Sophia Richter ’23


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Project Title

Estimating the Recovery Potential of Threatened Species

Presentation Link

View Sophia's Presentation

My project focused on identifying the remaining habitat of threatened animal species to gauge the need for conservation action before these animals are extinct. My mentor used fine-resolution satellite mapping to identify the area of habitat (AOH) within a species’ range that matches their required habitat conditions. Using these AOH data, I identified 2,488 species with too little habitat remaining to recover without ecosystem restoration. A small habitat area can increase the risk of extinction. I also conducted a pattern analysis among species with a small AOH to identify the countries and regions in which they occur. We can use this information to identify the species and regions for which habitat restoration and conservation will be the most impactful. After conducting my data analysis, I contributed to a manuscript on these findings that will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. I learned about how species are classified by their risk of extinction and how to help endangered species. I also gained technical skills by working with spatial data and improved my scientific writing skills. I hope to continue with independent research on conservation, and I have also begun to think more seriously about research as a career.

Internship Year


Project Category

Biodiversity and Conservation


Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE), School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University


David Wilcove, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs and the High Meadows Environmental Institute; Rebecca Senior, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and C-PREE