Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Research scientist to speak on conservation partners

The University will welcome Jessica Deichmann, a research scientist from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, to speak as part of the department of biological sciences lecture series Thursday.

Deichmann will be presenting “Strange Bedfellows? Conducting Research Alongside Industry to Improve Biodiversity Conservation,” where she will discuss projects in which conservationists and the oil and gas industry are working together to protect tropical habitats in Peru, South America and Gabon, Africa.

Deichmann will describe her work on four projects: the use of habitat mapping to guide operations planning, an evaluation of the utility of “canopy bridges” to mitigate the fragmentation effects caused by pipeline construction, the use of DNA bar-coding as a tool in amphibian assessment in Gabon and a program that monitors and assesses an endemic amphibian in the Peruvian Andes.

All four projects represent the collaboration between researchers and industry leaders, who are often viewed as enemies. By maintaining the partnership, the oil industry is still able to explore the tropical land, but by using new methods from the conservationists, which help keep the habitats and their wildlife safe from harm.

However, not all conservationists agree with this approach.

“The talk is sub-titled ‘Strange Bedfellows?’ because it’s important to point out that not all researchers are on board with this approach to conservation,” Deichmann said. “In my view, these types of partnerships are an absolute necessity to conserve biodiversity experiencing pressures of today.”

Julia Stevens, the graduate student in charge of organizing the event, said Deichmann was a clear choice for their guest seminar.

“Each semester, graduate students vote to invite someone to speak during our department’s seminar series. She was a top choice because she has taken a path not common among scientists, by working for Conservation International following her Ph.D before going to work at the Smithsonian, and her work is of broad interest across the department.” Stevens said.

Deichmann hopes to not only give a great lecture, but also provide a better understanding of the conservation work being done.

“The goals are simple – fulfill the expectations of the graduate students who invited me, and tell a few interesting stories about our group’s applied conservation research,” Deichmann said.

“Strange Bedfellows?” will be held at Shelby Hall in Room 1093 at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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