside the simple counting software that makes biologists’ jobs a little easier

DotDotGoose, our open-source software for counting objects in images, was featured in Popular Science

January 6, 2022

DotDotGoose interface

New year, new release! DotDotGoose 1.5.3 is available for download. The new release includes a minor bug fix and added support for Apple M1 (arm64) architecture. Happy counting!