Researcher biography

Since I was a teenager, I have volunteered for different environmental organisations in my home country Mexico. I supported actions towards the conservation of biodiversity such as awareness raising campaigns to stop illegal trade of howler and spider monkeys from the rainforest in South Mexico. I also helped protect the nests of olive ridley and leatherback sea turtles along the Pacific Coast. After graduating as a biologist with an emphasis in ecology, my first approaches to conservation research were focused on understanding soil microfauna interactions with the purpose of developing projects to stop soil erosion in the arid ecosystems in North Mexico.

Through those experiences in academia and in collaborating with NGOs, it became more evident for me how social factors are not only the main drivers of biodiversity degradation, but also fundamental for achieving conservation objectives and improving people’s welfare. In light of the above, I studied a Master of Environmental Management, where I investigated the influence that ecological degradation factors have on vulnerable social groups, specifically Indigenous people. 

For my PhD, I am using the ecosystem services concept to integrate the different components and interactions that link the capacity of ecosystems to provide services to the requirements and desires demanded by people. The goal is to integrate these components into a spatial conservation planning design that helps identify the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services provision and distribution of these ecosystem services to beneficiaries.