Current Research Projects

Tambopata Macaw Project

large macawsDue to their large size and great beauty, macaws make excellent flagship species and serve as charismatic focal points for the conservation of the ecosystems where they occur. Unfortunately, throughout most of tropical America, large macaws have suffered major population declines. The Tambopata Macaw Project began in 1989 under the field direction of Eduardo Nycander with the goal of learning about the basic ecology and natural history of large macaws to aid their conservation.

In 1999, Dr. Donald J. Brightsmith took over the direction and operations. The project currently develops and evaluates techniques for increasing reproductive output of wild macaws, expanding knowledge of macaw nesting behavior, increasing understanding of the complexities of clay lick use, tracking macaw movements through satellite telemetry, and evaluating tourism as a method of protecting macaws and their habitat. Through a variety of channels, this information is shared with local native communities, the Peruvian government, and classrooms and conservationists world-wide.

Read more about the Tambopata Macaw Project here.

African Wildlife Conservation: Genomics, Genetics & Health

African Wildlife: Buffalo

Conservation genomics is a relatively new field of study that uses biotechnology for the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Within species, the level of genetic diversity is directly proportional to a species’ ability to adapt, survive, and thrive. To date, one of the most detailed conservation genomics studies of any wildlife species focused on American bison. This species experienced a well-documented population decline between the years 1800 and 1900 that reduced its numbers by over 99%! The spectacular recovery to over 700,000 animals present today is a testament to their genetic constitution and is recognized as one of the most significant accomplishments in modern conservation biology.

Dr. James Derr leads efforts, using the bison studies as a model, to expand the use of these genomic technologies for the benefit of African wildlife species.

Read more about the African Wildlife Conservation Genomics project here.