About our team

The Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon works in partnership with Alianza para una Amazonía Sostenible Perú, a Peruvian non-profit organization. The following people work together as part of our international team to conduct research, education, and conservation at our main field site Finca Las Piedras, as well as throughout the Cusco and Madre de Dios regions in Peru.

 

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Geoff Gallice, Ph.D.

Founding Member & President of the Board, ASA

Geoff received his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Florida, where he studied Neotropical butterfly ecology and conservation. In particular, he explored rarity among Amazonian butterflies and the factors that might cause a species to become threatened. Since then he has continued to conduct ecological research and applied conservation projects mostly in the Peruvian Amazon, where he directs the Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon. He is also a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University in Lima, Peru, where he teaches courses on natural resource management and conservation. Geoff is very passionate about nature in southeastern Peru and is working hard to promote effective, science-based solutions to the region's daunting environmental challenges. 

View Geoff's CV here

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Johana Reyes, M.A.

Founding Member and President of the Board, Alianza para una Amazonía Sostenible Perú

Johana Reyes is a community social psychologist from Lima, Peru. She has worked for 15+ years in Peru’s most disadvantaged communities along the coast, in the Andes and, most recently, as the co-founder and director of ASA Peru in the country’s Amazon region. Her work has focused on education, human rights, and capacity building in both urban and rural communities, and she is especially passionate about creating significant learning experiences that empower people to take charge of protecting their environment. Johana directs the ASA’s education and community outreach efforts in Peru, where she works to protect the Amazon alongside those who are its current and future leaders.

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Timothy Perez, Ph.D.

Founding Member of the Board & Secretary, ASA

Timothy is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of British Columbia researching biomass production in forests and their responses to climate change. Timothy holds a B.Sc. in botany from the University of Vermont and earned his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Miami. Tim’s dissertation focused on the heat tolerance of tropical plants and how they can be used to predict the high-temperature limits of species ranges and growth responses of tropical trees. Tim is broadly interested in understanding how ecophysiological adaptations of tropical plants influence patterns in plant diversity, biogeography, and their responses to climate change. He has participated in research projects throughout the US, Canada and Latin America including Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru. Aside from being a hopeless plant nerd, Timothy is also interested in promoting science through experiential education and teaching others about important conservation issues that threaten tropical biodiversity.

 

View Timothy's CV here.

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Bhavik Pathak

Founding Member of the Board & Treasurer, ASA

Bhavik became interested in biodiversity as a high school student, when he had to collect insects for his freshman biology class. Today, although during his day job he's something of a computer geek, he remains committed to the protection of wild nature through his work with the Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon. Bhavik has developed a wanderlust, and enjoys exploring new, exotic places, including in the Amazon rainforest of southeastern Peru.

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Erik Iverson, M.SC.

Founding Member, ASA Scientific Advisory Board 

Erik Iverson is a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin. Erik has a background in ornithology, landscape ecology, and animal behavior, and has worked for the US National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Nature Conservancy, among other organizations. Through research in Ecuador, Australia, and South Africa, Erik gained an understanding of tropical ecology and conservation issues and a diverse set of field skills. He joined ASA in Peru in 2017 as the first Academic Programs Coordinator, helping to establish the internship and volunteer programs as well as monitoring protocols for plant phenology and animal abundance. His current research investigates the adaptive significance of genetic variation among animals, explaining how the functions of different genes have contributed to patterns of speciation, hybridization, and specialization for different habitats. Study systems of interest include Andean and Amazonian birds as well as swordtail fishes from the Mexican highlands. He has a master's degree in Environmental Biology from Tulane University.

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Dave Klinges

Founding Member, ASA Scientific Advisory Board

Dave Klinges is a PhD student at the University of Florida and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. As a “full-stack” ecologist, his work ranges from tropical fieldwork to building data curation pipelines, hierarchical modeling, and ecological forecasting. His research program is an exploration of how land use and climate change influences the ecological structure, biodiversity, and microclimate of complex tropical landscapes. Current projects include measuring community shifts of canopy-dwelling amphibians due to forest degradation in Madagascar, quantifying uncertainties in carbon stocks of coastal wetlands, and modelling thermal connectivity in space and time globally. Dave’s first involvement with ASA was as a Resident Naturalist in 2017, during which he helped develop biodiversity monitoring (specializing in herpetofauna) at Finca las Piedras. Now as a member of the Scientific Advisory board, Dave is excited to help advance the growth of ASA’s research and conservation work in Madre de Dios.

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Riley Fortier

Member, ASA Scientific Advisory Board

Riley is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Miami. His experience in tropical forests includes working as a naturalist guide and assisting with botanical research in Costa Rica, studying soil nutrients and plant reproductive output in Panama, and helping teach tropical ecology and conservation in the Peruvian Amazon. As a plant ecologist, Riley is broadly interested in how tropical forests respond to anthropogenic change. He is especially interested in secondary forest succession, how plant phenology shifts due to environmental change, and defaunation. Riley is also passionate about conservation and disseminating his work to a broader audience through photography and writing.

