What's New at the CBC?

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!

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


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