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Honorary Members

Viviana Granado

Professor Viviana Granado is the honorary executive and the neotropic chapter head for species ecology. Viviana is a professor of Environmental Management at the Faculty of Sanitary Engineering, University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. She also serves as a professor of Physics and Chemistry Elements at the Department of Health Sciences and coordinate biology courses at José C Paz’s University. Viviana is an independent environmental consultant and founding partner of Ruca Rumel service company. She is specialists in climate change, environmental management, renewable energies and household waste. Her development projects also focused on environmental enrichment, animal behavior and research in monkeys in the zoo. She is particularly interested in biodiversity, forest and chronic environment issues in developing nations. Viviana thinks it is important to focus on working at environmental education at any levels (formal or informal) so as countries, especially the ones that are developing countries such as Latin Americas, can preserve valuable resources like flora and autochthonous flora, native forest and its faunal diversity, water, lands and the air. She is optimistic that it is possible to achieve this through political and citizens’ commitment to sustainable development. She holds a graduate degree in biology with specialization in environmental science from the University of Buenos Aires.

Luna Khirfan

Luna Khirfan

Luna Khirfan is Assistant Professor at the School of Planning, the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. She received her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan in 2007 and since then, her research has focused on urban planning and urban design in the context of Middle Eastern cities. She investigates the cross-national transfer of planning knowledge particularly, the transfer of sustainability concepts from Toronto to Amman and from Vancouver to Abu Dhabi. She also investigates urban governance in Middle Eastern cities especially, in Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan with particular emphasis on mega developments, inequality, and mobility. Additionally, her research addresses the challenges that face historic cities as they adapt to meet the needs of their residents and to mitigate the pressures of tourism. In that regard, Luna’s more recent interests address issues related to climate change in coastal regions particularly, with regards to urban design. Luna was a Visiting Fellow at Columbia University Middle East Research Center in Amman during 2011-2012, a Visiting Scholar at the Amman Institute for Urban Development during 2010-2011, and a Fulbright Scholar between 2007-2009. Luna serves as honorary executive and chapter head for both nearctic and palearctic ecoregions of species ecology.

Patti Sowka

Patti Sowka

Patricia A. Sowka, aka Patti is the honorary adviser and nearctic chapter head for the species ecology. Patti has specialized in prevention of human-bear conflicts for over 13 years and is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Bear Specialist Group Human-Bear Conflicts Expert Team. She founded the Living with Wildlife Foundation in 2003 to find proactive solutions to prevention of human-bear conflicts. She also became an integral part of the Inter-agency Grizzly Bear Committee Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program when she developed a comprehensive protocol for testing bear-resistant products. She coordinated all aspects of the testing program through September of 2012 and continues to coordinate the Information and Education portion of the testing program. In addition to working with the general public to prevent conflicts, Patti has organized several human-bear conflict workshops for bear management specialists in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Canada. In 2012, Patti was instrumental in organizing the 4th International Human-Bear Conflicts Workshop that was held in Missoula, Montana. More than 300 people attended and several countries were represented. Patti produces the Living with Predators Resource Guides, a comprehensive, four-volume set of references containing information related to predator conflict avoidance. The guides are available for download at no cost through the Living with Wildlife Foundation web site and are being utilized in many countries around the world. She managed the State of Montana’s wildlife rehabilitation center between 2006 and 2009 where she specialized in care and release of orphaned bear cubs. Patti now works with Northland Products, a plastics molding company in Arizona, to develop new, bear-resistant products to address specific issues related to securing of bear attractants.