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Gualberto Guerra Vargas

Head of Maintenance, Finca Las Piedras

Gualberto Guerra was born and raised in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Throughout his life he and his family have lived in harmonic co-existence with the Amazon rainforest that is their home. Together, for instance, they manage several hundred hectares for the sustainable extraction of Brazil nuts, not only contributing significantly to the family's income but doing so in a way that protects the forest and the long-term viability of the harvest itself. Gualberto is a very curious person and enjoys learning as much as he can. His years spent in the rainforest also mean he is very knowledgeable about local plants and animals; luckily, he is also very keen to share what he knows with residents at Finca Las Piedras. He does an incredible job of overseeing the maintenance of our various agrofroestry plots and we are fortunate to have him as a member of our team from ASA's beginning.

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Consuelo Alarcón

Academic Programs Coordinator

Consuelo graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco, in Peru. Her research interests are the systematics, evolution, and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles. She has participated in multiple studies and scientific expeditions in both the Peruvian Amazon and Andes. For her undergraduate thesis, she studied the phylogeny of snakes in the genus Oxyrhopus, for which she received grants to visit the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, the Museum at the University of Michigan, as well as collections throughout Peru. She is currently completing her M.S. at John Carroll University, USA, where her thesis aims to understand the relationship between the historical climatic stability of South America and the patterns of distribution by ecological specialization in Pseudoboini snakes. Her concerns on climate change made her become an activist, founder and CEO of Qosqomposta, a composting project in her hometown of Cusco.

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Thalia Corahua Espinoza

Lead Research Assistant, Biological Research & Monitoring

Thalia is from Madre de Dios and has a degree in Forestry and Environmental Engineering from the Universidad Nacional Amazónica de Madre de Dios in Puerto Maldonado. She is passionate about the rainforest, its wildlife, and its biodiversity, especially Amazonian plants and the insects they are associated with. Academically Thalia is most interetested in plant taxonomy and plant-insect interactions. She is thrilled to contribute to research on Amazonian Lepidoptera diversity and biology and to learn more about the rainforest and how it functions. When not studying plants and insects Thalia enjoys exploring her home region of Madre de Dios. When she's not sure where to wander next, either in her travels or in life, her motto is 'Follow your principles and your dreams, they know the right way'.

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Calum Maclure

Research Assistant, Lepidoptera

Calum comes from Aberdeen, in the northeast of Scotland. He has always been interested in wildlife, particularly insects, which led him to study ecology at the University of Aberdeen. There he conducted his honors thesis on aquatic invertebrates and how they are affected by pollution and urbanization. After graduating with his B.Sc. he gained a position as an ecologist with BirdLife Malta, where he was responsible for carrying out ecological surveys of nature reserves on the island. This role primarily involved surveying insects, especially butterflies, moths, and dragonflies. He is very excited to now study Lepidoptera in the world’s most important biodiversity hotspot, gain experience with new species, and boost his career as an insect ecologist.

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Joseph See

Lead Naturalist

Joseph's introduction to the Amazon was as a Resident Naturalist for ASA in 2017. One of his projects during this time was a study of butterfly species diversity and host plant relationships at Finca Las Piedras, which led to ASA's first publication describing the caterpillar and life history of a  butterfly species found at the site, the first for the species. Since returning as Lead Naturalist in late 2019, he has been involved in mentoring other young scientists and continuing his work to understand more about insects in the Amazon. Joseph also works on our biodiversity inventories, agroforestry projects, and media creation. He always keeps a keen naturalist eye on all sorts of natural history happenings in the forest.

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José Cueva

Lead Naturalist

José is from the northern Peruvian region of Piura, where he grew up and first developed a travel itch and a fascination with the natural world. He came to the Amazonian region of Madre de Dios several years ago and, after working for several other regional NGOs, took a job with us at Finca Las Piedras as our head chef. That's when José's passion for birds really took flight—he would spend every available minute in the rainforest observing and taking photos of rare birds and other creatures, quickly becoming an exceptional ornithologist. We are thrilled to have him back with us, now as a Lead Naturalist, to continue to develop his skills as a field biologist and conservationist, and to contribute to the ASA's research, reforestation, and education projects.

José's position is supported by our partner organization, the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER), where he is also a Conservation Fellow.

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Bill Hawthorne

Resident Naturalist

Bill is a recent graduate from Eckerd College in Florida, USA, where he received a B.S. in biology and a minor in psychology. Bill’s research interests lie within the field of physiological ecology. While at Eckerd he conducted research on the physiological tradeoffs in water snakes and did his undergraduate thesis on the immune effects of a parasite on a protected species of snake. In addition to his duties related to ASA's ongoing projects at Finca Las Piedras Bill is working on an independent study of the effects of selective logging on tree frog populations. Through all of this Bill hopes to contribute to our understanding and, ultimately, the conservation of the the Amazon, the most biodiverse place on Earth.