Congratulations Olivia!

Conservation Innovation Lab Graduate Student, Olivia Davis, recently won not one but two prestigious service awards! Olivia was honored with the Arijit Guha Advocacy Award and the Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA) Service Award. The Arijit Guha Award recognizes Olivia’s commitment and service to mental health advocacy on behalf of the graduate student population. The GPSA Award recognizes Olivia’s overall commitment to service. Olivia has provided service as an E-board member to the School of Life Sciences, worked as a service member of the Roots & Shoots Chapter at ASU, hosted Coffee & Conversations (a venue for graduate students to discuss a variety of challenges and successes they face), and has taken on many additional service roles to better the lives and experiences of ASU students.
Congratulations Olivia!

New publication on actionable science

Landscape photo of a wetland with flowers on a sunny dayLed by Dr. Candice Carr Kelman, members of the Conservation Innovation Lab and Center for Biodiversity Outcomes published, Five approaches to producing actionable science in conservation. Through interviews with 71 conservation scientists who participated in fellowships focused on training scientists to be agents of change, they identified 16 activities researchers employ to make their science more actionable. From these activities they identified five approaches: the discloser (focused on open access), the educator (focused on science communication), the networker (focused on user needs and building relationships), the collaborator (focused on boundary spanning), and the pluralist (focused on knowledge coproduction resulting in valuable outcomes for all parties).

Graduate students and mental health

This week, Olivia Davis participated in ASU’s Inclusion Summit to discuss mental health with graduate students. It is well documented that mental health is a challenge in the graduate student community, and it is so important to draw attention this issue and create an opportunity for open dialogue. Thank you for your service to our community Olivia! 

Congratulations Elisa


Congratulations to Elisa Olofsson on successfully defending her thesis, titled “Protecting Natural Biodiversity With National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans: Analyzing Stakeholders.” Amazing work!

New publication: Conservation awareness through social media

Today social media has emerged as a powerful tool to inspire younger generations to value conservation. In Conservation awareness through social media, Dr. Leah Gerber and recent graduates of the Conservation Innovation lab, sought to understand the role of social media in Generation Z’s awareness of conservation issues to if social media spurs any pro-environmental behavior change related to conservation amongst Generation Z. Through surveys of ASU students, they found that social media and online news sources are an important source of conservation information for many. Their results suggest the strong potential of social media for communicating science and conservation issues to young people.

New publication: The complexity of the conservation-development nexus in Central African national parks and the perceptions of local populations

Photo by Pierre Jamar

Dr. Simon Lhoest, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Conservation Innovation Lab, recently co-authored the article “The complexity of the conservation-development nexus in Central African national parks and the perceptions of local populations”, published in the Journal for Nature Conservation.

Focusing on Rwanda and the Republic of Congo, this study identified the key determinants of conservation perceptions in order to implement successful local and regional conservation strategies. To ensure sound conservation and development measures, revenue-sharing schemes focusing on material benefits and alternative livelihoods may provide the best approach if participation of communities in the decision-making process is ensured. Improving education levels will concomitantly raise awareness and positive perceptions of conservation measures. In depth research on local demands for ecosystem products, relationships among stakeholders and community decision power are crucial factors to understand the complexity of
the conservation-development nexus.

New publication: An investment strategy to address biodiversity loss from agricultural expansion

Members of the Conservation Innovation Lab, led by PhD student Camila Guerrero-Pineda, recently published “An investment strategy to address biodiversity loss from agricultural expansion”, in Nature Sustainability.

Focusing in Colombia, the study presents a methodology to maximize the biodiversity benefits from limited conservation funding while ensuring that landowners maintain economic returns equivalent to agriculture. This approach can be applied to other contexts to examine development and policy priorities to estimate financial needs for achieving biodiversity goals.

Lisa Dent Memorial Fellowship

Erin Murphy was this year’s recipient of the Lisa Dent Memorial Fellowship. This fellowship was established to honor the life and work of Lisa Dent, an inspiring and talented graduate of ASU, who made significant contributions to the field of ecology. Each year, it is awarded to one exceptional women Ph.D. student, studying ecology in the ASU School of Life Sciences.

Congratulations on this honor, Erin!

New publication: The Present and Future Status of Ecosystem Services for Coral Reefs

Members of the Conservation Innovation Lab, led by Assistant Research Professor Katie Cramer, published The present and future status of ecosystem services for coral reefs in Elsevier, as part of Imperiled: The Encyclopedia of Conservation. 

Coral reef ecosystems are among the most imperiled globally from human impacts. Although the ecological and socioeconomic importance of coral reefs has been relatively well-documented, the impacts of coral reef degradation on ecosystem service provisioning are less known. In this manuscript, we review the range of ecosystem services currently provided by reefs (provisioning, regulating, and cultural), the human activities that threaten these services, and the future prospects of reef ecosystem services given the projected combined effects of local human disturbances and climate change. We then propose promising policy and management interventions to promote the maintenance of key coral reef ecosystem services into the future.

New publication: Integrating animal behavior into ecosystem services

Members of the Conservation Innovation Lab, led by PhD candidate Katie Surrey, recently published “Refining the Ecosystems Services Model: Integrating Animal Behavior into Ecotourism Management”, in Elsevier, as part of Imperiled: The Encyclopedia of Conservation. The paper presents a framework for considering animal behavior as a variable when assessing ecosystem service values, and highlights the increased need for more thorough understanding of the current wildlife-based ecotourism models and how they might become better adapted into the future.

Access the full manuscript here!

Congratulations to our new MSc graduates!

Congratulations to Kesha Cummings and Infynity Hill who are graduating with their Masters in Biology! Kesha’s applied project was based on her fellowship position with the Phoenix Zoo and focused on camera trap fieldwork and analysis for riparian sites within the Verde Valley. Kesha currently works in the energy industry and plans to use her experience to support and assist corporate compliance with federal wildlife laws and advocate for policy that protects and conserves natural resources and wildlife.

Infynity aimed to better understand plastic use and management by the American public. Using a nation-wide survey she explored how much plastic people by and how they dispose of various projects. Infynity currently runs her own second-hand store Infynitethreads and hopes to follow her passion for teaching moving forward!

New publication: Graduate student perspectives on transforming academia

In partnership with students from around the nation, Ph.D. candidate Olivia Davis recently published, Graduate Student Perspectives on Transforming Academia, in Conservation Science and Practice.

As the scale and complexity of socio-environmental problems has grown, there has been a renewed debate about the role that academic institutions should play in developing solutions and how institutional structures should be redesigned to encourage greater interdisciplinarity. This paper (1) presents a graduate student perspective on this debate, (2) identifies challenges facing interdisciplinary graduate student researchers, (3) suggests ways for institutions to better prepare graduate students to be the next generation of leaders in this arena, and (4) outlines models for transformational change that will ensure research is focused on solving socio-environmental problems.

This work emerged from her participation in a Beyond the Academy workshop hosted at UCLA in January 2020.

The value of information for biological evaluations of pesticides possible impacts on listed endangered species

Check out our new manuscript from members of the Conservation Innovation Lab and the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, The value of increased spatial resolution of pesticide usage data for assessing risk to endangered species!

The EPA is responsible for registering pesticides before they can be sold and regularly reviewing pesticides. As part of this process, they must consider the risk pesticides pose to species protected by the Endangered Species Act. In this recently published paper, we explored the value of high resolution pesticide usage data for increasing the efficiency and transparency of the biological evaluation process.

This research was funded by Bayer.