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).
PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH
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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.
Fuller TL, Ducatez MF, Njabo KY, Couacy-Hymann E, Chasar T, Aplogan GL, Lao S, Awoume F, Tehou A, Langeois Q, Krauss S, Smith TB Avian influenza surveillance in Central and West Africa, 2010-2014. "Avian influenza surveillance in Central and West Africa, 2010-2014," Epidemiology and Infection, 2014.
Harrigan RJ, Sedan R, Chasar AC, Chaves J, Nguyen JT, Whitaker A, Smith TB. "New host and lineage diversity of avian haemosporidia in the Northern Andes," Evolutionary Applications, 2014.
Lamperti AM, French AR, Dierenfeld ES, Fogiel MK, Whitney KD, Stauffer DJ, Holbrook KM, Hardesty BD, Clark CJ, Poulsen JR, Wang B, Smith TB, Parker VT. "Diet selection is related to breeding status in two frugivorous hornbills of Central Africa," Journal of Tropical Ecology, v.30, 2015, p. 273.
Larison BL, Harrigan RJ, Thomassen H, Rubenstein DI, Chan-Golston A, Li E, Smith TB. "How the zebra got its stripes: A problem with too many solutions.," Royal Society Open Science, 2015.
Lauron EJ, Loiseau C, Bowie RCK, Spicer GS, Smith TB, Melo M, Sehgal RNM. "Coevolutionary patterns and diversification of avian malaria parasites in African sunbirds (Family Nectariniidae).," Parasitology, 2015.
Mitchell MW, Gonder MK. "Genetic Differences Between Chimpanzee Populations," eLS (Aug) John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, 2014.
MW Mitchell*, S Locatelli*, PR Sesink Clee, H Thomassen and MK Gonder. "Environmental variation and rivers govern the structure of chimpanzee genetic diversity in a biodiversity hotspot.," BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2015.
MW Mitchell, S Locatelli, L Ghobrial, A Pokempner, PR Sesink Clee, E Abwe, A Nicolas, L Nkemebe, N Anthony, B Morgan, R Fotso, M Peeters, B Hahn and MK Gonder. "The population genetics of wild chimpanzees in Cameroon and Nigeria suggests a positive role for selection in the evolution of chimpanzee subspecies.," BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2015.
Ribiero RD, McCormack J, Alvarez H, Carrasco L, Grether G, Mena P, Sedano R, Smith TB, Karubian J. "Loss of sexual dimporhism is associated with loss of lekking behavior in the green manakin," Journal of Avian Biology, 2015.
Ruegg K, Anderson E, Boone J, Pouls J, Smith TB. "A role for migration-linked genes and genomic islands in divergence of a songbird.," Molecular Ecology, 2014.
Ruegg KC, Anderson EC, Paxton KL, Apkenas V, Lao S, Siegal RB, DeSante DF, Moore F, Smith TB. "Mapping migration in a songbird using high-resolution genetic markers," Molecular Ecology, 2014.
Sesink Clee PR, E Abwe, RD Ambahe, N Anthony, R Fotso, S Locatelli, F Maisels, MW Mitchell, B Morgan, AA Pokempner, and MK Gonder. "Chimpanzee population structure in Cameroon and Nigeria is associated with habitat variation that may be lost under climate change.," BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2015.
Smith TB, Kinnison MT, Strauss SY, Fuller TL, Carroll SP. "Prescriptive evolution to conserve and manage biodiversity," Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 2014.
Soto-Calderón I. D., Dew, J. L., Bergl, R. A., Jensen-Seaman, M. I., Anthony, N. M. "Between historically isolated mitochondrial lineages in captive western gorillas: Recommendations for future management.," J. Heredity, v.106, 2015, p. 310.