Microsoft Research Luminary Lucas Joppa on Computational Ecology

| Josh Henretig

Today Microsoft Research released a video interview with United Kingdom-based researcher Lucas Joppa that discusses the work and progress Microsoft Research Cambridge has made in recent years around computational ecology.

As we’ve shared on the Microsoft Green Blog before, Joppa and his team focus a lot of their work on building predictive models of the environment to enable successful conservation of ecological systems. Some of this team’s work has evolved into a broader initiative in partnership with the Zoological Society of London and University College London into Technology for Nature.

The goal of this collaboration is to determine what’s most critical for protecting the most species in the least amount of area. The team from Microsoft Research is able to do this with computational techniques that combine data sets on species distributions and protected environmental areas. In the video Joppa shares:

“My research repeatedly shows that strategically focusing on protecting and preserving specific places can have an outsized impact on overall conservation efforts. For example, we know that many protected areas are located in regions that are what I like to call ‘high and far’—that is, at the tops of mountains and far from human development.

“The problem with that is that conservation efforts in those places are, in a sense, wasted. We need to start concentrating on protecting places of disproportionate importance, from a biodiversity perspective, that are also under extreme threats. My work on the subject, along with many others, has focused on trying to hammer this point home, while providing the quantitative analysis to back up my claims.”

We encourage you to visit the Channel 9 video with Lucas Joppa to learn more about the work he and his team are doing in this space, the challenges they’ve encountered and some of the exciting outcomes. You can also learn more at the Microsoft Research Blog.

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