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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
José Cueva Santos
Lead Resident 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.
Zunilda Escalante Arteaga
Lead Research Assistant
Zunilda is originally from the Cusco region, but has been living in Madre de Dios since 2017, when she started her studies on forestry engineering at the Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco - Filial Puerto Maldonado. From the time she was an undergraduate student, Zunilda has been actively involved in a series of research and development projects including reforestation activities in former mining camps and biological monitoring in several national parks in the region. Zunilda got involved with ASA for the first time in 2020, when she performed an independent project on macroinvertebrates. She is back at Finca Las Piedras in 2022, and couldn't be more excited for this new chapter in her professional career.
Academic Programs Coordinator
Marta is originally from the Italian Alps. She is passionate about tropical forests, field-work research,
and conservation. Marta did her undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Padua (IT), where she graduated with a thesis about climate change and the effects on mammals and birds. She then completed an
Evolutionary Biology masters program (MEME). Marta has
worked in a series of conservation and research related programs in Costa Rica, Madagascar, South Africa, Colombia and Guatemala. In the past years, Marta's passion and curiosity about tropical rainforest conservation through community engagement and sustainable social-ecological systems has grown and she is ready to continue her efforts to contribute to these topics in the Peruvian Amazon!
Research Assistant, Lepidoptera
Halle comes from British Columbia, Canada, where she recently graduated from the University of Victoria with a B.Sc. in biology. While she has always had an interest in the natural world, Halle developed a passion for entomology during her undergrad, where she conducted research on flying insect biomass trends within the Cowichan Valley, and assisted in the entomological collections at the Royal BC Museum. Academically Halle is interested in insect taxonomy, life history, and biomass trends, and their use as tools to further conservation efforts around the world. Halle is extremely excited to be contributing to our Lepidoptera project at Finca Las Piedras, and hopes that her work here will be the start of an exciting and meaningful career in entomology.
Yulisa Soto Quispe
Research Assistant, Lepidoptera
Yulisa comes from the Cusco region and recently graduated from the biology department at the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad. She has a deep interest in the world of insects, and how these amazing creatures interact with everything that surrounds them. She has done field work in the cloud forest in Cusco, but it has always been her dream to live and work in the Amazon rainforest, and as such, Yulissa is incredibly excited to now be working with ASA. At the personal level, she enjoys reading and learning new languages.
Research Assistant, Lepidoptera
Manuela is an undergraduate student of Ecology at the CES University in Medellín, Colombia. From an early age, she has been fascinated by insects, and has participated in a series of training opportunities provided by the National University of Colombia where she developed a specific interest for butterflies and their host plants. As an ecology student, she has learned a lot about how positive change is possible when working towards conservation, and she hopes that during her time with the Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon she will be able to enhance her skills in science and applied conservation.
Research Assistant, Lepidoptera
Thalia is originally from Lima, Peru. She recently obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology from the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal. From the time she was an undergraduate student, she has been involved in research related to insects. In early 2020, she was selected by the Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon as a Lepidoptera resident, a training opportunity for undergraduate students in Peru. Since then, she has increased her knowledge of the southeastern Peruvian Amazon by doing research with Arctiinae moths as part of the Wired Amazon project in the Tambopata National Reserve. Thalia is incredibly happy and grateful to be able to return to Finca Las Piedras to contribute to the Lepidoptera project and continue her path as a Lepidoptera researcher.
Alejandra has a B.Sc. in Biology from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Lima, Peru. For her undergraduate thesis, Alejandra is doing research in clay licks use patterns in the Tambopata National Reserve. She has a great interest in conservation biology, environmental justice and political ecology. One of the topics that Alejandra wishes to focus on is functional ecology of birds and plants, and how these two taxa interact with each other. She is very excited to continue her journey as a biologist, and gain more experience in Finca Las Piedras with hopes to contribute to the development of the Madre de Dios region.
Martha Durán is a senior biology student at the University of Campeche, Mexico. She has always been very curious about the natural world and has done research on crustaceans and sea cucumbers in her hometown. She is passionate about science, and hopes that her time at Finca Las Piedras allows her to increase her scientific and teaching skills. Martha also hopes to encourage the local girls to get involved in the study of life sciences and research.
Tadashi is originally from the city of Lima, Peru. He recently graduated from the biology department at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina. He is currently developing a research project on etnobotany. Tadashi has always been fascinated about the Amazon, and specifically, about the world of plants in this megadiverse ecosystem. He has worked at the Tambopata National Reserve participating in its different conservation projects. As part of the ASA team, he hopes to continue learning about the wonders of the forest and to contribute to its conservation.
Ary is from the city of Lima and just finished his undergraduate studies in Biology from the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, with a focus on ecology. Ary has always been amazed with biodiversity in rainforest ecosystems and the relationships between different species, and he hopes to focus his future research on mutualistic interactions, such as insect pollination. Ary is passionate about insects, plant-insect interactions and evolution. He also finds the world of sound fascinating: Ary loves music and bioacoustics, and hopes to invest part of his time doing research in this field as well.
Lucero is from Amazonas, the northern part of the Peruvian Amazon, and is currently a biology student at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina. Growing up in a very diverse environment, Lucero has always enjoyed being in the forest and learning about the different plants and animals. When she started her undergraduate studies, Lucero discovered a special passion for insects and amphibians. Since then, she has been constantly working with both groups of charismatic animals. She has conducted field work in the Junín National Reserve and in the Huiquilla Conservation area in Amazonas. As a Lepidoptera resident with the ASA, she hopes to learn and contribute to the Lepidoptera projects on site, and fulfill her dream of working in the amazing forests in Madre de Dios.
Andrea is a business student at the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru, where she is also part of the student Government body. She has experience as a Content Marketing assistant at Marki, an NGO working in digital transformation of small business. Andrea has also participated in the Hult Prize contest, a global competition that rewards sustainable business ideas created by university students. One of Andrea's goals in life is to start a social business that contributes to the conservation of Peru's natural resources and improves the livelihoods of local communities.
Daniela is a marketing student at the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima. Throughout all her time in school, Daniela has been deeply involved with a series of organizations that promote environmental sustainability. Daniela currently works as a design manager for a student organization called "Sustainable Action", and often collaborates with another non-profit organization promoting healthy life styles among vulnerable populations.