, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 805–815 | Cite as

Focusing Ecological Research for Conservation

  • Bogdan Cristescu
  • Mark S. Boyce


Ecologists are increasingly actively involved in conservation. We identify five key topics from a broad sweep of ecology that merit research attention to meet conservation needs. We examine questions from landscape ecology, behavioral ecology, ecosystem dynamics, community ecology, and nutrient cycling related to key topics. Based on literature review and publication trend assessment, consultation with colleagues, and roundtable discussions at the 24th International Congress for Conservation Biology, focused research on the following topics could benefit conservation while advancing ecological understanding: 1. Carbon sequestration, requiring increased linkages to biodiversity conservation; 2. Ecological invasiveness, challenging our ability to find solutions to ecological aliens; 3. Individual variation, having applications in the conservation of rare species; 4. Movement of organisms, integrating ecological processes across landscapes and scales and addressing habitat fragmentation; and 5. Trophic-level interactions, driving ecological dynamics at the ecosystem-level. Addressing these will require cross-disciplinary research under the overarching framework of conservation ecology.


Animal movement Carbon sequestration Individual variation Invasiveness Trophic dynamics 



We thank CC St. Clair for putting forward the idea for this review and the many colleagues and attendants at the 24th International Congress for Conservation Biology for their willingness to discuss ecological topics relevant to species management. Special thanks to E. Cameron, S. Ciuti, A. Derocher, L. Foote, M. Lewis, S. Mayor, G. Stenhouse, and anonymous referees for providing helpful comments and reviewing drafts of the manuscript. We also thank M. Bacon, M. Erickson, K. Knopff, S. Miller, A. Morehouse, J. Northrup, K. Teichman, L. Vors, and G. Yates for discussions. BC was supported by the Alberta Ingenuity Fund and the Alberta Conservation Association.

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© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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