What's New at the CBC?

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!


December 21, 2021

New publication: Assessing human well-being constructs with environmental and equity aspects: A review of the landscape

What does published literature say about measuring human well-being, equity, and interrelationships between humans and the environment? In this paper published this week in People and Nature, CBC researchers and collaborators assess this literature, and make recommendations to help guide equitable sustainability policy.


December 21, 2021

New publication: The state of capacity development evaluation in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management

Training and education are key to biodiversity conservation projects, but how are these efforts evaluated? We undertook a review of capacity development evaluation projects to better understand who is doing this work, what they are evaluating, and how to help inform future efforts.

Dive deeper into the landscape of capacity development evaluation in the field of biodiversity conservation in Oryx's blog post on this paper. 


December 3, 2021

New publication: How should conservation be professionalized?

Greyscale Venn diagram with three circles showing intersecting groups that comprise the conservation sector operate at different scales

In this publication out this week in Oryx, the authors propose a more inclusive approach to professionalization in conservation that reflects the full range of practitioners in the sector, including increased recognition in countries of high biodiversity. They also provide recommendations for building a more effective, inclusive, and representative profession. CBC Chief Conservation Scientist Dr. Eleanor Sterling was a co-author on this paper.  


November 9, 2021

New publication: Using Case Studies to Improve the Critical Thinking Skills of Undergraduate Conservation Biology Students

Blue and red line graphs showing an increase in in test score with teacher intervention

New research by CBC Director Dr. Ana Luz Porzecanski and Jaffe Chief Conservation Scientist Dr. Eleanor Sterling, together with a team of collaborators, shows how combining case studies with guided reflection can lead to measurable gains in critical thinking skills for undergraduate students in conservation biology classes. Data from over 200 students from five institutions showed an increase in students’ critical thinking performance over a single term, under both light and intensive interventions.


November 6, 2021

Mapping the evidence on impacts of natural climate solutions on climate change mitigation

Natural Climate Solutions can potentially capture or avoid the emission of at least 11 Gt of CO2 equivalent per year. A team of researchers from the CBC (the US CEE Centre) and Conservation International are conducting an evidence-bases assessment of the links between Natural Climate Solutions and climate change mitigation outcomes using using systematic mapping. Learn more about this project and about our role as an an affiliated center with the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE).  


November 3, 2021

New publication: Hydroclimatological Patterns and Limnological Characteristics of Unique Wetland Systems on the Argentine High Andean Plateau

Pink flamingos in foreground with snow-capped Andes mountains in background

A team of researchers, including CBC Associate Director Dr. Felicity Arengo, describe hydroclimatological, geochemical, and limnological features of wetlands in Argentina's High Andean Plateau, out this month in Hydrology. 


October 28, 2021

New publication: Centering Equity in Sustainable Food Systems Education

The CBC, in collaboration with other members of the Teaching Food Systems Community of Practice, recently published a paper aimed at providing guidance and examples for sustainable food system educators who want to center equity in their pedagogy.


October 25, 2021

New publication: The evolution of tinamous (Palaeognathae: Tinamidae) in light of molecular and combined analyses

Drawing of a brown bird that resembles a pheasant
Enrique Guanuco

A detailed phylogenetic analysis and divergence-date estimation including a significant number of tinamou species, both extant and fossil, was published this month in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean SocietyThis publication represents great collaboration by colleagues in Argentina and the Museum, including CBC Director Dr. Ana Luz Porzecanski and Curator-in-Charge of the Department of Ornithology, Dr. Joel Cracraft. 


October 24, 2021

New publication: Assessment of climate change impacts on one of the rarest apes on Earth, the Cao Vit Gibbon Nomascus nasutus

What impacts will climate change have on one of the rarest apes on Earth, the Cao Vit Gibbon (Nomascus nasutus)? In this study published this month in Frontiers in Biogeography, director of bioinformatics research Dr. Mary Blair and partners in Vietnam and China use species distribution modeling to predict suitable habitat for N. nasutus under a range of future climate scenarios. 


