​Species and Habitat Conservation

Region: Africa, South Pacific, North and South America

This research area focuses on the study of endangered or threatened populations and the development of strategies to preserve and protect the diversity of plants and animals worldwide. The Conservation Genetics discipline encompasses the fields of ecology, molecular biology, population genetics, landscape genetics, landscape ecology, mathematical modeling, and evolutionary systematics.

CTR researchers are working on a NASA-funded project to develop a species spatial distribution model that can incorporate remote sensing-detected or -derived environmental variables with corresponding genetic and phenotypic variables at various spatial and temporal scales. This integrated model will allow for the elucidation of the patterns and processes that govern diversification and speciation in a spatial and/or geographical context and the identification of important habitat for conservation.

Other projects include the study of the influence of human-caused habitat fragmentation on the structuring of populations of the threatened Rockfowl bird (Picathartes sp.) of Africa, and the use of plant population genetics to assess the effect of seed disperser loss on gene flow of Antrocaryon klaineanum (ANACARDIACEAE), a commercially important tree species that is dispersed almost exclusively by heavily hunted mammals.

CTR and the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology  jointly manage the UCLA Conservation Genetics Resource Center which collects genetic samples of plants, mammals, and birds and develops new molecular methods to enhance our analytical capabilities.


lomas barbudal monkey project

Lomas Barbudal Monkey Project

The Lomas Barbudal Monkey Project was founded in 1990 by Susan Perry, with the help of Joseph Manson and Julie Gros-Louis, for the purpose of studying social intelligence in the…

pangolin trafficking project

Pangolin Trafficking Project

This project aims to answer key questions about the natural history and conservation requirements of giant pangolins, one of the world’s most trafficked animals.

sustainable ebony project

Sustainable Ebony Project

The goal of the program is to enhance ebony stocks through community engagement while collecting crucial data to refine techniques for production and management.

coral reef conservation

Coral Reef Conservation

Region: Seas of the Coral Triangle (a region comprised of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands) Paul Barber is an affiliated faculty member of…

dja reserve

Dja Reserve

For the past 20 years, we have been conducting research in the Dja Biosphere Reserve and adjacent areas.  The Dja Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in…

mapping evolutionary processes under climate change

Mapping Evolutionary Processes Under Climate Change

The Partnership for International Research and Education project seeks to develop an integrated framework for conserving central African biodiversity under climate change that is both evolutionary-informed and grounded in the socioeconomic constraints of the region.

center for tropical research

Rainforest Biodiversity and Speciation

Region: Africa (Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast), Australia, South America (Ecuador) These projects seek to understand the mechanisms important in generating rainforest biodiversity. Results from research on birds in Cameroon…

rainforest restoration and seed dispersal

Rainforest Restoration and Seed Dispersal

Region: South America (Ecuador) Africa (Cameroon) These long-term studies examine the role of birds and primates as seed dispersers in the maintenance of tree diversity in West African and Neotropical…


Evolution and conservation of Central African biodiversity: priorities for future research and education in the Congo Basin and Gulf of Guinea

Anthony, N. M.; Atteke, C.; Bruford, M. W.; Dallmeier, F.; Freedman, A.; Hardy, O.; Ibrahim, B.; Jeffery, K. J.; Johnson, M.; Lahm, S. A.; Lepengue, N.; Lowenstein, J. H.; Maisels, F.; Mboumba, J.; Mickala, P.; Morgan, K.; Ntie, S.; Smith, T. B.; Sullivan, J. P.; Verheyen, E.; Gonder, M. K.

Published Work | 2014 | Biotropica 47(1), 6–17


Pathogen-host associations and predicted range shifts of human Monkeypox in response to climate change in Central Africa

Thomassen, H. A.; Fuller, T. L.; Asefi-Najafabady, S.; Shiplacoff, J. A.; Mulembakani, P. M.; Blumberg, S.; Johnston, S. C.; Kisalu, N. K.; Kinkela, T. L.; Fair, J. N.; Wolfe, N. D.; Shongo, R. L.; LeBreton, M.; Meyer, H.; Wright, L. L.; Muyembe, J.; Buermann, W.; Okitolonda, E.; Hensley, L. E.; Lloyd-Smith, J. O.; Smith, T. B.; Rimoin, A. W.

Published Work | 2013 | PLoS ONE 8(7)


Intraspecific morphological and genetic variation of common species predicts ranges of threatened ones

Fuller, T. L.; Thomassen, H. A.; Peralvo, M.; Wolfgang, B.; Mila, B.; Kieswetter, C. M.; Jarrin-V, P.; Cameron Devitt, S. E.; Mason, E.; Schweizer, R. M.; Schluneggar, J.; Chan, J.; Wang, O.; Schneider, C. J.; Pollinger, J. P.; Saatchi, S.; Graham, C. H.; Wayne, R. K.; Smith, T. B.

Published Work | 2013 | Proceedings of the Royal Society Biology 280(1763)


Predicting bird song from space

Smith, T. B.; Harrigan, R. J.; Kirschel, A. N.; Buermann, W.; Saatchi, S.; Blumstein, D. T.; de Kort, S. R.; Slabbekoorn, H.

Published Work | 2013 | Evolutionary Applications 6(6), 865–874