Scientific Advisory Board

Prof. Enrique A. Crespo

Prof. Enrique A. Crespo received his PhD from the University of Buenos Aires in 1988. He is currently a senior researcher at the National Research Council of Argentina and Professor of Ecology at the University of Patagonia. He has been a member of the Cetacean Specialist Group (SSC, IUCN) since 1987 and Species Conservation Coordinator for Latin America since 1997. He has been a consultant to UNEP and UNDP. He has participated in research and conservation projects in South America and Europe and has received 44 national and international grants from many organizations for research, organization of meetings and workshops, and training of collaborators. He was vice director of the Centro Nacional Patagónico. He has been advisor to 7 doctoral students (+ 7 in progress), 2 master's students and 23 undergraduate students. He is author or co-author of 61 scientific articles on marine mammals of the region published in international journals, 23 book chapters and many working papers and technical reports for international meetings. He has been invited to serve on the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission and is co-author of the Action Plan for the World's Cetaceans, 2002-2010. He has organized numerous meetings and workshops to address marine mammal conservation issues at the regional level for the Franciscana, South American sea lions and other seabirds and mammals of the Patagonian Sea, and he has served on the Advisory Board of YAQU PACHA since its inception in 1992.

Dr. Sonja Heinrich

Sonja is a marine biologist at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where she organizes and teaches a globally unique Masters course in Marine Mammalogy. Her research interests include stock assessment, distribution and coexistence of overlapping species, and habitat conservation and protection of seals and cetaceans, especially coastal small cetaceans. Sonja completed her studies at the University of Cologne (Biology), and the University of Otago (New Zealand) with degrees in Zoology and Oceanography (Masters). In New Zealand, she studied population dynamics, behavior, and tourism impact on a rare native sea lion population. Her PhD then took place at the University of St Andrews (UK), with research project in South America. As part of her PhD, she founded the Chiloé Dolphin (Small Whale) Project in the Chiloé Archipelago in southern Chile in 2000, which she still directs today. The Chiloé project has successfully evolved into the first long-term study of the conservation ecology of Chilean dolphins, Peale's dolphins, and Burmeister's porpoises in a region where intensive salmon and shellfish farming have led to many lasting ecological and social problems. Project results such as determining population sizes of dolphin species, their site fidelity, habitat use, and the effects of negative human impacts on the ecology of native species contribute significantly to the designation of important protected areas and the development of coastal use plans. Sonja regularly supervises student research, participates in scientific meetings, and advises government and private organizations on conservation issues related to cetaceans. When teaching and research at the university exceptionally leave some free time, Sonja enjoys giving talks on small cruise ships and guiding tour groups in the Arctic and Antarctic. She is the founder of YAQU PACHA Chile and has been on the advisory board of YAQU PACHA for over 20 years.

Prof. Marila Lázaro

Marila is a professor at the Department of Science and Development of the Faculty of Natural Sciences in Montevideo, Uruguay and has been on our advisory board for many years. As a biologist, she has conducted studies on the ethology and population structure of marine mammals. She has also conducted an environmental education project with children of small-scale fishermen to raise awareness about the accidental capture of the Franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei). She holds a PhD in Philosophy, Science, Technology and Society from the University of the Basque Country. The topic of her doctoral thesis is "The culture of science and social participation in environmental problems". Marila has been supervisor of 9 undergraduate students (+ 1 in progress), is supervisor of 2 master's students in Environmental Education and Ethics, and is one of the members of the first doctoral committee on the human dimension in the conservation and management of natural resources. She coordinated a consensus conference on nuclear energy in Uruguay (2010), a mechanism for public participation in science and technology. Marila is founder of SIMURG, a non-governmental organization promoting the social appropriation of science and art through projects that encourage citizen participation in the creation and use of knowledge. She is a member of the Regional Advisory Boards of the Global Greengrants Fund and has long served on the Advisory Board of YAQU PACHA.

Prof. Eduardo Secchi

Prof. Eduardo Secchi

In 1989, I was in the second year of my studies in Oceanography and I decided to dedicate myself to the study of marine mammals. At the end of 1991, I received my degree from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande FURG (Federal University of Rio Grande) in Rio Grande, southern Brazil. From 1991 to 1999, I was head of the Marine Mammal Laboratory at the "Museu Oceanográfico" (Oceanographic Museum) of FURG, and since 1992/93, I have been leading a long-term project to assess the impact of bycatch on the Franciscana dolphin. Both my Master's degree (1999 at FURG) and PhD (2006 at the University of Otago in New Zealand) and my postdoctoral fellowship at Flinders University (Australia - 2014) focused on the population dynamics and viability of the Franciscana. For this research, I was awarded the first prize for the best research paper on aquatic mammal conservation in South America in 2000 and the Oliver Peason's Award from the American Society for Mammalogy in 2007. In parallel, I have led several research projects on the ecology and conservation of other marine megafauna species and their ecosystems in Brazil and Antarctica. These medium- and long-term projects have resulted in more than 160 publications in peer-reviewed journals and many other non-peer-reviewed papers. These publications provided contributions to genetics, population dynamics, fisheries interactions, stock identity, modeling, and other areas relevant to the conservation of these species and their habitat. My mid-term goal is to propose measures to reduce the impact of fishing-related mortality on the fate of Franciscana and other coastal cetacean populations, while enabling local communities to sustain their livelihoods through responsible use of natural resources (in this case, fish). My long-term goal is to better understand the dynamics, habitat requirements, and threats to other marine megafauna species and to identify trends in Franciscana and other species. My ultimate goal on the Advisory Board is to build capacity in human resources. I have been a professor at the Institute of Marine Science at FURG since 2006, and I also direct the Laboratory of Ecology and Conservation of Marine Megafauna(ECOMEGA) at the same university, where I have supervised several undergraduate, master's, doctoral, and postdoctoral students from Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. From 2002 to 2007, I was Editor-in-Chief (now Editor Emeritus) of the Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals and serve as an ad hoc reviewer for many scientific journals in Brazil and abroad. I was president of the Latin American Society of Aquatic Mammals - SOLAMAC (2015-2016). I am a member of the Cetacean Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 1997, Level 1 Research Fellow of the Brazilian Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Vice Rector for Research and Graduate Studies at FURG since 2017, and currently Chair of the Conservation Committee of the Society for Marine Mammalogy. He has been on the Advisory Board of YAQU PACHA for many years.

Dr. Alexandre N. Zerbini

Dr. Alexandre N. Zerbini holds a B.Sc. in biological oceanography (1992) from the University of Rio Grande, Brazil; an M.S. in zoology (1998) from the University of São Paulo, Brazil; and a Ph.D. in fisheries and aquarium sciences (2006) from the University of Washington, USA. He worked as a marine mammal biologist at the Oceanographic Museum" Prof. Eliézer de Carvalho Rios" in southern Brazil (1992-1995) and was an associate professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of Itajaí (1996-1999), where he lectured on marine mammal biology and ecology. He has published more than 45 scientific papers and book chapters and has participated in or coordinated research projects in Brazil, Antarctica, the United States, the Cook Islands, New Caledonia and the Caribbean. Zerbini is currently a research officer at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA in Seattle, USA. He is also scientific director of Instituto Aqualie, a nonprofit organization in Brazil. Zerbini was a consultant to the Brazilian Environmental Agency in 1998-99 and has been a member of the IUCN Specialist Group on Cetaceans since 1998 and a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission since 2000. He is a member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy and the Latin American Society for Aquatic M ammals, an editorial board member of the Latin American Journal of Aqu atic Mammals, and a reviewer for several international journals and research organizations and advisory board member of YAQU PACHA.

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