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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.

Ferdinando Villa

Ferdinando Villa

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.
Ken Bagstad

Ken Bagstad

Researcher

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.
Stefano Balbi

Stefano Balbi

Researcher

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).
Marta Pascual

Marta Pascual

Researcher

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.
Ainhoa Magrach

Ainhoa Magrach

Researcher

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.
Kii Hayashi

Kii Hayashi

Professor

I am Professor at Nagoya University, Japan, and at the Institute of Materials and Systems for Sustainability ( IMaSS). My work mainly focuses on ecosystem services mapping and assessment and renewable energy related issues. I also manage the Environmental Symbiosis and Ecology System Cooperation Laboratory under the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University. I majored in energy and environmental assessment and policy including ecosystem services mapping.
Zuzana Harmáčková

Zuzana Harmáčková

Researcher

I’m a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stockholm Resilience Centre, focusing on ecosystem services, scenarios of future development in social-ecological systems and resilience variables. Previously, I did my PhD at CzechGlobe – Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, working on multiple types of ecosystem-service assessments, including modelling ecosystem services trade-offs for local landscape planning in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the Czech Republic and mapping ecosystem services for the purposes of ecosystem accounting (SEEA-EEA) in Kyrgyzstan. I have been involved in the IPBES Regional Assessment for Europe and Central Asia and IPBES Assessment on Diverse Conceptualization of Values of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Enrico Girotto

Enrico Girotto

Developer

I’m a software developer, born in Italy and living in Basque Country, with more than 20 years of experience. I started developing web pages at the beginning of the web 2.0 revolution. After that, I have been teaching computer science and developing in several programming languages and with different technologies, from digital newspaper to traffic applications, from mobile app to business intelligence. This journey has allowed me to join the ARIES team in March 2018 as front-end and back-end developer.
Steven Wohl

Steven Wohl

Developer

I have a degree from State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry in Environmental Studies and a background in forested ecosystems. I have previously worked as a research engineer at INRA Bordeaux on projects related to Water Relations and Ecosystem Functioning. There we designed, constructed and performed experiments with gas exchange systems using stable isotopes and trace gases. These experiments better inform the scientific community about process related to water and carbon dioxide exchange between plants, soils and the atmosphere. Before that I worked in Australia as a senior engineer during the construction and design of the Eucalyptus Free Air Carbon Enrichment at the Hawkesbury Institute of the Environment. The experiment exposes a native forest with trees of up to 25m to 550 ppm of carbon dioxide. The results will provide information about how a native forest in Australia store and respire carbon dioxide in a future with even high levels of carbon dioxide. I have also previously worked on the Duke University North Carolina Free Air Carbon Experiment and in New York for Brookhaven National Laboratory as a research assitant.

Alba Márquez Torres

Alba Márquez Torres

Modelling and Remote Sensing

I graduated in Environmental Science and I hold a Master’s degree in Geomatics, GIS and Remote Sensing (Optic, LiDAR and SAR). My work focused on finding creative and innovative solutions to environmental problems through the use of Remote Sensing and GIS analysis. Since 2011 I have collaborated with several institutions and research groups as CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) in Barcelona, CTFC (Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia) in Solsona or ERSAF (Assessment and Restoration of Agricultural and Forest Systems) at the University of Cordoba and on international institutions as ELSA team (Environment Life Cycle and Sustainability Assessment) at École SupAgro of Montpellier. During the last 3 years, I have worked in a private R&D company supported by Córdoba University called IDAF (Centre for Research Applied to Agroforestry Development). I have managed, led and developed projects related to forests and cartography. I’ve given specialization courses on LiDAR.
Yuwei Wu

Yuwei Wu

Modelling

I have an education background in Remote Sensing, GIS and Hydrology. And I have been training in several practical MOOCs about ArcGIS real case applications offered by Esri. I have also been working as an assistant in Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) during the Stockholm World Water Week (WWW) in Sweden.
I do have a great passion and interest in working in environmental modelling and geo-spatial analysis. Currently I am part of the ARIES team in the research line of integrated modelling of coupled human-natural systems, specialized in working with hydrologic modelling of Water Strategy for Ecosystem Services in water supply and demand, spatial hydrologic process, sediment regulation, and flood regulation.

Akif Ortak

Akif Ortak

Modelling and Remote Sensing

I am a research assistant at BC3. I graduated in Geomatics Engineering at the Istanbul Technical University. I worked as GIS and remote sensing specialist for the ITU Research and Application Center for Satellite Communications and Remote Sensing (CSCRS) for almost four years. I have been involved in different projects such as CORINE (a Land cover/use project of European Environment Agency), and agricultural projects about yield estimation. My last project before joining the ARIES team on February 2019 was about web mapping high-resolution satellite imagery with open source solutions.
Ángel Giménez

Ángel Giménez

Modelling

I am graduated in Mathematics, doctor in Astrophysics and I hold a master’s degree in Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering. I’ve also worked as a software developer for two years.
As a modeler of Ecosystem Services at BC3, I am enthusiastic about using models that help us to better understand nature and, in so doing, promote its conservation.

