Focusing Ecological Research for Conservation


Bogdan Cristescu, Mark S. Boyce


Ambio 42(7): 805-815; 2013


Ecologists are increasingly actively involved in conservation. We identify five key topics from a broad
sweep of ecology that merit research attention to meet conservation needs. We examine questions from landscape ecology, behavioral ecology, ecosystem dynamics, community ecology, and nutrient cycling related to key topics. Based on literature review and publication trend assessment,
consultation with colleagues, and roundtable discussions at the 24th International Congress for Conservation Biology, focused research on the following topics could benefit conservation while advancing ecological understanding: 1. Carbon sequestration, requiring increased linkages to biodiversity conservation; 2. Ecological invasiveness, challenging our ability to find solutions to ecological aliens; 3. Individual variation, having applications in the conservation of rare species; 4. Movement of organisms, integrating ecological processes across landscapes and scales and
addressing habitat fragmentation; and 5. Trophic-level interactions, driving ecological dynamics at the ecosystem-level. Addressing these will require cross-disciplinary research under the overarching framework of conservation ecology.