Melanie McField is the Director of the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative (HRI), a multi-institutional effort to track the health of the reef ecosystem, the human choices that shape it, and our progress in ensuring its long-term integrity. Since 2006 Melanie has been employed by the Smithsonian Institution and serves on a number of national and international marine conservation committees. She has lived and worked in Belize since 1990; first as a field biologist with the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (and Peace Corps volunteer), then with the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, and later with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Melanie’s PhD (2001) from the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida explores the role of disturbance events and the impact of marine protected areas on coral reef community structure in Belize. She received the first International Society of Reef Studies Coral Reef Ecosystem Science Fellowship to support this research.
Melanie has published numerous scientific manuscripts, book chapters and technical reports on topics ranging from coral bleaching to coral reef monitoring methods, marine protected areas and coral reef management. She has also been featured on several television appearances including the TODAY show, National Geographic, MSNBC, Animal Planet and the BBC. She lives in Belize City, Belize.
Marisol Rueda Flores
Marisol Rueda Flores is the Mexico Coordinator for the Healthy Reefs Initiative and is based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. She earned her degree in Biology from Morelos State University in 2004 and later completed her Masters imn Science on Marine Resource Management in 2007. She studied blue whales and collaborated as research assistant in different projects from population structure, fatty acids and isotopic change of several cetaceans as well as the geochemistry in the Gulf of California. She has participated in diverse programs focusing in the ecology and biology of marine invertebrates and their substrates, cetaceans, sea turtles, tortoises and vegetation in different countries like Mexico, Costa Rica and Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Her drive is sharing information with other people and has been a passionate scuba diver since 1999. Her favorite hobbies are photography and extreme sports.
Ian Drysdale is the Honduras Coordinator of the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative. He is in charge of data collection, AGRRA training, as well as the development of partner relations and other outreach and media efforts in Honduras. Ian has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering (Catholic University, Honduras) and is currently writing his thesis for a Sustainable Development master’s degree (La Plata University, Argentina). His passion for reef conservation began back in 1997, when, alongside his fellow classmates, was invited to participate in an AGRRA (Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment) training course in Cayos Cochinos. Over the years he has worked on different projects with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Conservation International (CI), International Resources Group (IRG), Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and CARE. He considers himself a Central American. He was born in Guatemala, grew up in El Salvador and now resides in Honduras with his wife Jenny Myton. Together they founded Luna Environmental, a consulting company based on Roatán, and have working on reef protection and management since 2002.
Roberto Pott is the Belize Coordinator and Social Scientist for the Healthy Reefs Initiative.With over 10 years in conservation in Belize, Roberto helped to create the first zoned area for Whale Sharks for Belize at Gladden Spit, improved management effectiveness of Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye National Parks and helped to draft various policies, including legislation protecting snappers and groupers which he did as chair of the Belize Spawning Aggregation Working Group . Roberto picked up his social research skills from the Nicholas School of Environment at Duke University where he earned a Masters in Environmental Management with a concentration in Coastal Environmental Management.His research included a study evaluating the access to seafood in Belize City in which he documented the competition between local residents and the tourism industry for affordable sea food and growing concern of residents with declining seafood quality. Roberto sees the HRI as a regional effort much like an “orchestra de la papaya” that embraces diversity and respects national identities, while working towards a healthier reef for healthier people of the Mesoamerican Reef. Roberto is an avid dinghy sailor and enjoys sailing with his family in the Buttonwood Bay of Belize City.He sits on the board of the Belize Sailing Association and also makes time to volunteer with the local Sea Scouts.
Lorenzo Alvarez is the HRI Marine Scientist, based in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. He holds a PhD on Environmental Sciences (University of East Anglia, United Kingdom), and his work has been mostly focused on the conservation and ecology of coral reefs ecosystems. In his PhD dissertation Lorenzo explored the causes and consequences of the rapid loss of reef complexity on the Caribbean Region. He has also published numerous publications including outreach articles, scientific manuscripts, book chapters and technical reports on topics ranging from the effects of Marine Protected Areas to the large-scale impacts of reef degradation. Lorenzo has worked in different organization ranging from governmental institutions (CONANP), NGOs and academia. Lorenzo is a passionate diver; he is a dive instructor (CMAS) and cave and TRIMIX diver.
Ana Giró Petersen
Ana Giró Petersen is the Guatemalan Coordinator for the Healthy Reefs Initiative and is based in Guatemala City. She earned her degree in Marine Science and Aquaculture from the University of San Carlos and is currently writing her thesis for a Masters Degree in Environmental Science (University of Cádiz). She has participated in reef ecology monitoring programs and has worked for many years in the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala carrying out reef research geared towards conservation. She has worked as a professor of the University of San Carlos of Guatemala since 2009, teaching oceanography and coral reef ecology. A passionate scuba diver, she loves underwater photography as well as sports. This love and passion for the ocean is now being shared with Nuria, her 3 year old daughter.