Unai Álvarez

Unai Álvarez

Modelling

The Academic career of Unai Álvarez Rodríguez can be traced back to the obtention of his degree in Physics (2011), followed by a Masters degree in Theoretical Physics (2012). After the formation period, he started doing research in Quantum Information, the field where he got the PhD in late 2016. During his first Postdoc (2017) he started an exploration process that took him to the area of Complex Systems. He is currently funded by the Postdoctoral Program of the Basque Government, with a project for applying the knowledge of networks and complex systems in the study of socio-ecological phenomena.

Ainhoa Azkarate

Ainhoa Azkarate

Project manager

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.
Simone Langhans

Simone Langhans

Researcher

I am a Marie-Curie Fellow separating my time between the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand and BC3. I hold a Diploma in Natural Sciences, a MSc in Advanded Studies in Secondary and Higher Education, and a Doctor of Sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), Switzerland. Throughout my academic career, I have constantly broadened my expertise by joining research groups around the world, working in Switzerland, Italy, Australia, Germany, and New Zealand. Besides academia, I have experience working within government settings, having led the Swiss-wide development of river quality assessments for a few years after my PhD.

 

Alessio Bulckaen

Alessio Bulckaen

Project manager

I hold a Msc in Economics, and I worked as economic and financial analyst for several years in the energy sector. During this period, I supported the commercial and contractual negotiations of the Mamba Project (ranked 4th largest gas project worldwide), and modelled and conducted financial screening of incoming projects in the Global Business Development unit of Galp (former national O&G Portuguese company). I immediately understood while working in this sector that sustainability was the most interesting area for me. I completed a post-graduate course in Sustainable Energy Systems at MIT Portugal. Later I worked as Climate Finance Analyst for Aenergy, an African company. During this experience I had the chance to develop a project related to Natural Capital Accounting (NCA), which aims to integrate the economical contribution of ecosystems’ services into the standard national accounting, to improve political decision-making. In the future this is also expected to serve as a standard for private companies to evaluate the ecological impact of their activities. I joined this team to support the integration of NCA into ARIES, a project commissioned by the UN. The work we are developing will hopefully become the reference tool for integrating NCA assessments worldwide.

Amelia Ochoa

Amelia Ochoa

Project manager

I am a Fundraising graduate with scientific communication experience across private, public and third sector. I am the communication and training manager of ARIES. In charge of creating and coordinating the different activities within the Communication Plan, updating the project’s website and related tools, managing the production of supporting materials, etc.

 

Past Collaborators

Brian Voigt


Brian Voigt is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. He works on the development and application of computer-based systems for modeling land-use change and the interaction between humans and their environment.

 

David Batker


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.

 

Elena Pérez Miñana


Elena Pérez Miñana holds a PhD in Computer Science and was a postdoctoral researcher at BC3 from 2012 to 2015.

 

Gary Johnson


Gary Johnson holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Vermont.

 

Ioannis N. Athanasiadis


Ioannis N. Athanasiadis is an Assistant Professor with the Information Technology Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He investigates complex environmental applications of computer science and the enabling role of computer science for investigating nature.

 

Javier Martínez López


Javier Martínez López is a Biologist who works at the Soil and Water Conservation research group at CEBAS-CSIC.

 

Jennifer Harrison-Cox


Jennifer Harrison-Cox served as Managing Director of Earth Economics from 2009-2013, and pioneered Earth Economics’ cloud-based Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit.

 

Luke Scott


Luke Scott is a Software Engineer who works as a consultant and developer in Seattle and the Bay Area, USA.

 

Marta Ceroni


Marta Ceroni is executive director of the Donella Meadows Institute.

 

Maya Kocian


Maya Kocian has worked as a Research Analyst at Earth Economics since 2006.

 

Miroslav Honzak


Miroslav Honzak is the Senior Advisor of the Global Change and Ecosystem Services Program at Conservation International (CI).

 

Octavio Pérez Maqueo


Octavio Pérez Maqueo received his PhD degree from the Instituto de Ecología, A.C. in Mexico, where he presently works as a researcher.

 

Rosimeiry Portela


Rosimeiry Portela is an Ecological Economist/Senior Director for the Science and Knowledge at Conservation International (CI).

 

Simon Willcock


Simon Willcock is a Lecturer in Environmental Geography at Bangor University, United Kingdom. His research interests focus on the interaction between people and nature; including monitoring, modeling and mapping natural resources and their use to help achieve sustainable use, with a particular focus on African tropical forests, food security and migration.

 

Tarik Fissaa


Tarik Fissaa worked as a Postdoctoral researcher and programmer at the Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3). He received a Master degree in Computer Science and Telecommunications from the Faculty of Science Rabat, Morocco in 2011 and a PhD from ENSIAS Engineering School in 2018, University of Rabat, Morocco. He was a research and teaching assistant at the university of Rabat. His research interests include Context Aware Systems, semantic web and AI.

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