Veronica Eady

Veronica Eady

Veronica Eady is Vice President of Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice with Conservation Law Foundation, a New England-based environmental advocacy group that uses law, science, policy making, and the business market to find pragmatic, innovative solutions to solve environmental problems. She joined CLF after spending nearly five years in Berlin, Germany working as a consultant specializing in environmental justice and human rights on global, national, and local levels.. Prior to her move abroad, Veronica was Associate General Counsel and Director of Environmental Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a non-profit civil rights law firm in New York City. Over the years Veronica has served a pivotal role in the US environmental justice movement. As Massachusetts’ Director of the Environmental Justice and Brownfields Programs she authored the state’s Environmental Justice Policy, the third such policy in the nation. She also chaired the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s prominent advisory committee for environmental justice, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Veronica has held appointments on several faculties, including Europe-Viadriana University in Frankfurt Oder, Germany, Tufts University in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Fordham Law School, and Stanford Law School. She has authored several papers and has worked on behalf of communities and environmental organizations around the world, including in India, Nepal, Kenya, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Russia, and Bolivia. Veronica Eady is the honorary executive nearctic chapter correspondence of species ecology.

Atri Shaw

Dr. Atri Shaw is honory member of Species Ecology and she is representing the Indo Malaya Ecoregion focusing tropical and semi tropical ecosystems across South and South-East Asia. Shaw did her Ph.D. at prestigious Forest Research Institute Center : part of Indian Institute of Forest Management based in Bhopal. Her Ph.D. theis focused on “Assessing Vulnerability of Tropical Forests to Climate Change and Mitigation Strategies in Marwahi, Central India”. Prior to her Ph.D. she acquired Masters of Science (MS) in Environment Management from Forest Research Institute at Dehradun in India. Her academic expertise predominantly focused on remote sensing and GIS (Geographic Information Science) applications in Indian context for nearly decade.

Shaw’s work focused on application of remote sensing with the purpose of eco-based natural resource management and climate change related projects, for example, assessing the spatial and temporal land cover changes, forest cover and forest type modeling across tropical India. Shaw is also involved in collection of various primary and secondary ecological data that aid her to prepare geospatial layers which have potential to reveal critical ecological and anthropogenic drivers stemming from deforestation and land degradation in India. She provides assistance in reconnaissance surveys at the project sites for monitoring and evaluation of changes and assessing the vulnerability of the area of interest for project planning, implementation and monitoring. She is also actively involved in remote sensing and GIS training to various state forest departments and universities across India.

Shaw’s down time revolves around woodland hike to learn further from nature. She loves reading both scientific journals and fictional novels.

Robert Hewat

Robert Hewat

Robert Hewat is a sustainable development and natural resources management practitioner with 25 years’ experience working in Melanesia, Indonesia and Australia. Robert is the honorary executive of Species Ecology and the chapter coordinator and the key corresponded of the Australasia including the Pacific Islands. He has experience working with many different types of organizations, ranging from indigenous organizations and small local NGOs through to major international NGOs, bilateral & multi-lateral aid organizations, universities and research institutions, government agencies and a wide range of multinational resource companies. His interests and expertise spans ethno-ecology, community-based natural resource management, indigenous empowerment, government and civil society strengthening, sustainable economic development, environmental and social impact assessment and management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as the development of traditional arts and cultural heritage management. He has particular expertise as an inter-cultural and inter-sectoral engagement strategist and facilitator, with a particular focus on building alliances for mutual prosperity between governments, communities, civil society and the private sector. He is also a passionate advocate for the utilization of traditional ecological knowledge in planning for sustainable development, natural resource management, and climate change adaptation, with a particular interest in raising understanding of the world-views of indigenous people, women and other marginalized groups. He is also highly passionate about the arts & cultures of Indonesia and Melanesia and the rights and well being of the people of the region, as evidenced by his lifelong commitment to volunteering his services with local NGOs and indigenous representative organizations.

