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Conservation Ecology Center

Using basic and applied science to conserve species and ecosystems worldwide
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Conservation Ecology Center

Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Conservation Ecology Center (CEC) develop new and advanced analytical tools to study and model how ecosystems and species interact with their environment and how these systems respond to global changes. Using these new tools and models, CEC scientists create conservation scenarios so that practitioners and decision makers can identify the best possible strategies for preserving ecosystem health and biodiversity.

At the species level, CEC scientists integrate intensive field surveys with animal tracking and satellite mapping to better understand the processes that control species movement and habitat declines. To achieve this, CEC researchers create new solutions for surveying, monitoring and modeling species conservation, including innovative approaches such as eMammal, a camera trapping network; and Partners in the Sky, a public-private partnership to advance animal tracking and movement ecology.

On a global scale, CEC partners with large research networks to address challenges such as ecosystem function and climate change. These networks include Virginia Working LandscapesForestGEO and NEON. As monitoring expands, CEC’s quantitative ecologists are developing new analytical and statistical frameworks for data analysis to answer critical conservation questions.

Conservation News

Jul. 02, 2020
Varmint, gopher, keystone species, ecosystem engineer. What prairie dogs are to you depends on your... read more
Apr. 30, 2020
New research from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Shenandoah National... read more

2018-2019 Annual Report

The Conservation Ecology Center's 2018-2019 Annual Report presents an overview of the advanced technology and conservation initiatives that the team brings to bear to solve the global biodiversity crisis.

Oryx Reintroduction

Scimitar-horned oryx once ranged across most of North Africa but are now considered extinct in the wild. Smithsonian scientists are part of a collaborative effort to return orxy to part of their former range.

Asian Elephants

Asian elephants face critical threats throughout their range. Through satellite tracking and conflict management, scientists are working to save them.

Restoring America's Wild Prairie

Smithsonian scientists are collaborating with the American Prairie Reserve to protect and restore one of North America's greatest treasures — the prairie.