ASU-CI partnership in action in the world’s epicenter of biodiversity

Gerber and Sabo scuba diving with groupAs part of their Fulbright Fellowships to Ecuador, Professors Leah Gerber and John Sabo are experiencing the interface between people and nature in the Amazon rainforest and on the Galapagos Islands. Sabo’s work focuses on strategic development of hydropower in the Amazon basin and Gerber’s focus is on the social, ecological and economic dimensions of marine conservation in the Galapagos Islands. During their time in the Galapagos Islands, the pair are also piloting the ASU-CI Professor-in-Residence program. The converse of our ASU-CI Professor of Practice program where CI scientists engage with ASU scholars. Professor in Residence work on the ground with conservation practitioners. This pilot approach has proven fruitful. While John came to work on the Ecuadorian Amazon, he has initiated a collaboration with CI-Ecuador to develop decision support tools to align development—population and economic growth—with freshwater resource planning in the Galapagos. In collaboration with CI-Ecuador and academic, NGO and government stakeholders, Leah established a cross-sector network to support adaptive co-management of Galapagos Marine Reserve.  By understanding ways that institutional arrangements support effective marine conservation in the Galapagos, the team seeks to develop a data-based decision framework and establish a long-term research and training program. By working on the ground with conservation practitioners, faculty can bring data, evidence and theory to augment capacity to address pressing conservation challenges. In turn, the opportunity to engage in a field office for major conservation organization offers unparalleled insight into real challenges and solution space for applying knowledge to achieving conservation outcomes. As ASU continues to grow our partnership with CI, we hope to develop programs that support ASU Faculty to work with CI Field offices globally.