The Day After: Bird Conservation in [Insert President-elect’s name]’s America! [Wed. Nov. 9th]

Come take your mind off the aftermath of the 2016 election by talking about birds, citizen science, and habitat restoration instead. I will present on the work done by the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO), which is a nonprofit that works on bird conservation science and educational outreach projects. Although we work on many projects, I will primarily discuss our work with the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, a new urban biodiversity project with Google, burrowing owls conservation, and our citizen science projects. SFBBO and many of its partners are always looking for collaborators and new projects so I look forward to any ideas for partnerships and gaps in knowledge.


I welcome discussion during roundtable and the following are some of my thoughts, although I welcome other ideas!
  • How to promote more linkages among academics and non-profits (i.e., applied ecology and conservation research!)
  • Working with citizen science derived data and how to get our data into the hands of more people
  • Ways to reach more diverse audiences with indoor and outdoor activities
  • Increasing corporate participation in urban ecology as well as the conservation value of urban greening and restoration


Dr. Yiwei Wang
Executive Director
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory


Catering for wildlife in fire-prone Australian mallee habitats: it’s not rocket science, it’s more complex than that! [Wed. July 6]

Inappropriate fire regimes are recognized as a key threatening process to bird conservation globally, but particularly in Australia. Fire management often aims to maintain a “mosaic” of patches of differing fire history (pyrodiversity); assuming this will cater for the greatest variety of species. We tested this assumption across a 104,000 km2 area of the Murray Mallee region of southern Australia. We compared avian diversity in 28 ‘whole’ landscapes, representing different fire-driven mosaics.

Using a novel technique to age and map vegetation we demonstrated that fire influences mallee vegetation for over a century, particularly key habitat resources (e.g. tree hollows). We found little evidence that bird diversity was related to the diversity of fire age classes in a landscape. Similarly, there was little evidence of the importance of pyrodiversity for individual species. Instead, a key driver for all groups was the spatial extent of ecologically important fire age classes; in particular, the spatial extent of long-unburned mallee vegetation.

We used models of species distributions to evaluate the consequences for threatened bird species of alternative management scenarios for fire for the next twenty years. We evaluated the likely effect of planned burning programs that burnt 1%, 3% or 5% of public land annually. The outcomes of this work have provided an assessment of the relative risk of extinction for these species. This research has transformed understanding of how fire affects these threatened species in the region and has been embraced by fire managers and contributed to significant change in fire management policy.

Prof. Mike Clarke
Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution
La Trobe University, Australia

Conserving mobile species [Wed Feb 17]

Many species move around land and seascapes. In this talk I’ll look at how these patterns of movement change the way we design conservation projects, and the outcomes for migratory species in contemporary conservation schemes. Often these species cross jurisdictions, and collaboration across diverse groups of people is essential to their persistence in a rapidly changing world.
I’ll explore these issues with three case studies – nomadic desert birds, a critically endangered koala population and mining development in southern Australia.
Be prepared for gratuitous photos of birds and cute fluffy things.


Claire Runge
Postdoctoral Scholar
SNAP Better Land-Use Decisions working group
National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS),
University of California Santa Barbara
Center of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), University of Queensland
Twitter @Claire_Runge | |