Lincoln Park Zoo researcher awarded prestigious conservation biology fellowship

March 03, 2009

Sarah Keenan Jacobi, Ph.D., an environmental analyst for Lincoln Park Zoo's Urban Wildlife Institute was recently selected from a pool of highly qualified candidates worldwide to receive the prestigious Smith Fellowship from the Society for Conservation Biology and the Cedar Tree Foundation. It is recognized as the nation's premier post doctoral program in conservation biology.

The fellowship program is aimed at finding solutions to the most urgent conservation challenges in the United States. Each Fellow's research is conducted in partnership with a major academic institution and conservation organization.

"The Smith Fellowship enables young scientists to improve and expand their research skills and direct their research efforts toward problems of pressing conservation concern, to bridge the gap between research and application," explained Michael Dombeck, Ph.D., program executive director.

Jacobi's dissertation focuses on geography and environmental engineering. As a Smith Fellow with the zoo's Urban Wildlife Institute, Jacobi will transform models typically used to improve business efficiency to develop a framework for efficiently allocating resources for conservation over large spatial scales. The framework will be applied to two case studies: allocating monetary resources to develop and maintain habitat for North American waterfowl migration, and allocating resources to protect against reed canary grass invasion. Reed canary grass is a fast-growing perennial grass that is a major threat to marshes and natural wetlands. The overabundance of it decreases biotic diversity and often has a devastating impact on ecosystem processes.

Jacobi will work under the academic mentorship of Jeffrey Camm, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati School of Business and Eric Lonsdorf, Ph.D., director of the zoo's Urban Wildlife Institute.

Benefits of the Smith Fellowship include two years annual salary of $50,000, research funds of more than $32,000, and an $8,000 travel budget. It also includes targeted professional development workshops and training events, and a lifetime membership in the Society for Conservation Biology including lifetime subscriptions to Conservation Biology, Conservation Letters and Conservation magazine.
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About The Smith Fellowship

The late Dr. David H. Smith, founder of the Cedar Tree Foundation, was a pediatrician, inventor and conservationist. He established the Smith Fellowship in 1998 with a grant to The Nature Conservancy. In 2005 the Fellowship was broadened to include the broader conservation community and is now administered by the Society for Conservation Biology. The Smith Fellowship seeks to identify and support early-career scientists who will shape the growth of applied conservation biology.

About Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo, a historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, is dedicated to connecting people with nature by providing a free, family-oriented wildlife experience. A leader in conservation science both globally and locally, the zoo exemplifies the highest quality animal care and educational outreach. The not-for-profit zoo, managed by The Lincoln Park Zoological Society, is a member-supported organization and one of the nation's only free, privately managed zoos. For more information, call 312 -742-2000 or visit www.lpzoo.org.

Lincoln Park Zoo

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