Efficient resource allocations for species protection

Professor  Leah Gerber co-authored a paper published today by Science magazine titled “Endangered species recovery: A resource allocation problem” [PDF].

The article highlights a new decision-tool recently developed in partnership with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The tool will help inform USFWS on best funding allocations for more exponentially efficient endangered species recovery efforts.

Read the full story in ASU Now

Conservation Innovation Lab welcomes new postdoc

Headshot of postdoctoral fellow Gwen IaconaThe Conservation Innovation Lab is excited to welcome Gwen Iacona who will be spearheading two conservation investment decision tools for the corporate sector.


Dr. Iacona is an applied conservation scientist who uses quantitative and empirical approaches to understand how biodiversity outcomes can be improved by better decision making.

Her current work aims to improve endangered species recovery by better understanding the risks and costs associated with recovery planning.

Gwen specializes in using theoretical tools to study how the costs of conservation interventions influence the choice of actions and the resulting outcomes for conservation agencies.

She will be developing Endangered Species Act compliance tools for the Electric Power Research Institute and Monsanto.

Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management

Professor  Leah Gerber recently co-authored a paper titled “Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management for Social-Ecological System: Renewing the Focus in the United States withNext Generation Fishery Ecosystem Plan” published in Conservation Letters – a publication of the Society for Conservation Biology.  (PDF)


Resource managers and policy makers have long recognized the importance of considering fisheries in the context of ecosystems; yet, movement towards widespread Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management (EBFM) has been slow.

A conceptual reframing of fisheries management is occurring globally, which envisions fisheries as systems with interacting biophysical and human subsystems.

This broader view, along with a process for decision-making, can facilitate implementation of EBFM. A pathway to achieve these broadened objectives of EBFM in the United States is a Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP).

The first generation of FEPs was conceived in the late 1990s as voluntary guidance documents that Regional Fishery Management Councils could adopt to develop and guide their ecosystem-based fisheries management decisions, but few of these FEPs took concrete steps to implement EBFM.

Here, we emphasize the need for a new generation of FEPs that provide practical mechanisms for putting EBFM into practice in the United States.

We argue that next-generation FEPs can balance environmental, economic, and social objectives—the triple bottom line—to improve long-term planning for fishery systems.

SESYNC graduate student workshop

Graduate student Miranda Bernard at a SESYNC workshop doing a group activity with three other student attendees

Graduate student Miranda Bernard attended the Graduate Student Workshop on Socio-Environmental Synthesis at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, MD this winter. The annual workshop is designed to facilitate collaboration between graduate students from around the world who are interested in interdisciplinary research projects. Activities included seminars on science communication, proposal writing, and data integration, as well as small break-out sessions.

Photocourtesy of Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath

Ecosystem Services and Key Biodiversity Areas

SNAPP working group gathered around tableThe Science for Nature and People Partnership(SNAPP) working group on Ecosystem Services and Key Biodiversity Areas, co-led by Penny Langhammer and  Leah Gerber of the ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, hosted an international science workshop with the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas on November 7-10, 2017 in Quebec City, Canada.

The workshop brought together international and Canadian scientists, Canadian federal, provincial and territorial protected area and conservation agencies, experts in Aboriginal and community land-use planning, national and international non-governmental conservation experts and land stewardship experts.

Continue reading

Marine reserves connectivity and global warming

Rocky Reefs in the Midriff Island Region, Gulf of California, Mexico by Octavio Aburto.ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber and Faculty Associate Maria del Mar Mancha-Cisneros recently co-authored a publication led by Jorge Alvarez Romero and other conservation scientists around the world titled “Designing connected marine reserves in the face of global warming.”

Larval connectivity between marine reserves is instrumental in providing a healthy network of habitats for some of the world’s most protected species — including fish, which is the most traded food commodity in the world and primary source of income for fishing communities.

Continue reading

Congratulations, Mar Mancha!

Mar Mancha and Leah Gerber stand next to each other with graduation attire On December 11, 2017, Maria del Mar Mancha Cisneros graduated from the ASU School of Life Science’s Environmental Life Sciences PhD program.

Her doctoral research focuses in the use of fisheries management tools such as marine reserves (including their design and management) while incorporating institutional and governance considerations. She has done extensive research work using the Gulf of California (GOC), Mexico, as a study area. She is interested in the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods to unpack the social, economic, institutional, and ecological factors that are relevant for understanding the particular biophysical and socioeconomic contexts under which marine reserves are likely to be accepted by the community and thus effective at achieving their objectives.

Continue reading

New publications shed light on translational ecology

Two birds flying closely over sea water surfaceASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber co-authored two publications in the December 2017 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment aimed at cultivating a scientific community engaged in translational ecology. That is, as the authors define it, “a research approach that yields useful scientific outcomes through ongoing collaboration between scientists and stakeholders.”

Continue reading