Alfredo Quarto

Alfredo Quarto

Alfredo Quarto is the honorary executive and the global ambassador for Species Ecology. Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Mangrove Action Project, is a veteran campaigner with over 28 years of experience in organizing and writing on the environment and human rights issues. Formerly an aerospace engineer, his experiences range over many countries and several environmental organizations, with a long-term focus on forestry, indigenous cultures, and human rights. Prior to MAP, he was the executive director of the Ancient Forest Chautauqua, a multi-media traveling forum with events in 30 West Coast cities on behalf of old-growth forests and indigenous dwellers. Alfredo has published numerous popular articles, book chapters, and conference papers on mangrove forest ecology, community-managed sustainable development, and shrimp aquaculture. He lives in Port Angeles, Washington and is conversant in Spanish.

Vanda Mendonca

Currently a member of the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Commission on Ecosystems Management, Vanda Mendonca has been a Research Associate of the Centre of Marine Sciences, University of the Algarve (Portugal) for the past 15 years. She is relocating to Alberta in Canada where she expects to continue contributing to knowledge in the field of ecosystem conservation and restoration. Vanda is an honorary adviser and the North America chapter coordinator for the Species Ecology. Vanda will be serving as a North America correspondence along side her role as an honorary adviser and chapter coordinator for the Ecoblogs. She was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Zoology by the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, after which she was Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of the Algarve in Portugal, Advisor for Environmental Affairs and Wildlife Conservation for Oman Government, Honorary Lecturer at the World Learning, US – Study Abroad facility in Oman, and Consultant for several governments and corporations. Vanda is a lead co-author of research papers in Wetlands Ecology, Conservation and Restoration, and uses a Quantitative Ecology approach to study spatial and temporal variations of biodiversity and adaptation to change, to model ecological processes, and to study ecosystem functioning in both natural and restored wetlands.


Mohammed Ashraf

Mohammed Ashraf, is a wildlife ecologist, with academic interest broadly focused in the areas of statistical and mathematical modeling focusing wildlife science, conservation biology and ecology in general. Ashraf is particularly engrossed in understanding the ‘resource utilization pattern of the sympatric mega-vertebrates that are facing global extinction crisis in tropical and semi-tropical belt. He preaches, ‘Wildlife Science’ is a veritable smörgåsbord of mathematical algorithms, software engineering (non capitalistic market share of course), political ecology, eco-sociology, evolutionary ecology, ethno-cultural studies and philosophy. He permeates with ‘hawk-on-chick’ eyes in these areas of the discipline so that he can sustain an absolute ‘green water’ global citizenship status. Ashraf has published over dozens of academic scientific papers in international journals and most of his work focused on carnivore ecology in general and wild tiger conservation in particular. When he is not reading, he foots the bill by  tweaking Linux commands, learning the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD-UNIX and forget AT&T copyright) server and its mechanisms ‘under the hood’, collecting Californian wine (no kidding) and writing ‘codes’ in R, Python, Scilab, Maxima and other high level programming languages by hitting the nail in the head (quite a twist huh!). His favorite cartoon is ‘The Life and Time of Tim’. He worships Grace Kelly (1929-1982) and Peter Falk (The Columbo) and he goes ‘Neapolitan’ listening his favorite song writer Alanis Morissette, Johnny Cash (Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down) and Hank Willams (I saw the light) 

Founding Partner

Megan Barry is the founding partner of the Species Ecology. Megan is also a North America chapter coordinator and the key correspondence of the planetary science that neatly ties the astronomy, mathematics, physics and ecological science together across the conservation chessboard. As a native Californian, Megan has earned considerable academic and practical experiences that broadly falls under mathematics, astrophysics, paleontology, earth science and conservation ecology. Graduated from University of California, Santa Barbra, she majored in physics with particular focus on the astrophysics and astronomy: two mega disciplines that are closely link with earth science and planetary ecology. Her academic research interest is multi-dimensional bridging chapters of ‘past mass extinction’ and how these gigantic astronomical cataclysms are significantly linked with the pressing question of ‘what’s going in the global environmental today, be it climate change or accelerated rate of natural disasters. Megan is currently teaching and delivering presentations and lectures on astronomy and ecological science in museums, schools and summer camps where wildlife conservation and education remain major topical themes. She will soon pursue her graduate masters in astrophysics followed by her PhD in this remit. She is an avid ornithologist, a passionate felid conservationist and a global ambassador to bring about mega-vertebrate con education across the continents. Her hobbies are drawing, reading and video games. She has a cat called Mayaa, a parakeet called Mango and an exotic fish.

