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Lincoln Park Zoo researcher awarded prestigious conservation biology fellowship

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.


Contact: Sharon Dewar
Lincoln Park Zoo

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