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VICTOR RAMOS

Dr. Ramos is professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, and an independent investigator for CONICET. He leads the study of the Main Cordillera in the Highest Andes, to know the processes and mechanisms of uplift during Cenozoic times; the neotectonic structures, correlation with seismic intraplate activity, orogenic shortening, and seismic risk; potential relationships with mineralisation and hydrocarbon.

Ramos has also pursued a life-long interest in the geological observations made by Charles Darwin in the Cordillera. Ramos has examined the geological theories that Darwin suggested in his writings, and has confirmed that many of these observations were precisely correct, which is an extraordinary feat, considering the knowledge of the time. Ramos also leads the study of the basement of the Andes to dilucidate, the history of the protomargin of Gondwana, ancient ocean closures, and the accretion and amalgamation of the different basement terranes.

PROFESSOR ARMAND LEROI

Armand Marie Leroi was born in New Zealand, grew up in South Africa and Canada, but is a Dutch citizen. After studying in the USA – California and New York – he moved to London, England where he is currently Professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology at Imperial College London, one of the UK’s top universities.  There, he and his team study the nematode worm C. elegans.  Using sophisticated molecular and computational tools, they are currently trying to discover a metabolic recipe to delay ageing in worms – and perhaps humans too.

Leroi’s first book, Mutants, was published in 2003 to critical acclaim and has been translated into 8 languages.  A frequent commentator in print, and on radio and television, he has also written and hosted several documentary series about genetics and evolution for Channel 4 (UK), National Geographic and the BBC.

ANDRES RINDERKNECHT

Andres Rinderknecht started as an amateur collector digging fossils from the cliffs around the Rio de La Plata in Uruguay. He was hired by the National Museum of Natural History in Montevideo in 1992. Currently Rinderknecht holds a degree in Biological Sciences at the Faculty of Sciences. A specialist in vertebrate paleontology, Andres is responsible for the department of Paleontology at the National Museum of Natural History and Anthropology. He has participated in national and international scientific conferences and published several research papers in the area of his specialty.

Rinderknecht and his team discovered fossil evidence of the biggest species of rodent ever found, one that scurried across wooded areas of South America about four million years ago, when the continent was not connected to North America. The skull of this giant creature was researched by Rinderknecht and his colleagues, and was published in “Proceedings of the Royal Society B”. Rinderknecht has since been interviewed by The New York Times, USA Today, the BBC, and other world news affiliates, bringing great publicity to this extraordinary find.

JOHN PARKER

Parker is Professor of Plant Cytogenetics at Cambridge and Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  Parker’s research interests are in the genetics of natural populations of plants, biodiversity and gene flow. He asserts that a fundamental understanding of plant biodiversity is important for conservation processes and understanding environmental impacts. Parker is also Curator of the University’s Herbarium, which contains the best record of the development the British Flora over the last 300 years.

As the curator, Parker oversees the historical preservation of thousands of plant specimens and research data compiled by John Henslow, who was Charles Darwin’s mentor at Cambridge. Henslow taught Darwin how to collect and mount specimens, and some of the first actual specimens Darwin collected in this way are housed in the Herbarium.  This collection is also invaluable for the analysis of the biological impact of climate change such as the impact of increased levels of CO2 on plants.

CARLOS ROMERO

Carlos was born in Quito, Ecuador. When he was four years old he moved with his family to Caracas, Venezuela, where he grew up. The wonders of this beautiful tropical country had a profound influence on his later passion for nature. Carlos returned to Quito to study biology and specialised in the fauna of Ecuador. His field of study was Zoology with particular emphasis on vertebrates. He has what is often deemed a very peculiar favourite: bats. He has become a specialist in this unusual field.
 
Carlos has taken part in various scientific projects and expeditions with the Biological Sciences Department of Quito’s Polytechnic University. He has published several scientific papers, including one about the bats of Galápagos and one about the vampire bat on mainland Ecuador.

During his free time, Carlos works on various scientific projects in ecology, genetics and distribution of various vertebrate species. Carlos's hobbies include drawing; he has illustrated various scientific papers, including the 'Park Warden Manual', used in all the National Parks in Ecuador since 1991. He also studied languages at college, and is fluent in Spanish, English and German. He speaks some French.
 
His interest in conservation biology inspired him to become a naturalist. Carlos worked for five years in the National Parks of the Ecuadorian rainforest, and since 1997 has been working as a naturalist in the Galápagos Archipelago. Carlos has a doctorate in Biology and a Masters in Ecotourism. He designed a new career for the largest University in Ecuador, the Central University. The new career is a Masters in Environmental Management and Administration of Natural Protected Areas and will help produce qualified professionals who are prepared to lead the conservation efforts of this beautiful and diverse country.
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