Professor Viviana Granado

Professor Viviana Granado is the honorary executive and the neotropic chapter head for species ecology. Vivi is also the founding partner of the site. She  is a professor of Environmental Management at the Faculty of Sanitary Engineering, University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. She also serves as a professor of Physics and Chemistry Elements at the Department of Health Sciences and coordinate biology courses at José C Paz’s University. Viviana is an independent environmental consultant and founding partner of Ruca Rumel service company. She is specialists in climate change, environmental management, renewable energies and household waste. Her development projects also focused on environmental enrichment, animal behavior and research in monkeys in the zoo. She is particularly interested in biodiversity, forest and chronic environment issues in developing nations. Viviana thinks it is important to focus on working at environmental education at any levels (formal or informal) so as countries, especially the ones that are developing countries such as Latin Americas, can preserve valuable resources like flora and autochthonous flora, native forest and its faunal diversity, water, lands and the air. She is optimistic that it is possible to achieve this through political and citizens’ commitment to sustainable development. She holds a graduate degree in biology with specialization in environmental science from the University of Buenos Aires.

Indo-Malaya Chapter

Deepa Hazrati

Deepa Hazrati is the Indo-Malaya chapter member and South Asia (notably Indian Subcontinent) of Species Ecology. Deepa is also ‘marginally’ responsible to look after our Nearctic chapter Chapter. In this remit, she has been working with United States India Education Foundation (USIEF)-integrating the cross-cultural, socio-ecological and economical affairs between India and North America, including Canada. Deepa is currently living in an interphase between Canada and India and juggling with dual career responsibilities that encompass her environmental project commitments with ‘Networked Intelligence for Development’- Tornoto based ‘not-for-profit’ environmental organization. Deepa holds triple combination of academic degrees. She first attained BS in Science and then her MS in Environment Management. Her Masters dissertation explored the inter linkages between human population, water resource and quality of life of women in rural India. After her graduate masters, she attained post-graduate M.Phil. (Masters of Philosophy) in Science Policy from the Center for Studies in Science Policy at Jawaharlal Nehru University-one of the most prestigious university in India. Her M.Phil. research focused on investigating International Financial Institutions’ (notably World Bank) underlying financial framework and motivation to fund irrigation associated technologies in South Asia. Deepa will bring environmental education focusing India and other sustainable development based multilateral project summery to enrich the content of Species Ecology.

Palearctic Chapter

Nadia Samak

Nadia Samak

Nadia Samak is an academic adviser and Arab section coordinator for the Palearctic chapter of Species Ecology. Nadia is research assistant at Petroleum Research Institute, in Egypt. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Institute of Process Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China. Nadia holds masters’ degree in biochemistry from the faculty of science, Cairo University, Egypt. She has received award to join the “Scientists for Next Generation” Program of Scientific Research and Technology in Egypt. Nadia possess strong commands in the field of structural biology as she attended many international workshops and seminars in these areas of science. She ceased further opportunity to receive internship at Japanese Synchrotron Radiation Facilities, Tsukuba, Japan. Nadia is interested in the applications of synchrotron light and structural characterization of biological systems. She also had the opportunity to take training program at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia. She works as an assistant editor at many international journals such as journal of forest product and industries, journal of applied and industrial sciences and international journal of advance industrial engineering. She also works as teaching assistant at Science Valley Academy. Nadia is the human resource manager of Islamic World Young Scientists Academy. Her hobbies are reading, traveling, playing violin, and photography.

