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Award Abstract #1243524

PIRE: Mapping Evolutionary Process in the Face of Climate Change: An Integrated Approach to Education and Conservation Prioritization in Central Africa

Office Of Internatl Science &Engineering
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Initial Amendment Date: September 20, 2012
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Latest Amendment Date: September 22, 2015
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Award Number: 1243524
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Award Instrument: Continuing grant
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Program Manager: Lara Campbell
OISE Office Of Internatl Science &Engineering
O/D Office Of The Director
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Start Date: January 1, 2013
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End Date: December 31, 2017 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $4,950,000.00
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Investigator(s): Thomas Smith tbsmith@ucla.edu (Principal Investigator)
Nicola Anthony (Co-Principal Investigator)
Mary Katherine Gonder (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of California-Los Angeles
11000 Kinross Avenue, Suite 211
LOS ANGELES, CA 90095-2000 (310)794-0102
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NSF Program(s): PIRE
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Program Reference Code(s): 5936, 5946, 7383, 7448, 7742, 5918, 5948, 7566, 7298
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Program Element Code(s): 7742


The overarching research goal of this project is to develop an integrated framework for conserving Central African biodiversity under climate change that is both evolutionarily-informed and grounded in the socioeconomic constraints of the region. Central African rainforests represent one of the most important centers of biological diversity in the world. While efforts have been made to prioritize regions for protection, habitat loss continues at an alarming rate severely limiting the ability of species to respond to climate change. This project unites researchers and students from the U.S., Cameroon, Gabon, United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands around an innovative research program that seeks to identify meaningful conservation measures to mitigate the effects of habitat loss and climate change. The international team will use multi-disciplinary approaches to: 1) map environmentally-associated genomic and phenotypic variation in a broad range of species and assess how this overlaps with patterns of species richness and protected areas; 2) evaluate how evolutionary adaptation, phenotypic plasticity and landscape connectivity might mediate future threats; and 3) develop an integrated prioritization scheme that ranks candidate areas for protection on their evolutionary potential, connectivity, estimated socioeconomic costs, degree of threat and cultural value.

This project involves a broad range of partnerships between U.S., European and African universities, non-governmental organization and governmental agencies. Planned educational activities will promote scientific collaboration and exchange between partners through: 1) undergraduate and graduate educational programs that will partner U.S. and African students and provide cutting-edge training in the biological, environmental and social sciences; 2) annual professional development workshops for early career U.S. and African scientists and advanced graduate students; 3) region-wide research symposia and scientific exchange; 4) bilingual distance-learning programs; and 5) outreach to decision makers through policy workshops. This integrative program aligns well with NSF's Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) program objectives in developing a workforce of globally engaged young investigators whose coordinated efforts will focus on sustainability science and education. These joint international research and educational efforts will enhance existing collaborations and establish new partnerships that will build a foundation for lasting conservation and sustainability in Central Africa. The project is funded by NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE).


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Mitchell, M.W., B.P. Rowe, P. Sesink Clee, M.K. Gonder. "The TESS Ad-MIXER: A novel method for the graphical display of the TESS Q matrix," Conservation Genetics Resources, 2013. 

Fuller T, Havers F, Xu C, Fang LQ, Cao WC, Shu Y, Widdowson MA, Smith TB. "Identifying areas with a high risk of human infection with the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in East Asia," J Infect, 2014, p. PMID: 246. 

Larison B, Njabo KY, Chasar A, Fuller T, Harrigan RJ, Smith TB. "Spillover of pH1N1 to swine in Cameroon: an investigation of risk factors," BMC Vet Res, 2014, p. PMID: 245. 

Harrigan RJ, Thomassen HA, Buermann W, Smith TB. "A continental risk assessment of West Nile virus under climate change," Glob Chang Biol, 2014, p. PMID: 245. 

Anthony N.M., Abernethy K.A., Atteke. C., Bruford M.W., Dallmeier F., Freedman A.H., Hardy O., Ibrahim B., Jeffery K.A., Johnson M., Lahm S., Mboumba J-F., Ntie S., Smith T.B., Sullivan J.P., Verheyen E. and Gonder M.K. "Evolution and Conservation of Central African biodiversity: Priorities for Future Research and Education," Biotropica, 2015. 

Bonneaud C, Marnocha E, Herrel A, Vanhooydonck B, Irshick DJ, Smith TB. "Developmental plasticity affects sexual size dimorphism in an anole lizard," Functional Ecology, 2015. 

Carroll SP, Jorgensen PS, Kinnison MT, Bergstrom CT, Denison RF, Tabashnik BE, Gluckman P, Strauss SY, Smith TB. "Applying evolutionary biology to address global challenges," Science, 2014. 

Chapman CA, Deluycker A, Reyna-Hurtado RA, Serio-Silva JC, Smith TB, Strier KB, Goldberg TL. "Safeguarding biodiversity: what is perceived as working according to the conservation community.," Oryx, 2014. 

Chasar AT, Harrigan RJ, Holbrook KM, Dietsch TV, Fuller TL, Wikelski M, Smith TB. "Spatial and temporal patterns of frugivorous hornbill movements in Central Africa and their implications for rain forest conservation.," Biotropica, v.46, 2014, p. 763.

Cronin DT, Libalah MB, Bergl RA, Hearn GW. "Biodiversity and conservation of tropical montane ecosystems in the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa," Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 2014. 

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