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Jessica Deichmann, Ph.D.
At the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, Jessica Deichmann conducts research to address questions of species and ecosystem resilience in the face of anthropogenic change. Working closely with partners from a variety of sectors, she aims to identify key environmental and climate challenges created by sustainable infrastructure development and industrial operations in high biodiversity areas. With these in mind, Deichmann and her team use a science-based approach that incorporates traditional biodiversity assessment methods combined with innovative tools (e.g., DNA barcoding, acoustic monitoring, machine learning) to quantify impacts of development operations on biodiversity and ecosystem services and to develop impact mitigation strategies.
Deichmann and her colleagues take an interdisciplinary conservation and sustainability research approach to problem-solving. They have developed best practices that use technical and nature-based solutions for sustainable ecosystem management to produce co-benefits for nature and people. Examples include the use of natural canopy bridges to mitigate fragmentation of tropical forests, the use of alternative lighting to mitigate the impacts of artificial light at night on wildlife, and the modification of climate change mitigation projects to improve outcomes for biodiversity. Deichmann and her colleagues have also contributed a wealth of new information about the remote areas in which they work and share that knowledge to inform protected-area management plans and decision-making. Working with in-country scientists and field assistants, Deichmann strives to integrate capacity building into all her research programs.
Deichmann completed her bachelor's degree in zoology at Colorado State University in 2002, and earned a doctorate in biological sciences at Louisiana State University in 2009. She has conducted research in several countries, including Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Gabon, and Costa Rica. Before beginning her position at the Smithsonian, she worked for the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica, and then as a research associate with the Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) at Conservation International, where she co-authored a book reviewing the first 20 years of RAP, led field trainings for local university students and conducted rapid assessments of herpetofauna. Deichmann is a member of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, the Society for Conservation Biology, and a founding member of the Women in Nature Network.