home 2020 Impacts of COVID-19 on Biodiversity Conservation in Practice

Impacts of COVID-19 on Biodiversity Conservation in Practice

Livestreaming today December 08, 2020 – 5pm EST. Via Zoom

Biology Professor Reinmar Seidler is  bringing in guest speakers Richard Primack, Amanda Bates, Theresa Crimmins, and Abe Miller-Rushing for the Fall 2020 ‘Dimensions of Sustainability’  Virtual Symposium on ‘Impacts of COVID-19 on Biodiversity Conservation in Practice.’  (PDF Poster)

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Richard Primack from Boston University’s Biology Department is presenting a talk entitled,”Unexpected Consequences of COVID-19 on Research in Ecology and Conservation.” His abstract is as follows: 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted societies in so many ways that we are still appreciating its effects on the ecology and conservation of biodiversity. These impacts include disruptions to training and research as well as to the management, monitoring and protection of endangered species and protected areas. The pandemic has also highlighted ways in which the conservation community could be more effective, especially by engaging with the public on-line.”

Amanda Bates, Chair of Marine Environmental Physiology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, is presenting a talk entitled, “Initial Marine Conservation Outcomes from the COVID Anthropause.” Her abstract is as follows: 

“The COVID-related Anthropause has resulted in shifts in human mobility patterns altering all aspects of society and providing an unexpected opportunity to examine relationships between humans and marine systems. The lockdown resulted in reduced shipping, fishing and recreational boat traffic. Sightings of animals in areas otherwise under heavy human influence, such as harbors and ports, have been attributed to lower boat traffic and noise pollution. But restrictions on human mobility may also prevent the achievement of conservation targets, and may thus have long-term negative impacts on marine species. Even so, the Anthropause is providing support for the value of conservation strategies and of human efforts to protect and restore our ocean systems.”

Theresa Crimmins, Director of the USA National Phenology Network, from the University of Arizona, is presenting a talk entitled, “How are the COVID-19 shut-downs affecting participation in biodiversity-themed community science projects in the U.S.?.” Her abstract is as follows: 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had extensive impacts on both professional and volunteer-based biodiversity and conservation efforts. We evaluated the impact of the widespread pandemic-related closure of schools and businesses in spring 2020 on participation patterns and rates in four biodiversity-themed community science programs: eBird, eButterfly, iNaturalist, and Nature’s Notebook. Programs with fewer participants experienced a drop in participation, while those with more participation showed growth. There was a widespread shift toward observations originating in urban areas. Our findings suggest that program volunteers are largely undeterred by COVID. Data generated by them will offset some data lost by shuttering formal monitoring programs.”

Abe Miller-Rushing,Science Coordinator of the Acadia National Park, ME, is presenting a talk entitled, “COVID-19 and US National Parks: Impacts on Research, Management and Public Engagement.” His abstract is as follows: 

“COVID-19 has altered conditions in the US national park system, revealing complex interactions among operations, research, and public engagement. Managers have had to make trade-offs among competing priorities. Long-term research and monitoring programs have been interrupted. Time-sensitive management practices, such as invasive plant controls, have been delayed, and public engagement has largely shifted to online interactions. These changes pose challenges, but they also create opportunities for developing more flexible monitoring programs and more inclusive methods of public engagement.”


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