So, I’m incredibly excited (and a little heartbroken!) to be finally leaving France and completing my full circle around the globe to end up back in North America. I’ll be starting as Asst. Professor in the Biology department at McGill University in Montreal this summer.
It’s been an amazing journey and my life has been so enriched by so many amazing friends and collaborators. I have been especially fortunate to have amazing supervisors that gave me the patience and time I needed to keep going in science despite life constantly getting in the way.
I’m very excited about this next step. Quebec is a hub (epicentre? 🙂 for biodiversity science with hundreds of researcher doing cutting edge biodiversity research and key organisations such as the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science.
To cap off a crazy year, it was a fabulous surprise to find out that we won a Research Prize for our nature paper- the La Recherche Prix 2017 for the Environment category. La Recherche is a popular science magazine (similar to the New Scientist). Thanks to La Recherche for a great honour and a lovely awards ceremony and cocktail. And the biggest surprise of all- W. Thuiller in a collared shirt!
The world’s biodiversity is in crisis. Species are declining at an alarming rate. And this is happening at just the time we are really beginning to understand this diversity through an unprecedented cataloging and compiling of information. Data repositories are filled with hundreds of thousands of entries about species, where they live, how they live, and who they are related to. And this is only the beginning. New DNA-based surveys are exploding onto the scene and our ideas and understanding of biodiversity are improving everyday.
So when and how do we use this burgeoning knowledge of biodiversity in biodiversity conservation?
We take a stab at this question in our recent paper out in Nature by analysing the world’s bird and mammal diversity from a conservation perspective. We ask how much of the world’s bird and mammal diversity is currently protected and how much better we could do if protected areas were to be expanded. We consider diversity to be not only species, but also phylogenetic and functional diversity. The use of these types of diversity means we have a better chance of meeting big policy goals of preserving biodiversity that benefits humans and ecosystems than with a sole focus on species. Continue reading Where in the world is the unprotected diversity? New paper out in Nature→