Global Biodiversity and Priority Areas

Species and ecosystems are distributed unevenly around the world, with some places having hundreds or even thousands of times as much biodiversity as other places. This has immense consequences for how we should manage the world to guarantee that biodiversity will persist into the future. We explore many topics related to this theme, including the mapping of priority areas for conservation action, evaluating the effectiveness of protected areas and other conservation efforts, and the fundamental causes of biodiversity patterns and changes in them. A selection of papers, and many results and maps, can be found at the website below.


Brazil is perhaps the most biodiverse country in the world. Its wide range of ecosystems, ranging from the Atlantic and Amazonian forests, to the Cerrado savannahs, to the Caatinga deserts, harbor an amazing diversity of life. The country faces many challenges but also presents many opportunities for research, collaborations, and paths of sustainable development. We actively pursue these with our many partners in Brazil, at universities, NGOs, and in government. Included among these activities is developing the new Program of Excellence in Brazilian Studies at FIU, where we are promoting and growing all things Brazil at the university.

Brazilian Studies Program of Excellence

The Amazon

The world’s largest tropical forest has major importance for global climate, for biodiversity, and for millions of people living there. Much more diverse than widely appreciated, the Amazon is not simply a giant block of green forest, but made up of many different ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic. Across the countries sharing the Amazon, there are varied situations that favor or inhibit damage to the ecosystems. These include hydroelectric dams, roads, oil and mineral extraction, protected areas, Indigenous lands, and many others. Understanding these and finding solutions for a better future for the Amazon is a goal of our group, involving many researchers at FIU and beyond.