Karlina Indraswari

Karlina Indraswari is the member for the North East Asia section of Palearctic chapter of Species Ecology. She is also our North East Asia correspondence considering her conservation and academic expertise strongly grounded to Japan. She is currently doing her Ph.D in Ecology at Queensland University in Australia. Karlina received her Masters degree in Biology from Kanazawa University in Japan. Her Masters’ research focused around Japan’s Satoyama landscape. Satoyama is Japan’s traditional agricultural landscape where she made scientific attempt to devise an agro-biodiversity based conservation plan in order to bring about harmonious and sustainable relationship between humans and nature. She feels the main problem with satoyama is it is decreasing (habitat shrinkage, degradation and fragmentation) due to the high demand for agricultural productivity. Karlina’s academic interest also focuses on population ecology and in this direction she has conducted demographic study in association with Kanazawa University. She has developed calling index of frogs to asses the impacts of different management techniques of Satoyama landscape, quantified the ecosystem services and pollination interactions around the same area and estimated the distribution of black bear around Kanazawa University campus. Currently, Karlina serves as a research officer for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and her work focused on Global Comparative Study of REDD+ in Indonesia. Prior to join CIFOR and now Species Ecology, she worked with World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia.

Ghadeer Khuffash

Ghadeer Khuffash

Ghadeer Khuffash is the executive director at Luminus Group in Jordan. Ghadeer is Middle East Asia correspondence of the Species Ecology. She is a civil engineer who started off her career in the construction management field and then joined the education sector as math and geometry teacher at the International School of Choueifat Damascus in Syria. She served two years in that schol. She also served as a student life coordinator at the International School of Choueifat in Amman, Jordan for four years. She then moved to work at DAI- an international development company based in Washington DC that designs and implements development projects and operates from international branches across the continents. Ghadeer recently joined Luminus Group- an organization that owns several companies that focused on education for employment and training solutions. Luminus owns a community college, a vocational training center, an English language training center and a media college. Luminus focused on creating courses that are directly linked to the market with mainstream job opportunities in the Middle East Asia context. Environment and sustainability have always been incorporated into Ghadeer’s roles and responsibilities. Her vision and boundless passion deeply rooted into work with multi stakeholder NGOs, private sector and international organizations that focused on linking environmental issues with the economic and business activities hence to create employment opportunities in the ‘green-water’ sector. Her vision and work ethic deeply lies in educating students- enabling them to maximize their full potential to work in this highly demanding multi disciplinary environmental and sustainability fields. Ghadeer’s daughter, Layla is the youngest Jordanian writer registered at the Ministry of Culture who wrote a book of ten short stories, one of which was on environment. Ghadeer’s second daughter, Sarah, helped in drawing the pictures that were published in the book “Think About It” in the year 2008.

Nour Habjoka

Nour Habjoka

Nour Habjoka is the Section Coordinator for the Palearctic Chapter. Nour is a technical adviser currently working for the German International Cooperation (GIZ) in Amman, Jordan, specializing in participatory management of groundwater. Although her educational background lies in agricultural and plant sciences, she has been working in the field of water conservation and ‘valorization’. She is interested in water-related issues like water and climate change interactions and believes in collective responsibility towards natural resource management. She spends her free time with friends and reading.

Samaa Tallimah

Samaa Tallimah is the chapter coordinator of the Palearctic Arab section of Species Ecology. She has been working as a registrar at Giza Zoological Garden in Egypt since 2008. She is part of a team that looks after the data base management of the garden, website design (, Facebook page of Giza Zoological Garden and creating species information boards. Samaa holds a bachelor degree in Business Administration from Cairo University, Egypt. She has a passion for wildlife especially arachnids or commonly known as spiders. Samma believes that nature is part of who we are. She is interested in ecological education for the community. Her wildlife and ecological interest are focused on conservation of agricultural lands that posses high agro-biodiversity in Egyptian landscape. She is hoping to work for the noble cause of recovering species from extinction threshhold and subsequent reintroduction of mammals that are either extinct or facing extinction crisis in Egypt. Samma enjoy reading, walking in the woodlands, photography and socializing with her friend.

