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Protected Areas and Habitat Management for Vulnerable Species

Managing habitats for vulnerable, threatened and endangered species, along with protecting biodiverse areas, are key strategies for mitigating the biodiversity crisis.

Bat Conservation in Abandoned Mines

In collaboration with John Depue from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, we are undertaking an innovative project to enhance bat conservation in abandoned mines. This project aims to experimentally manipulate mine temperatures to create diverse microclimates, providing lower temperatures for hibernating bats. These cooler conditions are believed to improve bat survival rates when subjected to white-nose syndrome (WNS), a devastating fungal disease that has decimated bat populations. Our approach involves two main strategies: installing fan-powered cooling systems and utilizing a chimney-effect airflow technique to diversify the thermal environment within hibernacula. By controlling and lowering the temperatures within these mines, we aim to suppress the growth of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus responsible for WNS. The effectiveness of these techniques will be evaluated through a combination of control-impact study designs at experimental and control sites, with the goal of improving overwinter survival and reducing fungal prevalence. This collaborative effort not only seeks to mitigate the impacts of WNS but also aims to develop scalable management strategies that can be implemented across North America to support the recovery of cave-dwelling bat populations.


Acoustic Solutions for Mitigating Bird-Building Collisions

In collaboration with Dr. Shane Oberloier, we are actively developing bird deterrents and deployment strategies to reduce migratory songbird building collisions. Our approach involves deploying a portable solar-powered sound system that emits both synthetic and predator sounds. These sounds have proven effective in reducing bird detections in preliminary field experiments conducted in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with the synthetic sound demonstrating a particularly strong deterrent effect. Building on these promising results, we have partnered with the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors to conduct further trials during the fall migration season. These trials are underway and will test efficacy of the deterrents in urban environments known for high bird collision rates, aiming to refine the technology and develop practical conservation applications to reduce avian mortality in cities.


Establishing Parque Nacional de La Paz in Equatorial Guinea

Through collaboration with Biodiversity Initiative, Cibio-Biopolis, and INDEFOR-AP, we are working towards the creation of Parque Nacional de La Paz, a new national park in Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa. This ambitious project, in collaboration with Rainforest Trust, aims to protect 100,000 hectares of critical habitat, increasing Equatorial Guinea's terrestrial protected area coverage from 19% to 23%. The park will safeguard numerous species and their habitats, including endangered forest elephants, chimpanzees, and gorillas, reinforcing the ecological integrity of the region. Strategically located near the new Afro-American University of Central Africa (AAUCA) and the Hotel Djiblho, the park is poised to become a hub for ecotourism and research. The project includes the establishment of a management center and satellite camps, the training and recruitment of ecoguards, and extensive community engagement to ensure social sustainability. By leveraging the proximity to AAUCA, the initiative will foster collaborative research and capacity-building, enhancing conservation efforts through education and scientific inquiry

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