UNCW Geography Professor Publishes in Prestigious Multidisciplinary Journal


Mountains in the Horn of AfricaUNCW assistant professor of Geography Narcisa Pricope serves as second author on a scholarly article entitled “Biodiversity Areas Under Threat: Overlap of Climate Change and Population Pressures on the World’s Biodiversity Priorities,” which has been published in the prestigious multidisciplinary open access journal PLOS ONE.

Pricope has been working in collaboration with researchers from the University of California - Santa Barbara. Teams from both universities have examined precipitation over the past three decades in accordance with population growth in order to identify where climate change and population growth intersect to threaten certain ecosystems and biodiversity conservation priorities. Extensive fieldwork has taken place in the Horn of Africa, but according to Pricope this region is just being used as an example, as the region has become drier amid rising populations, threatening human subsistence as the need for vital resources increases. The implications of this research, however, are global.

“In a nutshell, our analysis highlights a stark reality for many subsistence farmers and herders in countries in the Eastern African Horn herders in Ethiopia who have been struggling to find enough grass for their cattle or grow enough crops or feed their families in recent years,” said Pricope. “And, the researchers say, identifying areas where people are at risk because of changes like these can help target activities and resources that promote biodiversity and ecosystem services and make life better for the people who live there.”

This most recent article is just one of many that Pricope has published in collaboration with UC-Santa Barbara since 2011. Publication of this article in PLOS ONE not only brings prestige to Pricope and her team from UNCW, it also means that those living in these highly threatened areas will be able to understand what is happening to their environment and the people who live there.

In a more unique style from other academic journals, PLOS ONE publishes research under the Creative Commons Attribution (“CC BY”) license, allowing anyone “free immediate access to, and unrestricted reuse of” all articles published by the journal. Publication of this article is in line with the UNCW Strategic Plan and the university’s goal to enhance research and scholarly activities as the institution strives to foster global learning.

“The next stage of this global analysis is to get a more refined understanding of the local scale processes, and think more broadly about adaptation strategies and ways our understanding of climate and population dynamics can help people across many regions of the world,” Pricope said.

To read Pricope’s research, visit the PLOS ONE website here.

-- Caitlin Taylor ’18M