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Charlotte Boyd - Key Biodiversity Areas: identifying and mapping the most important sites for the global persistence of biodiversity
WhenThursday, Oct 11, 2018, 4 – 5 p.m.
WhereFishery Sciences Building, FSH -102
1122 NE Boat St., Seattle, WA 98195


Charlotte Boyd is a Research Scientist at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) of the University of Washington. Her research centers on key conservation and management questions relating to highly-mobile long-lived marine species, including identification of areas important for their conservation. Her primary area of expertise and interest is the spatial ecology of seabirds and cetaceans, with a focus on foraging ecology. Her research focuses on investigation of how the seasonal distribution and movement patterns of seabirds and cetaceans relate to the abundance and distribution of their prey and underlying habitat features. Prior to her PhD, Charlotte was Senior Advisor on Biodiversity Conservation Corridors at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International in Washington DC. She earned her PhD in marine ecology at SAFS in June 2012 with a dissertation on the effects of changes in the abundance and distribution of prey on the foraging ecology of two seabird species of, the Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata) and Guanay Cormorant (Phalacrocorax bougainvilliorum). Since completing her PhD, she has continued her research through a National Research Council Research Associateship at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, a research associateship at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and her current position as Research Scientist at SAFS, affiliated with the Marine Mammal Lab at NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center. In 2017, Charlotte was appointed Chair of the Key Biodiversity Areas Standards and Appeals Committee. Her primary current responsibility in this position is to develop the Guidelines for using the Global Standard for the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas launched at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in 2016.


Biodiversity loss is occurring at an alarming rate in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems, with significant negative consequences for human well-being. Effective action to address this loss depends in part on knowing which areas in the world contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity, for example, recognized the importance of conserving “…areas of particular importance for biodiversity…” in its Aichi Target 11. At the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in 2016, the world’s leading nature conservation organizations launched a new partnership to map, monitor and conserve the most important places for life on earth based on A Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas. Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are sites that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity. The KBA Standard enables identification of important sites for biodiversity at genetic, species and ecosystem levels in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems. The general approach for identifying KBAs was informed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and was informed by decades of experience identifying important sites for biodiversity, including Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) sites, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, Ramsar sites, and Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas. By applying quantitative criteria and thresholds, the KBA standard can be used to identify sites that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity in an objective, repeatable and transparent way. To qualify as a KBA, a site must contribute significantly to the persistence of threatened biodiversity, geographically restricted biodiversity, biological processes, ecological integrity, or have very high irreplaceability as determined by quantitative analysis. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of the KBA Standard, and demonstrate application of the criteria, focusing on marine mammals. I will discuss some of the challenges to identifying KBAs in freshwater and marine systems, and highlight avenues for research to support KBA identification and evaluate the contribution of the KBA network to global biodiversity conservation.

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