Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet

Scientists at the Smithsonian enhance our knowledge of biodiversity through investigations of the evolution, ecology, and conservation of species and habitats around the world by focusing on the role of species in the healthy functioning of ecosystems and the contribution of healthy ecosystems to a sustainable planet.

The Consortia fosters pan-institutional, interdisciplinary research that increases our understanding of how species evolve, how they interact in communities, and how they function cross landscapes while at the same time addressing global problems of biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, and climate change.

Pierre Comizzoli, Director

Pierre Comizzoli, Director

In 2002, Dr. Comizzoli joined the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., as a staff scientist to develop new projects on gamete and gonadal tissue cryo-banking for rare and endangered species. His comparative research on fertility preservation in various wild and domestic animal species creates interesting bridges with human reproductive medicine. In addition to basic research activities, Dr. Comizzoli is coordinating a Smithsonian-wide initiative to improve the management and use of biomaterial and environmental repositories within the Institution. He also is in charge of conservation projects on wild carnivores and ungulates in Northern Africa (Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Sahara Conservation Fund) as well as in South-East Asia (Member of the IUCN/SSC Saola Working Group). Dr. Comizzoli has received several professional awards including the Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Prize (2008 and 2012) and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2011) for his innovative work on fertility preservation. More recently, he has received the Innovation Award from the National Research Council of Thailand (2012) for the first Eld’s deer fawn born after in vitro fertilization and the Secretary’s Award of Excellence (2013) for the Pan-Smithsonian Cryo-Initiative.

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Grand Challenge Awards

  • Arctic People and Animal “Crashes”: Human, Climate, and Habitat Agency in the Anthropocene (2013)
  • BiodiversiTREE @ the Smithsonian Institution (2012)
  • BiodiversiTREE @ the Smithsonian Institution: Phase II (2012)
  • The Biodiversity Commons: Conservation Science at the Smithsonian (2014)
  • Biodiversity, Genomics, and Human Ecology of California’s Channel Islands (2012)
  • Biodiversity Genomics Exemplar Projects (2013)
  • Building the Framework of Biodiversity Science: Next Generation Phylogenetics (2011)
  • Camera Trap Images as Mammal Specimens – “E-mammal” as a Central Repository for Scientists, Conservationists, and the General Public (2012)
  • Comprehensive Recovery Planning for the Endangered Red Siskin (Spoagra cucullata) (2013)
  • Capturing Genomes for Biodiversity Research: Workshop (2012)
  • The Carnivore’s Dilemma: Understanding the Impacts of Environmental Change on Africa’s Large Carnivores (2013)
  • Carrie Bow Biocode: Connecting the Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network and the Global Genome Initiative Through the First Atlantic Biocode (2014)
  • Channel Islands Bio-cultural Diversity Working Group (2010)
  • The Chemical Composition of Forest Tree Communities (2013)
  • The Chemical Composition of Forest Tree Communities (2014)
  • Coffee to the Rescue: Using Captive Breeding, Conservation Genomics and Sustainable Agroforestry to Recover an Endangered Bird (2014)
  • Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP): Environmental and Biological Monitoring (2012)
  • Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP): Phase II (2011)
  • Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP): A  Smithsonian-Substation Curacao Collaboration (2011)
  • The Designing of the Smithsonian Institution's MarineGEO® Program (2010)
  • Developing and Establishing the North American Orchid Center (2010)
  • Life and the Cosmos: Building the Consortium (2010)
  • Developing the Virtual Global Biorepository: Planning Workshop (2011)
  • The Development of a Remote Environmental Monitoring Observatory (REMO) (2010)
  • Development of Smithsonian Biodiversity Genomics Bioinformatic Analysis Pipelines (2013)
  • Enhancing SI Marine Collections Through Cryopreservation (2012)
  • Establishment of the North American Orchid Conservation Center (2011)
  • An Experimental Network for Understanding Seagrass (Thalassia testudinum) Biodiversity and Ecology—Advancing the Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network (2013)
  • Gateway to the East: Smithsonian's Role in Myanmar's New Spring (2012)
  • Next Generation Sequencing: Enabling Transformative Technology for Biodiversity Research and Collections (2010)
  • IndigenousGEO: Long-term monitoring of Cultural and Biological Diversity on Tribal Lands (2011)
  • Living in the Anthropocene (2013)
  • Marine Parasitism: Understanding Broad-Scale Diversity, Effects, and Processes (2011)
  • Measurements of Trace Gases in the Panama Isthmus (2014)
  • Ocean Acidification in the Caribbean - Past, Present, and Future (2010)
  • Pacific Island Initiative (2011)
  • Quantifying Herbivory from Multiple Ungulate Species in a Complex Tropical Forest (2014)
  • Reclaiming the Edge: The Anacostia River, Urban Waterways, and Civic Engagement (2010)
  • Reconciling DNA Barcodes and Taxonomic Species Inventories from the Greater Caribbean MarineGEO Sites (2014)
  • The Roosevelt Resurvey: Leveraging the Contributions of the Smithsonian and President Teddy Roosevelt for Wildlife Conservation Insight in Africa (2012)
  • Sea Level Observations for Understanding Coastal Marine Ecological Change: Advancing MarineGEO through Networked Sentinel Instrumentation (2012)
  • SI Move: An Earth Observatory for Movement Ecology (2014)
  • Smithsonian Biodiversity Conservation for Sustaining the Natural Diversity of Myanmar (2013)
  • Smithsonian Climate Change Research Symposium (2010)
  • Smithsonian Conservation Medicine Program (2011)
  • Smithsonian Critical Zone Observatories (2012)
  • Tracking Ecological Change from Ocean Acidification Across Latitudes Using Autonomous Monitoring and Manipulative Field Experiments (2011)
  • Tropical Vertebrate Diversity Loss and The Emergence of Tick-borne Diseases (2010)
  • Understanding Labyrinthulid Diversity and Disease Ecology Associated with Seagrass Hosts Over a Latitudinal Gradient (2014)
  • Understanding Pathogen Mediated Population Decline and Extinction (2011)
  • Urban Waterways (2011)
  • Urban Waterways and Civic Engagement (2012)
  • Using Automated Dendrometer Bands to Link Tree Stem Size Changes to Ecosystem-Atmosphere Exchange at CTFS-ForestGEO Sites (2014)
  • Virtual Repository for the Tree of Life (VRTL): Phase 2 (2011)
  • Working Groups in Biodiversity Genomics (2014)