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Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research

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Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research (CBER)

CBER is an interdisciplinary centre within UCL’s Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment

Staff and students in the centre undertake research at the interface between biodiversity and environmental change, and are actively engaged in communicating new research and relating findings to policy.

Sapo National Park Liberia by Ben Collen

CBER offers training opportunities, including hosting postdoctoral fellows and supervising research students through the NERC London Doctoral Training Partnership and MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation.

CBER News and Events

Linking the influence and dependence of people on biodiversity across scales

There was a special ‘Insight’ section in Nature this week (1st June 2017) with comments, reviews, letters and even an Editorial about Biodiversity. As one of the Editors (Alun Armstrong) writes in his Introduction to the special section, “Shepherding our planet's remaining biodiversity through the current era of human population growth, environmental degradation and climatic change is one of the most pressing challenges we face. A return to past ecosystem configurations is not possible. But policies can be put in place to help avert further losses and to maintain ecosystem functions. At stake is not just the viability of the ecosystems on which we depend, but also the very richness of life, in all its colour and complexity.” 

Published: Jun 6, 2017 10:44:10 AM

Incorporating biotic interactions in predictions of species distributions

A new paper led by CBER scientists presents an approach to improve predictions of species distributions by incorporating the role of interactions between species. The new method shows promise for improving estimates of species ranges, which will have great practical value across a range of applications, including predicting the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, designing better conservation areas, and anticipating the spread of invasive species and zoonotic diseases.

Published: May 10, 2017 1:12:22 PM

Lack of Staffing, Funds Prevent Marine Protected Areas from Realising Full Potential

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine biodiversity, but a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of personnel and funds are preventing MPAs from reaching their full potential. After four years compiling and analyzing data on site management and fish populations in 589 MPAs around the world, Dr. David Gill and co-authors, including Dr Sarah Whitmee from CBER, discovered that shortfalls in staffing and funding are hindering the recovery of MPA fish populations. While fish populations grew in 71 percent of MPAs studied, the level of recovery of fish was strongly linked to the management of the sites. At MPAs with sufficient staffing, increases in fish populations were nearly three times greater than those without adequate personnel. Despite the critical role of local management capacity, however, only 35 percent of MPAs reported acceptable funding levels and only 9 percent reported adequate staff to manage the MPA.

Published: Mar 27, 2017 11:37:31 AM