Naoko Kimura

Naoko Kimura

Naoko Kimura is both an academic adviser and chapter coordinator for the North East Asia section of Palearctic chapter of Species Ecology. Naoko is researcher at Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability, Kyoto University and International Consortium on Landslide (ICL), Japan. She received master of arts in Education, Gender and International Development from Institute of Education, the University of London in 2004. Naoko’s main interest areas are awareness-raising in water resource management, climate change, risk communication, and the use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to bridge science and ordinary people. She worked for lake basin management projects and various projects related to water resource management and governance in collaboration with governmental and non-governmental bodies. Currently, she is researching on risk communication and awareness-raising as well as data analysis with Geographic Information System (GIS) for hazard mapping in two bilateral projects for risk identification and disaster mitigation in Croatia and in Vietnam. She also have been conducting case study researches on radioactive decontamination project and volunteer works in tsunami hit areas.

Hanadi Bader

Hanadi Bader

Hanadi Bader is the section member for the Middle East Asia Arab region for the Palearctic chapter of Species Ecology. Hanadi’s research and academic interests broadly focused on gender, environment, water (including waste water treatment) and sociological study in the Middle East Asia context. She holds combination of degrees all sharply pointed towards the full suits of socio-environmental spectrum that integrates gender mainstreaming in water sector and participatory holistic approach in natural resource management where gender (notably women) is the pivotal key element. She holds master degree with a specialization in gender and development from Birzeit University, Palestine. Her graduate thesis focused on gender and development in Palestinian territory context and her honors bachelor degree combined the medical technology and the epidemiological research on gender and environmental issues. She also holds an internationally accredited diploma in development design & management for Middle East from Pavia University, Italy. Her hobbies are photography, traveling, music, nature walk and reading. She realizes that wildlife is a great gift and our responsibly is to keep it.

Dina Ala'Eddin

Dina Ala’Eddin

Dina Ala’Eddin is a columnist for the Middle East Arab section of Palearctic chapter of Species Ecology. Her professional works revolves around civil society and community development in Jordan. As part of her job she harness the opportunities to disseminate the environmental education and awareness among different stakeholders and community groups in Jordan with main thrust targeted towards younger generation. She feels Jordan as a semi-arid biome poses practical socio-ecological setbacks compounding with economic challenges, when it comes to raising conservation and environmental awareness among people. Dina nevertheless overcomes these setbacks with her graceful and amicable social gesture and diligent endeavor hence she attempts to do her best to deliver scientific information that young people can absorb with little difficulties. Despite the fact she holds a bachelor degree with honors in computer science, she topped her undergraduate with graduate masters in ‘environmental technology and management’ purely due to the fact that she has developed an immense and avid interests on biodiversity conservation and natural resource management in semi-arid ecosystems. Dina is inherently eco-centric hence often driven by the intrinsic values of the nature and its wisdom.

Maysa Al-Khateeb

Maysa Al-Khateeb

Maysa Al-Khateeb is the Arab (notably Middle East) section member of Palearctic Chapter of Species Ecology. By profession Maysa is a public health expert with combine academic and professional expertises in international epidemiological project management and clinical nursing sectors. She posses an excellent track records both in terms of her long term collaborative associations with international donor organizations under the broader rubric of United Nations Fund. In this remit, she has achieved considerable technical and academic expertise in public health and biostatistical science (data science of epidemiology) which brought her into prestigious associations with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in which she serves as a project management specialist. Maysa also monopolize her time and brain child to actively represent public universities in Middle East, various non-profit international funding and research organizations and UN agencies. Over the course of more than decade Maysa tirelessly worked in the direction of environmental health and its implications on greenhouse gas (notably fossil fuel based carbon) emissions-attributed to global temperature rise across the hemispheres. Her current projects prioritize environmental health issues under humanitarian crisis and its policy implications focusing climate change mitigation strategies in Jordan context.