October 5-8, 2021

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

The 12th annual Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York (SCCS-NY) was held entirely virtually this year. Nearly 200 attendees from 27 countries participated in the online conference. To learn more about the SCCS-NY, visit: amnh.org/sccsny


October 2, 2021

New publication: Forest and landscape restoration monitoring frameworks: how principled are they?

Out this month in Restoration Ecology, a team of scientists including Jaffe chief conservation scientist Dr. Eleanor Sterling examined if and to what extent the principles of forest and landscape restoration (FLR) monitoring and their interdependencies are captured in frameworks currently used to monitor FLR. They found that no FLR monitoring frameworks currently exist for understanding and operationalizing all six FLR principles, and integrating the interconnected processes underpinning FLR planning, monitoring, and assessment. 


September 29, 2021

New publication: Limited Progress in Improving Gender and Geographic Representation in Coral Reef Science

Colorful graph representing geographic representation in coral reef science from 2003 to 2046
Brooke Hirsheimer

A team of scientists, including CBC biodiversity scientist Dr. Samantha Cheng, examined gender and geographic representation in coral reef science over the past 16 years in this new paper published in Frontiers in Marine Science. Their results show that local scientists from countries with some of the greatest extent of coral reefs, and with intimate knowledge of their reef systems, need to be better included and represented in research outputs. The authors also offer solutions to combat biases, stereotypes, and inequities in coral reef research. 


September 5, 2021

New publication: Location probing by males complicates sexual dynamics and successful mate-guarding in squid groups

Bigfin reef squid swims through underwater plant life.
Courtesy of Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons

Bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) appear to scout out nesting sites and intimidate rivals when pursuing a mate, according to a new study out this month in the journal Ecology. CBC biodiversity scientist Dr. Samantha Cheng, a co-author on this paper, thinks that this "probing behavior" could be a type of mate-guarding, a mating strategy in which males attempt to prevent a mate’s eggs from becoming fertilized by a rival. 


September 2, 2021

New publication: The role of Indigenous peoples and local communities in effective and equitable conservation

CBC Chief Conservation Scientist Dr. Eleanor Sterling was a co-author on this systematic review and narrative synthesis of 169 publications investigating how different forms of governance, particularly the role of Indigenous peoples and local communities, influence conservation outcomes. The review's findings suggest that primary pathway to effective, long-term conservation lies in empowering and supporting the environmental stewardship of Indigenous peoples and local communities.


August 18, 2021

Updated NCEP publication: Observed Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity 

Bleached white coral in a sea of blue
The Ocean Agency / Ocean Image Bank

Updated with 2021 data, NCEP's open-access module includes a synthesis and presentation that reviews case studies from the primary scientific literature on the observed effects of climate change on biodiversity and an exercise that has participants explore the communication and interpretation of climate change science through role-playing as climate scientists or journalists.


July 29, 2021

New publication: Trace metals and metalloids in Andean flamingos (Phoenicoparrus andinus) and Puna flamingos (P. jamesi) at two wetlands with different risk of exposure in the Bolivian Altiplano

Pink flamingos caring for their fluffy grey chicks.
© O. Rocha

BIOTA scientists with co-author Dr. Felicity Arengo have established benchmarks for trace metal bioaccumulation in Andean and Puna flamingos. Found in Bolivia's high altitude wetlands, both flamingo species had similar concentrations of trace metals, suggesting similar capacities of bioaccumulating. Trace metals in flamingo chicks were different than adults, likely showing exposure at the local breeding site.


July 2021

NCEP Conservation Teaching and Learning Studio: Learning and Creating Collaboratively

Zoom screens of all the NCEP Studio 2021 participants

In July 2021, we held our 8th annual NCEP Conservation Teaching and Learning Studio in a virtual format. Over the course of four weeks, Studio participants explored evidence-based tools and approaches of relevance to their own teaching practice, and then applied these tools and techniques to the collaborative creation of active learning experiences for their own classrooms.


July 16, 2021

New publication: Karst as an abiotic driver of François’ langur distribution, with predictions for biological communities on karst under climate change

The CBC's Biodiversity Informatics team uses ecological niche models (ENMs) to help inform conservation efforts by projecting changes in species’ distributions under climate change. In this study out in Frontiers of Biogeography, the team and partners built ENMs for a group of leaf monkeys adapted to limestone karst forests. Their results underscore the importance of considering abiotic factors beyond climate in projections of suitable habitat under climate change for species in complex landscapes. 


