The ARIES team
We are an international network of scientists working to build and apply ARIES toward conservation and development challenges from local to global scales. We collaborate with a diverse group of scientists and practitioners from governments, NGOs, academics, and the private sector. Our core development team includes experts across diverse fields, ranging from computer science and ecology to economics and the social sciences to geography and policy.
Project leader, Ikerbasque Research Professor at BC3
I started out as a theoretical ecologist and had a long parallel career as a scientific software designer and engineer. After working in many fields of ecology, from theoretical island biogeography to spatially-explicit decision analysis, I discovered the joys and pains of interdisciplinary research during a 15-year stint in ecological economics at the universities of Maryland and Vermont. After moving back to my beloved Europe for a tenured position in 2010, I still find it a challenge – and a responsibility – to maintain scientific depth unaltered in face of a greatly increased breadth. My research sits at the multi-faceted interface of linguistics, computer science, social science, ecology and economics, concentrating on artificial intelligence approaches to assist environmental decision making and natural system assessment and valuation. I have collaborated with many international institutions and governments and authored or coauthored 150+ scientific publications. I still spend time coding, and have authored a number of major open source software packages. I have been the recipient major research grants from the US National Science Foundation, the European Union, The UK NERC, UNEP-WCMC and other institutions and NGOs, all aiming to contribute to the science of coupled natural/human systems and to build effective technologies for decision makers that take sound science and “democratize” it by putting it at the fingertips of decision makers worldwide.
I’m a Research Economist with the U.S. Geological Survey, working with the USGS to account for nature’s value in decision making by U.S. Federal government agencies, and serving as co-PI on a project to develop natural capital accounts for the United States. From 2015-2016 I was a Senior Environmental Specialist with the World Bank’s Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) program. As part of this work I have helped lead teams developing natural capital accounts for Rwanda, Costa Rica, and Colombia, and have also advised the United Nations Statistics Division on revisions to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts/Experimental Ecosystem Accounts. Since 2010, I have partnered with agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and USDA Forest Service on ecosystem service assessments at sites across the U.S. Since 2007, I’ve served as a lead modeler for the Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES) program, and led the comparative analysis of ecosystem services using multiple other assessment tools. I hold a PhD in ecological economics from the University of Vermont.
I am a community ecologist with a research emphasis on the effects of human activities on biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the delivery of ecosystem services. Throughout my career I have combined the study of forest fragmentation, selective logging and agricultural expansion across temperate and tropical locations. I am particularly interested in the use of pollinators as model systems, due to their key role in ecosystem functioning by mediating plant reproduction of both wild and crop plant species.
I am a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics where I work primarily on the development and application of computer-based systems for modeling land-use change and the interaction between humans and their environment. Other research interests include: ecosystem services and natural hazards, addressing existing and emerging environmental issues through participatory modeling and spatial analysis, and creating knowledge to facilitate improved environmental management. My current research topics include modeling freshwater ecosystem services and the spread of infectious disease in Tanzania, modeling environmental trade-offs resulting from alternative development patterns in Chittenden County, Vermont, quantifying the value of clean water in the Lake Champlain Basin, and exploring impacts on recreation from oil, gas and potash development in the Moab, Utah region.
I am a Research Fellow at BC3. Since completing my Master’s in Environmental Economics, I’ve been studying interactions between human and natural systems from a holistic perspective, in which theories and approaches from both social and environmental scientific practice are integrated to overcome disciplinary boundaries and provide more accurate representations of behaviors, spatial dependencies and temporal dynamics. This emphasis led me to pursue a Ph.D. in Analysis and Governance of Sustainable Development and to direct my interests towards cutting edge research in human geography, making use of computationally intensive, non-equilibrium methods to explore the complexity of social-ecological systems (SES).
Ioannis N. Athanasiadis
I am a Lecturer in Environmental Geography at Bangor University, United Kingdom. My research interests focus on the interaction between people and nature; including monitoring, modelling and mapping natural resources and their use to help achieve sustainable use, with a particular focus on African tropical forests, food security and migration. Examples of my past work include two Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation () projects (namely Attaining Sustainable Services from Ecosystems through Trade-off Scenarios () and Which Ecosystem Service Models Best Capture the Needs of the Rural Poor (WISER)), and the (which aimed to improve knowledge of the ecosystem services provided by the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania, of their contribution to human welfare, and to find solutions to managing these services in a sustainable way).
