Professor Louise Vet, Director Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Louise E.M. Vet is a professor of Evolutionary Ecology at Wageningen University and director of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), the largest institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is an ecologist with a broad interest in ecology and evolution, working on multitrophic interactions. She is internationally well known for her work on parasitoid behaviour and plant-parasitoid interactions. In 1999 she moved from Wageningen University to the NIOO. Here she expanded her research with a new group to initiate studies on the interaction between above and belowground multitrophic systems. Her research involves chemical, behavioural and molecular ecology of plants and insects in a multitrophic and community context. The research ranges from fundamental to strategic: from questions on the evolution of species traits and species interactions within communities to the strategic development of sustainable agro-ecosystems that are primarily based on the prevention of pests and diseases (life-support function of biodiversity).
Dr Ben Phalan, University of Cambridge, UK
Ben Phalan is a Zukerman Research Fellow in Global Food Security at King’s College, Cambridge. His main research interests are in the environmental sustainability of food production: in particular how food production and biodiversity conservation can be reconciled. He uses a range of methods, from fieldwork to global-scale analyses, to explore the consequences of different food production trajectories for biodiversity, and to evaluate potential conservation strategies. His work focuses mainly on developing countries, especially in West Africa, where the multiple challenges of improving food security, maintaining ecosystem services, conserving wild species and finding truly ‘sustainable’ ways of increasing agricultural production are most acute.
Professor Ferdinando Villa, University of Bilbao, Spain
Ferdinando Villa holds a PhD in theoretical Ecology and had a long parallel career as a scientific software designer and engineer. After working in many fields of Ecology he has focused his research at the interface of policy, ecology, economics and computer science, concentrating on artificial intelligence approaches to assist environmental decision making and natural system assessment and valuation. He collaborates with many international institutions and governments on environmental assessment methods and is the author or coauthor of 120+ scientific publications and many open source software packages. He has been the recipient of several million USD from the US National Science Foundation, the European Union, governments and private foundations for projects that integrate novel science with sophisticated decision support method. His most current effort, the ARIES project (www.ariesonline.org) is redefining the field of integrated assessment of ecosystem services and providing new approaches to address the challenge of environmental decision making in the 21st century.
Dr Celia Harvey, Global Challenge and Ecosystem Sevrices, Conservation International, USA
Dr. Celia A. Harvey is an ecologist with 15 years of international experience working on biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture, climate change, and tropical agroforestry. She currently serves as Vice President of Ecosystem Services at Conservation International (CI), where she leads the institution’s research on climate change mitigation, agriculture, food security, adaptation and ecosystem services. She also provides science-based support to climate change policy discussions on REDD+ and ecosystem based adaptation. Prior to her current position, Dr. Harvey was Senior Advisor of Climate Change Initiatives at CI and was responsible for developing and implementing a diverse portfolio of Forest Carbon Projects, building regional and partner capacity in climate change strategies, and providing scientific and technical support to REDD+ pilot projects. From 1999 to 2006, Dr. Harvey was a Professor in Tropical Agroforestry and Biodiversity Conservation at CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) in Costa Rica, where she led the Master’s program in Tropical Agroforestry and conducted field research on biodiversity conservation, farmer decision making and farm productivity in agricultural landscapes. Dr. Harvey has published widely on issues related to biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes and is the co-editor of two books ‘Agroforestry and Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Landscapes’ (Island Press, 2004), and ‘Evaluación y Conservación de Biodiversidad en Paisajes Fragmentados de Mesoamérica’ (INBio 2008). Her current research focuses on ‘Assessing Agricultural Risk Management Strategies among Remote, Vulnerable Communities in Madagascar’, ‘Ecosystem-based adaptation for smallholder and coffee farmers in Central America’ and the ESPA ASSETS project. She holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University.
Professor Guy Poppy, University of Southampton, UK
Guy Poppy gained his DPhil from Oxford University and conducts research in many areas relating to environmental and ecological sciences. He was the director of Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton and managed the move of this large school into a new £45 million Life Sciences Building in 2010. He is currently the University of Southampton’s Director of multidisciplinary research which involves directing 12 university strategic research groups addressing grand challenges as well as the university’s overall multidisciplinary strategy. His personal research portfolio is broad but involves leading a large multidisciplinary team researching ecosystem services with a particular focus on securing food supplies without affecting the quality of the environment. This includes projects in Africa, South Asia and South America where conservation versus agriculture is a major issue (see http://espa-assets.org/). He has regularly participated in the public understanding of science and is passionate about educating people and especially the next generation about science and the environment.