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From Madagascar to Mississippi: New Scientist Joins the Center

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Research welcomes its newest member, Dr. Shane Abeare, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Biology. Dr. Abeare came to the University of Mississippi in June to work with the Gulf of Mexico Citizen Science Initiative. This project, led by Center directors Glenn Parsons and Richard Buchholz, aims to increase the involvement of coastal communities in the crowd-sourcing of natural resource data using a custom mobile phone app.

Having worked on wildlife conservation and research projects across the globe, from South America, Africa and Madagascar, to the Pacific islands, Dr. Abeare is no stranger to working with diverse communities to achieve sustainable use of natural resources. Before joining the CBCR at Ole Miss, he was Country Director for the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation in Guinea, West Africa. In Guinea Dr. Abeare led a team of over 200 employees through the complexities of creating a new national park to protect chimpanzees and other wildlife. “This process involved extensive community outreach, public meetings, data collection, spatial analysis and landscape planning, conflict resolution, and a fair amount of politicking” says Dr. Abeare. He proudly adds that “In May 2021, these efforts culminated with the signing of a presidential decree for the creation of the Moyen-Bafing National Park.” Despite his far-flung travels, Dr. Abeare is not unfamiliar with the northern Gulf coast, having completed his graduate studies in Oceanography and Coastal Science at Louisiana State University, and in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans. Center Director Dr. Glenn Parsons remarked “We are very lucky to have attracted Shane to our team. Our project will benefit greatly from his organizational and analytical skills, and our faculty and students now have the unprecedented opportunity to interact with, and learn from, such an experienced and accomplished conservationist.”

Dr. Abeare collecting fisheries data in Ifaty, a village in southwest Madagascar.