Neotropic Chapter

Fernando Pedrosa

Fernando Pedrosa is the chapter coordinator for the Neotropic ecoregion of Species Ecology. Fernando is a veterinary doctor from the University of Buenos Aires with considerably vast experience in native and exotic wild fauna. He was a teacher in the area of Medicine and production of Aquatic and Terrestrial Fauna, Faculty of Veterinary Science from the University of Buenos Aires. He was an advisor at the Zoological of Buenos Aires. Fernando has been delivering courses and seminaries at various academic circles in Argentina for the past several years. He also gave an international course on Internal Medicine on Exotic Animals in the Zoological of South American Fauna at Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia. Fernando took part in the investigation project on Predatory Birds from the Zoological in Argentina. He developed different tasks as a veterinarian as well as in rehabilitation and reintroduction of aquatic birds, reptiles and native mammals at the Natural Reserve Association North Shore in San Isidro, Buenos Aires. Fenrndo is the veterinary director of the Zoological `Yku Huasi´, located in Buenos Aires, since 2005. At present he is an advisory on the Strategic Plan for the new Zoological Station in Santa Fe, Argentina. He is the founding partner of Ruca Rumel, which is a company specially dedicated to create ecological spaces decorated for the well being of animals. At the Veterinary Medical School in Buenos Aires, he performs the charge of coordinator in the Specialist Committee of Wild and nontraditional Animals. Because of his training and specialty, Fernando has a great interest in the well being of wild fauna but also in conservation issues, wildlife trade, irresponsible possession and mascotismo of wild animals. That is why he spread all this issues through the different national media, regional and local levels.

Joanna Acosta

Joanna Acosta-Velázquez is the Neotropic chapter coordinator of Species Ecology. Joanna is currently doing her PhD in Ecology and Sustainable Development at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Mexico. Her thesis is about patterns of spatial heterogeneity of ecological types of mexican mangroves in geomorphological contrasting systems. Joanna received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Guadalajara and a Master of Science in Environmental Management from CIAD-Mazatlán. Her research works are related to mangrove ecology, management and conservation of tropical coastal ecosystems, land-use changes, geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing. She worked six years (2006-2011) for the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) in remote sensing data analysis for coastal monitoring at national scale. Joanna was the leader of the National Mangroves Inventory with her project “The mangroves of Mexico: present state and establishment of a long-term monitoring program: 1st stage”. She has experience in mapping mangroves and other coastal wetlands and land uses with optical sensors across Mexico. Joanna flew all Mexico’s coast in helicopters to validate national inventory and generate aerial digital photos of the mangroves.

Federico Bondone

Federico Bondone is the Neotropic chapter member of Species Ecology. Federico is a graduate veterinarian at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina and his research work pivots around unconventional pets and wildlife medicine in neotropical context.Federico has extensive experience as a conservation ecologist and an environmental educator, having been active in various protected areas and conservation projects in Argentina. He has given numerous trainings in biology, management and rehabilitation of wildlife and lectures for the general public on various issues related to the ecology and environment. Since 2001 he is tirelessly volunteering at the Asociación Ribera Norte: an NGO dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity in coastal environments of the River Plate. He is also currently serving as a vice president in this remit. His interests include conservation medicine, environmental restoration, wildlife management and working man’s approach to nature.

Afrotropic Chapter


Mohamed Kambi

Mohamed Kambi is the chapter head for Afrotropic ecoregion of Species Ecology. Mohamed’s inter-disciplinary research interests lies in social-ecological system dynamics, community-based natural resources management, linkages between poverty and natural resources, human-environmental interactions in contemporary environmental, wildlife and climate change aspects in East Africa context. For decade, he has been involved in various research projects i.e. wildlife ecology, climate change, forest governance, human dimensions, food insecurity, environmental migration, scenario and policy analysis to name few. Mohamed is deeply involved in developing research protocol with various organizations, universities and research institutions such as Pennsylvania State University, University of Massachusetts, Frostburg State University in the USA, and United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security in the Germany to name few. Over this period of time, Kambi has developed practical skills on conducting household surveys, participatory research approach, field interviews, community mobilization, and translation from Swahili to English and vice versa, and collection of socio-economic data on various research areas in Tanzania including the Mara region.

