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Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP)

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Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports design and implementation projects studying functional biodiversity in the context of unprecedented environmental change. Projects must integrate cellular, organismal, ecological, evolutionary, geological or paleontological approaches.


The biodiversity found in nature is essential for healthy ecosystems and human well-being. However, the disruption and decline of Earth’s biodiversity is currently occurring at an unprecedented rate. The resulting shifts in biodiversity dynamics-- including changes in the scope and structure of biodiversity-- are increasingly significant but not well-understood. Shifting biodiversity dynamics in turn influence functional biodiversity, which includes the roles of traits, organisms, species, communities, and ecosystem processes in natural systems. Changes in biodiversity dynamics and functional biodiversity are essential factors for future planetary resilience under environmental change, including climate change. The connection between functional biodiversity and biodiversity dynamics on a changing planet is the main focus of the Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP) program. The program encourages proposals that integrate pattern- and process-based research approaches in the context of the constant gain, loss, and reorganization of biodiversity on a changing planet. To advance a comprehensive understanding of functional biodiversity requires a highly integrative approach - including consideration of spatial and temporal dimensions from the organismal to the ecosystem level and from recent to deep timescales. The program therefore places a strong emphasis on multidisciplinary research among climatic, geological, paleontological, ecological, organismal, phylogenetic and evolutionary sciences. 

The BoCP program is a cross directorate and international program led by NSF that invites submission of interdisciplinary proposals addressing grand challenges in biodiversity science within the context of unprecedented environmental change, including climate change. Successful BoCP proposals will test novel hypotheses about functional biodiversity and its connections to shifting biodiversity dynamics on a changing planet, with an emphasis on integrative research into the complex intersections among climatic, geological, paleontological, and biological processes. Integrative research is likely to combine multiple perspectives--including organismal, species, ecological, evolutionary, phylogenetic, geological, and/or paleontological approaches-- at various scales. Proposals that seek to improve predictive capability about functional biodiversity across temporal and spatial scales by considering the linkages between past, present, and future biological, climatic, and geological processes are also encouraged. While this focus complements several core programs at NSF, it differs by requiring an integrative approach to understanding functional biodiversity as it relates to shifting biodiversity dynamics under changing environmental conditions.

The program supports both US-only collaborative proposals and proposals with international partnerships with the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) of Brazil, and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. International collaborative proposals are to be submitted jointly, with the US PIs submitting to NSF and the collaborating Chinese, Brazilian, or South African PIs submitting to their appropriate national funding agencies. These agreements do not preclude other international collaborations (see below for additional details).

Program contacts

Matthew D. Carling
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-2134 BIO/DEB
Jean X. Gao
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-7253
Rebecca Gast
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-2356 GEO/OPP
Maureen M. Kearney
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-8239 BIO/DEB
Kendra Mclauchlan
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-2217 BIO/DEB
Andrea Porras-Alfaro
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-2944 BIO/DEB
Dena M. Smith-Nufio
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-7431 GEO/EAR
Colette M. St. Mary
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-4332 BIO/IOS
Daniel J. Thornhill
biodiversity@nsf.gov (703) 292-8143 GEO/OCE

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