April 21, 2021

New publication: Sea turtles across the North Pacific are exposed to perfluoroalkyl substances

Three researchers holding a sea turtle from a boat
© C. King

A team of researchers led by Hawai’i Pacific University's Center for Marine Debris Research led a study assessing perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) concentrations in green and hawksbill turtles from the North Pacific. They found that PFASs levels in sea turtles were correlated with human population and land use, and that the chemicals were maternally transferred to hawksbill eggs. CBC Chief Conservation Scientist Dr. Eleanor Sterling was a co-author on this paper. 


April 16, 2021

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

scales-modified-cbc-1400-940

Our paper published in the journal Sustainability Science was selected for the 2020 Sustainability Science Best Paper AwardsThis paper examined 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. This 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. 


April 1, 2021

Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice in Nature, Ecology and Conservation

A team of scholars led by the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation has launched a crowdsourced document with resources encompassing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) in the context of the environmental movement, including nature, ecology, and conservation (NEC).


March 24, 2021

Call for Applications: NCEP's 2021 Conservation Teaching and Learning Studio

Through interactive online meetings and assignments over the course of four weeks in June, educators will learn about effective tools and approaches from facilitators and peers, discuss challenges, and create plans to apply these techniques to their own teaching. The 2021 Studio will cover the basics of active learning and evidence-based teaching, with a focus on online teaching, but the Studio theme will be adjusted based on the priorities of the selected applicants. Educators of undergraduate or adult students are encouraged to apply online.


March 17, 2021

New publication: Climate change threatens the conservation of one of the world's most endangered transboundary tree species: Magnolia grandis

The CBC's biodiversity informatics team collaborated with partners in Vietnam to publish important results on how climate change threatens the conservation of one of the world’s most endangered transboundary tree species: Magnolia grandis. 


March 1, 2021

SCCS-NY 2021: Call for Applications

Applications to present a talk, speed talk, or poster at the hybrid 2021 Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York (SCCS-NY) are now being accepted through April 16, 2021. Visit the SCCS-NY website for more information on the application and registration process. 


March 1, 2021

New publication: Preparing conservation practitioners for the Anthropocene

What professional competencies do conservation practitioners need to address the challenges in conservation today? In this collaborative effort published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the authors emphasize the importance of developing leadership capacity that is socially aware, scientifically diverse, and cross-culturally proficient. CBC scientist Dr. Sam Cheng was a co-author on this publication.


January 28, 2021

Indicators of Well-being webinar series: New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority Mātauranga Framework

The Indicators of Well-being webinar series provides 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. The January 2021 webinar focused on well-being and multiple evidence-based decision making via the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority’s Mātauranga Framework.


January 25, 2021

New publication: Lessons in Conservation, Volume 11: Systems Thinking Issue

Red radishes with green leafy tops comprise the cover shot of the journal

NCEP’s open-access journal Lessons in Conservation has a new issue out! The "Systems Thinking" issue features a suite of materials designed to foster systems thinking in students. These resources provide a valuable introduction to systems thinking, both as a way of seeing the world, and a specific set of tools. Through exercises, the materials in this issue also promote engagement with the complexity of biodiversity conservation problems.


January 21, 2021

Save-the-date: the 12th annual Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York (SCCS-NY) will be held October 5-8, 2021!


January 11, 2021

New Publication: A global review of the impact of forest property rights interventions on poverty

This review of the impact of property rights interventions on poverty in forest landscapes assesses evidence from 91 case studies across 24 countries around the world. While the evidence base has grown over the past few decades, most studied the impacts of rights to access or withdraw forest resources – with relatively less study effort on more extensive property rights (e.g. exclusion and alienation) that are associated with greater resource security. Most studies reported improvements or mixed impacts – signifying that the impacts of property rights interventions are often heterogenous across populations. This review is part of a wider evidence synthesis project on the links between forests and poverty led by the Program on Forests at the World Bank. CBC scientist Dr. Sam Cheng was a co-author on this paper. Learn more about Dr. Cheng's work and the CBC's Evidence Initiative