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The Conservation Science Group work on a wide range of research projects. Here we feature some current projects. Some projects are funded research programs involving teams of researchers from the group; others are designed and led by our students.


Environmental niche model prediction on where climatic conditions are currently suitable for forest vertebrates in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. The color scaling shows endemic-weighted richness, a measure that attributes particular importance to species that are geographically rare.A team of ecologists and economists from the Conservation Science Group is working on a large federally funded research project examining how climate and land use change in future decades will affect species of policy concern in forests in the central and southern Appalachian mountains. The researchers are modeling future conditions for 100s of terrestrial vertebrate species across the region. The project examines multiple entry-points of uncertainty in making these predictions, some associated with predicting coming climatic changes and some associated with predicting future land market conditions. The project will identify conservation interventions that would help to safeguard these species and that are robust to uncertainty over future conditions.

For more information about this project, contact: Paul Armsworth,

As part of our newly created Environmental Science and Policy Practicum course, teams of graduate students design projects that address current issues of regional science and policy concern. Our first cohort of practicum students chose to describe and map surface water quality issues that affect the Knoxville urban area. They also developed a data pipeline and set of computer codes enabling others to replicate their efforts for water quality issues affecting other urban areas. The students’ report can be found here.