This is a three part event series that focuses on some of the most compelling aspects of the Harris World Ecology Center, namely the devotion to community education, research, and the commitment to training students who go on to become decision-makers in regions and countries where biodiversity is threatened. This event series will provide an inside look into the work happening within the Harris World Ecology Center and some of the important topics facing the world of conservation today and in the future.

Community Conservation: 
Reducing the Opportunity Gap in STEM

June 24, 2021

Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm


The Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis presents the second event in the Community Conservation Series, Reducing the Opportunity Gap in STEM.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis and partners from districts in North St. Louis County have developed a model for how urban universities and urban high schools can work together to begin to reduce the opportunity gap facing disadvantaged underfunded districts. The Collaborative Laboratory Internships and Mentoring Blueprint (CLIMB) Program was created to provide resources and tools for students to have hands-on experiences with university faculty-led research and to understand career pathways in STEM fields.

During this virtual event, program leaders, Drs. Patricia Parker, Miranda Ming, and Rhonda Key will discuss the inception and growth of the CLIMB program. Two student interns will also share how this opportunity has impacted their lives as well as how this program has shaped their future academic and professional goals. Finally, a faculty mentor will provide an example of why UMSL faculty seek out the opportunity to work with CLIMB student interns.

Presenter Contact Information


Community Conservation: The Next Generation of Global Conservation

April 29, 2021

Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Watch Event REcording

The Harris World Ecology Center’s long-term vision is to reverse the trend of biodiversity loss through community education, research, and the training of students who then take on decision-making positions in regions and countries where biodiversity is threatened. As one of the premiere institutions for graduate studies inecology and biodiversity conservation in the United States, the Harris Center is training the next generation of global conservation.

Join us for an inside look at the work of current Harris Center students to understand how the efforts of today can impact the changes of tomorrow. 

With event introduction by Dr. Peter Raven.


Juan Moreira

Juan Moreira-Hernandez | Costa Rica

Juan Moreira-Hernandez is a Costa Rican tropical ecologist interested in the processes behind the origin and maintenance of tropical plant biodiversity. His PhD research focuses on how pollination affects the evolution of reproductive isolation between closely-related plant species in the early stages of evolutionary divergence. He explores this question in the tropical bellflower genus Burmeistera, which is pollinated by nectar-feeding bats in cloud forests of the Andes mountains in South America.

Amanda Wu

Amanda Wu | China

Amanda Wu, from China, is currently studying a range-restricted species of oaks, Quercus acerifolia (Maple-leaf Oak). Maple-leaf Oak is endemic to the Ozarks, with only four known locations that are restricted to mountain ridges, and the existence of this endemic species can be threatened by the gene flow with co-occurring red-oak species. Amanda’s research aims to understand how this rare species maintains itself in the wild using morphological and genetic data.

Patricia Mendoza

Patricia Mendoza | Peru

Patricia Mendoza, from Peru, studies how wildlife trafficking promotes the spread of infectious diseases. Her PhD research focuses on how trafficked wildlife acquire and transmit pathogens that are common to humans and animals. To better understand this system, she is investigating the wildlife markets of Peru, the contact opportunities that favor zoonotic disease transmission in trafficked primates, and the extent of human herpesvirus infections in primate rehabilitation centers.

Sage Rohrer

Sage Rohrer | United States

Sage Rohrer, from Missouri, is studying how genetic and environmental factors can drive microbe colonization in wild birds. Her research focuses on how variation in the host immune system can influence the gut microbiome. She is investigating these patterns in an Endangered island species, the Galapagos penguin, as well as a local species with higher genetic diversity, the Eurasian tree sparrow.