General Members

Gonçalo Prista

I, Gonçalo Prista, graduated in Marine Biology in 2007, with a degree project about the ecological status of the Óbidos Lagoon, west of Portugal. After I moved up north, to the University of Aveiro, where I developed research in ecotoxicology, studying the impact of the water treatment station of Guia, near Lisbon.

In March 2008 I embraced a project in the Archipelago of Bazaruto, Mozambique, creating a preliminary report regarding the implementation of bungalows in Bangué island. To do so I had to characterize the ecosystem that surrounds this small island, where dugongs are the main marine mammals, although some cetacean species are also found. Whale sharks and manta rays are other of the major diving attractions.

After this amazing experience I went back to Portugal and, in 2009, I picked up with my graduate project and started to develop real studies regarding the ecological status of the largest coastal lagoon of Portugal. Several environmental issues exert a strong negative effect in this coastal ecosystem. In the past pottery plants represented the main industry of this region and waste treatment wasn’t performed. The lagoon suffered heavy contamination from heavy metals. Agriculture also increased the environmental pressure, ensuring that through rivers and soil leaching processes, increased amounts of nutrients and organic compounds found their way into the lagoon. Although some of these problems have been solved over the last two decades, eutrophication and metal pollution are still part of this unique ecosystem

In 2010 I decided that working with ecotoxicology, although in theory it was one of my major interests, it had too much lab work and we had to kill too many animals (to perform toxicological tests and trace metal analysis). So I wasn’t feeling happy with my daily activities. I completely change my line of work, and moved to the University of Salamanca, Spain, integrating a team researching soil moisture and water resources. I learn a lot about the impact of human activities in water quality and availability. But again, although highly interesting, it just wasn’t fulfilling me.

I decided to put a stop in all these adventures and go back to Lisbon, to my parents home. I had been away for 6 years, so it wasn’t very easy to make this choice. I came back, applied for a master degree in Marine Sciences and started working with the dolphin populations of the South of Portugal, doing marine surveys and photo ID.

The master I was attending had a very interdisciplinary character. It merged together 4 departments: biology, geology, chemistry and physics. Actually this was the main reason why I choose it. I thought I needed to learn more about other marine sciences then biology. And through some discussions in classes and my strange creativity, my master thesis was born. I started my master program in September 2010 and, although the first year is supposedly only for classes, I started working in my thesis in December of the same year. I had to take astrophysical classes I look up for a supervisor on that field. I studied the evolution of sirenia in Europe during the Cenozoic (last 65 million years (Ma)) and a possible connection between the galactic environment and Earth climate. Sirenia inhabited European shores between approximately 47 Ma and 2.5 Ma. During this period European and global climate suffered major changes. I tried to understand how the climate evolution conditioned sirenia evolution and their final disappearance. At the same time I developed a mathematical model to estimate the galactic radiation variations that reached Earth’s atmosphere during the last 100 Ma and observe if there was a visible signal on Earth climate variations. (Regarding sirenia I can share my findings, since they are published. Respecting galactic environment and Earth climate I’m must keep it to myself for now, because the articles are still not published, sorry. But they will be this year)

Since then I have continued working with climate evolution of the Cenozoic, galactic environment and Earth climate and impact of climate evolution on biodiversity evolution. The only thing that changed is that now I’m using planktonic species for my research. I left my marine mammals for good. I just started my PhD at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon in paleoceanography. I now associate with Species Ecology to promote my works and be part of ecologic and scientific community.


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