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Our Scientists Are Active in the Field. Here's What's New:


We are currently building our core Thematic Collaboration Clusters (TCCs), which are (and will be) our set of long-term projects that form the basis for us to support scientists and conservationists who are in-between positions (and, therefore, collaborations). Right now those groups include: Coral Reefs, Fisheries & Aquaculture, Coastal Resilience and Restoration, Invasive Species, Reptile & Amphibian Conservation, and Tropical Forests. The upper limit is, well, there is no upper limit. We'll keep being the glue between labs and organizations in order to make big, collaborative science and conservation projects happen.

In that process of building grants and project support infrastructure, we are applying for funding through a LOT of different funding sources. We keep coming across this gem in the FAQs of funding opportunities (paraphrased):

Individual grants are not supported - you must have fiscal sponsorship of a non-profit, university, or have an affiliation with one of those.

How do you move forward if you are unaffiliated? Our experience is, that it is extremely difficult.

While granting to individuals comes with additional grant reporting costs, and provisions for insurance and accounting, it is not impossible - and it improves diversity and inclusion in science and conservation. So, we decided to BECOME that affiliation for folks. Send us an email at our with your CV and ecologically-related interests (one paragraph, please), and we will see how we can best serve you. You get to just focus on the project, while we provide errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, accounting for your grants, a non-profit affiliation, and colleagues. We all get to build a better network to support scientists and conservationists in a field with little safety net. All grants are transferrable after a year of management, and we're happy to be a secondary affiliation if you get a full-time gig (rather than building one with us - that's ok too!).

#science #retention #conservation #network #funding

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Our Coral Conservation and Restoration collaborative workgroup is officially off the ground! This was established with a successful collection and laboratory fertilization of elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, spawn in Parque Nacional Natural Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo, near Cartagena, Colombia. This success was the result of the work of Colombian National Parks, all three marine aquariums in Colombia (with Oceanario as our host collaborator), one U.S. aquarium, and two universities. The group returns in September to work with another probable spawning species, Orbicella faveolata, and will work to advance scientific understanding of appropriate substrates for benthic settlement of these important reef-building species.

Collaborations - long-term, deep collaborations - are critical to building the funding and personnel resilience needed for multiyear projects. Each member has access to different funding any given year, meaning that the funding streams available help to stabilize the baseline goals, and windfalls can fund work on top of that. Planning beyond a 2-3 year grant, to 40 or 50 years or more, is what is necessary to make meaningful progress toward applied conservation goals like reef restoration or reforestation. As part of our collaborative clusters, like this one for corals, we make this concept a critical piece of our infrastructure. Having stable projects allows us to: 1) make long-term progress on the conservation outcomes and scientific advances, 2) allows for stable projects for our constituents - those reentering or bridging to stay in science - to participate in and advance their careers; and 3) build a collaborative community that allows for greater collaboration across regions and related concepts. While these collaborations start as regionally-based cores, lessons learned and those with experience from these collaborative workgroups will expand to other regions and related areas - like tropical coastal resilience work.

We are excited to serve to connect the science and conservation community to meaningful ways to continue their important work as we continue to advance and expand our core collaborative workgroup offerings. As we continue to grow, so will these field and laboratory opportunities and those for professional development and training. Sign up for our newsletter or as a volunteer to join our movement for a more flexible work environment in science.

Video: Courtesy Dr. David M. Hudson, 2022

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Time and time again, I speak with scientists of all career stages who are looking for ways to apply the knowledge they have attained to advance scientific knowledge and improve conservation prospects for species on the ground. The most common group I encounter are those just getting into the field as interns and those who for one reason or another took a non-traditional road. The latter group typically gets back in to some sort of science position by volunteering, serving as an adjunct instructor at a local university, or some other part-time position that is often unrelated to their specific field.

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, we aim to serve as an affiliation for those who are looking from anywhere from a volunteer opportunity to full-time employment. This happens with both our current projects, which are all collaborations between our organization and others, and with projects conceptualized as our collaborative community grows. Whether that means joining us in the marshes of Connecticut to determine the effectiveness of restoration projects (see below), coral propagation in Colombia, or tropical frog biogeography, we aim to have long-term core projects that will facilitate others' work. Plenty of side projects with related goals can be achieved with minimal or no disruption of core activities, and can often enhance the conclusions of current work. We welcome proposals to that end, and are actively looking for ways to include more people of greater breadth of backgrounds in our work, not just those who currently have funding.

Volunteers can apply to come along on any of those projects, as space allows. We also serve as a professional affiliation for those who need a place for their grants and funding to be managed: that can be short-term or long-term. This allow us to serve as a hub for innovation and to facilitate the ongoing work of so many different researchers. If this is a service you or a colleague may need in order to keep projects going, please reach out to us at for further information. We are building the scope of this community out as time, talent, and treasure allows, so we look forward to serving you to the best of our capacity!

Best wishes,


Image: Special thanks to Grace Bucci and Dr. Al Nyack for letting me take this photo.

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