I am a postdoctoral researcher with 6 years of professional experience in different lines of marine and coastal research applied to Marine Spatial Planning (MSP); ecosystem services mapping, modelling, and valuation; Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM); and Biological Valuation (BV). I have participated as a researcher in the following projects: MESMA (Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas); BIZKAIZET (Catalogación de las áreas de especial interés para la conservación de los cetáceos en el golfo de Bizkaia); PERSEUS (Policy-oriented marine Environmental Research for the Southern European Seas); CoCoNET (Towards COast to COast NETworks of marine protected areas); GEF project: Integration of climatic variability and change into national strategies to implement the ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean; DG-MARE Assistance Mechanism for the Atlantic Action Plan – Spanish Focal Point. My current research interests are focused on ecosystem services mapping, modelling and evaluation using the ARIES and k.LAB tool; as well as in spatial planning management, socio-economics, equity, governance, decision-support tools and the implementation of European directives (WFD, MSP and MSFD). My work has also succeeded in publications in international peer-reviewed journals.
I am a Biologist with a MSc on Freshwater Ecosystems Management and Assessment (University of Murcia, Spain) and a MSc on Environmental Engineering and Consulting (EOI – Escuela de Organizacion Industrial, Spain). In 2014 I received my PhD in Ecology on the topic “Modelling and establishment of plant indicators of ecological status for semiarid mediterranean saline wetlands” from the Ecology and Hydrology department of the University of Murcia. My main research topics are landscape ecology, remote sensing, ecosystem services and spatio-temporal ecosystem modeling using several open source programming languages, such as R, Python and GRASS GIS. I have worked on several projects, such as the ‘Integrated Modelling for the Sustainable Management of the Mar Menor lagoon’, the ‘Application of the European Water Framework and the Natura 2000 Network on the Segura Basin’ and the ‘Millenium Ecosystem Asessment in Spain.’ I also coordinated several international environmental projects as a project manager at ttz-Bremerhaven, Germany. I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission working in Ispra, Italy, on the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA) developing spatial biophysical habitat models and indicators for monitoring the state and pressures of protected areas globally (eHabitat+). Currently I am working at BC3 (Basque Centre for Climate Change) for the ARIES and AQUACROSS projects.
I work on communication plans for Climate Change and Ecosystem Services Knowledge Dissemination at BC3, the ARIES project’s host institution. I have a degrees in Political Sciences and Sociology (University of Deusto), an MBA in Executive Management (University of Deusto) and a Master´s degree in International Trade (University of Deusto and Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Shipping of Gipuzkoa). I came to BC3 following 15 years working in managerial, marketing and sales positions at various major Basque companies.
I’m a Software Engineer from Seattle, USA, with over 10 years of industry experience prior to returning to academia to complete a Masters program in Computer Science at the University of Luxembourg with a focus on Intelligent Systems and Green IT. I received my B.A. in Economics at The University of Washington and have since worked as a consultant and developer in Seattle and the Bay Area.
Elena Perez Miñana
Elena Perez Miñana holds a PhD in Computer Science and was a postdoctoral researcher at BC3 from 2012 to 2015.
Dave Batker is the Executive Director of Earth Economics, a non-profit he founded in 1998 that applies ecological economics to land use planning and policy around the globe.
Gary Johnson holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Vermont.
Jennifer Harrison-Cox served as Managing Director of Earth Economics from 2009-2013, and pioneered Earth Economics’ cloud-based Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit.
Marta Ceroni is executive director of the Donella Meadows Institute.
Maya Kocian has worked as a Research Analyst at Earth Economics since 2006.
Miroslav Honzak is the Senior Advisor of the Global Change and Ecosystem Services Program at Conservation International (CI).
Octavio Perez-Maqueo received his PhD degree from the Instituto de Ecologia, A.C. in Mexico, where he presently works as a researcher.
Rosimeiry Portela is an Ecological Economist/Senior Director for the Science and Knowledge at Conservation International (CI).