Personnel

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Luke L. Powell, PhD, is the director and co-founder of the Biodiversity Initiative. Luke is a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, a National Science Foundation fellow, and associate staff at the University of Glasgow.  He received his Masters at the University of Maine, where he studied ecology and conservation of the rare and declining Rusty Blackbird, and received his PhD at Louisiana State University, where he studied the effects of rainforest disturbance on birds of the Brazilian Amazon. He has been working in tropical rainforests for more than ten years.

 

 
Jacob C. Cooper, MS, is currently a Masters student at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute, and will soon be starting his PhD at the University of Chicago and the Field Museum. He is the audiovisual specialist for the Biodiversity Initiative’s bird surveys in Africa, and spends much of his time in the field trying to obtain recordings and photographs of birds. Jacob has become addicted to field work over the years, and has worked in Jamaica, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and the United States. He is often accused of working on his vacations and using his free time to search for rare and localized birds the world over.

 

Jared and Prothonotary Warbler
 
Jared Wolfe, PhD, is a Wildlife Ecologist at the USDA Forest Service and Humboldt State University who has spent over a decade working with tropical bird communities in Africa, Central and South America. Jared’s international research broadly examines effects of climate and habitat change on sensitive bird communities. In addition to his tropical research interests, Jared also spearheads several projects focused on the conservation of endangered and threatened species in North America.

 

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 Kristin Brzeski, PhD, is a geneticist and wildlife biologist, and currently a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University. Kristin’s research focuses on genomic and epigenetic variation in wildlife populations of conservation or management concern. She received an MS in Wildlife Conservation from Humboldt State University and her PhD from Louisiana State University. Kristin was excited to join the Biodiversity Initiative crew in 2015, where she led projects that established mammal surveys and developed conservation outreach strategies in Equatorial Guinea. 

 

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Sese Site is BI’s Administrative and education manager.  Located in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Sese has worked with countless international NGOs to build capacity for youth in Central Africa.  Sese is coordinating capacity building activities for Biodiversity Initiative, including conservation stakeholder meetings and workshops for African conservationists.

 

 

 

agustinmug150x150Agustín Ebana  is BI’s in-country manager based in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.  He is a also a biologist and technician with INDEFOR-AP, Equatorial Guinea’s forestry and protected areas program. Agustin (at left with bird) is managing BI’s effort to inventory the mammals and large birds of Equatorial Guinea’s poorly known mainland protected areas using dozens of remotely placed camera “traps”. Agustin has a Bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial.

 

 

jorisheron150x150Joris Wiethase, MS, is an biological technician for BI.  Joris has been working primarily as a bird bander to address two questions: 1) what is the impact of the Ureka road on the birds of Bioko island? and 2) how does the bird community respond to selective logging near Oyala, Equatorial Guinea?.  Joris received his Master’s degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, where he studied the breeding biology of tropical parrots.

 

 

andrew150x150Andrew Wiegardt is a Master’s student at Humboldt State University in Northern California.  Andrew is working with Jared (his academic advisor), Kristin and Luke to understand how individual birds respond to selective logging near Oyala, Equatorial Guinea.  Specifically, he is interested in how stress hormones, feather growth rates and DNA methylation are expressed by rainforest birds in primary vs. secondary forest. Andrew has captured and banded thousands of birds during his experiences at Klamath Bird Observatory and several tropical rainforests.