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

Research Assistant, Lepidoptera

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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Joselin Nidia Cervantes Martínez

Resident in Lepidoptera Research, Finca Las Piedras

Joselin was born and raised in Junin, in the central Amazon of Peru. She studies agronomy at La Molina  University in Lima and has been fascinated by the study of insects for a long time. For four years she has actively led an entomology research club at La Molina, where she promotes a series of entomology-themed events and field trips throughout the country for her fellow students. She is also an entrepreneur and is the founder and CEO of a project called “Ecoagrotourism with Undergrads”, which involves educational experiences with undergraduate students in her native central Peruvian Amazon. Joselyn is keen to gain more experience in entomology in a new part of the country as a resident in Lepidoptera research at Finca Las Piedras and use the knowledge gained to further her academic and professional plans.

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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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Eric Perlett

Resident Naturalist

Eric spent his youth exploring the outdoors, observing wildlife, and reading about the intricate ecosystems and amazing diversity found across the globe, especially those within the tropics. This childhood fascination led him first to Borneo to study peat swamp rainforests and monitor a wide range of biodiversity within them, next to Vietnam where he surveyed the avian diversity of two newly established nature reserves, and then to Madagascar where he studied black-and-white ruffed lemurs. Closer to home in Canada he has contributed to a number of projects including research of wild salmon populations, ornithological studies and research on brown bears­­. Now Eric is putting his diverse experience and skills to use in Peru with ASA, where he hopes to contribute to understanding and protecting Amazonian biodiversity through research and conservation action.

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Nate Duerr

Resident Naturalist

Nate received his B.S. in zoology from the University of Florida in 2018. While at UF he worked in integrated pest management and insect evolution labs, where he discovered the joys of entomology and growing food. He spent his free time in Florida romping through state’s many natural areas, volunteering at animal sanctuaries, and curating the Florida Museum of Natural History’s butterfly and herpetology collections. After graduating, he joined the Peace Corps and served two years in Panama as a sustainable agriculture volunteer, living and working with Emberá farmers in the Darien Gap region. While there, Nate worked with his community to increase production and reduce environmental impacts of coffee farms and home gardens in the area. He is excited to bring his passion for biodiversity conservation and working with communities to combat the threats facing the Amazon in Peru.

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Ashley Ersepke

Intern, Scientific & Biological Illustration

Ashley is a science illustrator from San Jose, California. She earned her B.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology at University of California, Santa Cruz in 2019 where she discovered her passion for science illustration. Some of her projects at UCSC include creating botanical murals at the Thimann Lab and Coastal Biology Campus greenhouses, contributing to a book on endangered species of Santa Cruz county, and collaborating with researchers from the paleogenomics lab and NOAA to illustrate their work. She is fascinated by biodiversity and the phylogenetic relationships between species, and enjoys illustrating the unique natural history traits of all kinds of creatures. Her biggest sources of inspiration come from studying tropical ecology abroad in Ecuador, and simply spending time in nature by camping and hiking. In her career, she aims to highlight the beauty and wonder of the natural world while creating work that can be used for science education and wildlife conservation.

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Naomi Astete

Intern, Marketing

Naomy is from Lima, Peru, where she studied economics as an undergraduate at the Universidad del Pacífico. Since then she has spent much of her time in Junin, a region in the Andes Mountains east of Lima, where she has family. In 2018 Naomi completed a cultural exchange in France where she developed her soft skills such as empathy, communication and autonomy; this experience abroad was an important moment in both her personal and professional development. Currently she is a member of a photography club at her university, and one of her goals is to visit and photograph all the major cities in Peru. Naomy is interested in learning about the importance of the rainforest and helping promote the conservation of the Peruvian Amazon. She hopes to contribute to the growth of ASA and bring all her skills to support the development of the organization.

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José Antonio Amable

Intern, Marketing

José Antonio is an undergraduate student in business administration at the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru. His interest in preserving biodiversity started in high school, where he learned the shocking reality of global warming, deforestation, and other environmental impacts of human activity. Today, although he is still a student, he always tries to make a positive impact in order to help the Earth. For that reason, he has participated in several youth organizations, including Acción Sostenible, where he was a project management member several years ago and more recently served as its financial director. Now, José Antonio is continuing towards his goal of helping the environment and he finds in ASA an excellent way to follow his dream.