Michelle Peach Is a “Rising Star’ in Conservation Biology

Michelle Peach, a lecturer at the University of Rhode Island, has won the Rising Star Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. The award recognizes outstanding student researchers and communicators in the field of conservation biology.

Dr. Peach was honored for research she conducted as a doctoral student about the value of protected land to birds. She focused her research on whether birds were more likely to persist in areas that had extensive protected land and whether protected land encouraged birds to move into the area. Her research was published in the journal Conservation Biology.

“Lots of organizations set aside land to ensure that human impacts are minimized, but there hadn’t been a lot of scientific research showing that it’s an effective strategy for conserving biodiversity,” said Dr. Peach. “And in the context of climate change, scientists think that species will shift their distribution, so I wanted to know whether protected areas will serve as early places for them to move into as changes occur on the landscape.”

Dr. Peach found that these protected lands have indeed been successful. “Protected areas are doing exactly what we hoped they would be doing,” she said. “They decrease the risk of local extinction in an area and they facilitate movement of birds into new areas. Species are more likely to colonize areas with protected land than without.”

Dr. Peach earned her doctorate at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in

Filed Under: Awards


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply