Workshop on Cyberinfrastructure for International Biodiversity Research Collaboration
City of Knowledge, Panama
January 10-13, 2006



Biographical Sketches
Gabrielle Allen is Associate Professor in Computer Science at Louisiana State University, and the Assistant Director for Computing Applications at the Center for Computation & Technology.  Gabrielle obtained a PhD in astrophysics from Cardiff University in 1993, following undergraduate degrees at Nottingham University and Cambridge University. Before moving to LSU in 2003, Gabrielle was the lead of the computer science area of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (AEI) in Potsdam, Germany where she researched and developed techniques for high performance and grid computing. At the AEI, Gabrielle was the lead of the Cactus Code project and a PI for the European GridLab project. At LSU, Gabrielle is a PI for a number of large, collaborative projects involving computer science, scientific computing and the computational sciences, in diverse fields including petroleum engineering, coastal modeling, computational fluid dynamics, numerical relativity, computational chemistry and computational biology. Web link
Peter Arzberger is currently the Chair of the Pacific Rim Application and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA), an open, institution based organization, consisting of 25 institutions around the Pacific Rim. PRAGMA, founded in 2002, has a mission to build sustained collaborations between researchers around the Pacific Rim by building applications on top of the immerging grid hardware and software ( Closely connected with PRAGMA is the PRIME, the Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experiences ( program, which provides international research and cultural internship experiences to undergraduate students. PRIME, founded in 2004, has admitted 24 students into the program, and has sent subgroups to four PRAGMA sites. He is also involved in another spin off of PRAGMA, GLEON, the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network ( He is also the Director of the National Biomedical Computation Resources (, an NIH National Center for Research Resource award. NBCR’s mission is to develop computing and information technologies to catalyze and facilitate biomedical research across a broad range of biological scales. Its goal is to bring to the national biomedical research community end-to-end tools and techniques from the growing cyberinfrastructure, to better address researchers’ issues that involve multiple scales. Peter has been involved in a variety of community activities including Chair, Working Group on Access to and Sharing of Data Produced from Public Funding, endorsed by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Committee on Scientific and Technology Policy (OECD/CSTP). He is former Executive Director of the NSF funded National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) and a former program officer at the National Science Foundation in Computational Biology, and was Deputy High Performance Computing and Communication Coordinator for NSF.
Jim Beach is currently on assignment as assistant director for informatics at the Biodiversity Research Center at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. He heads a 15 person department of software engineers focused on the development and support of networked, data management and data integration tools for biological collections. The Informatics Department produces Specify a biological collections data management system used by 120 biological collections worldwide; Lifemapper, a geospatial data archive of global species distribution data; and it is a partner in the development of SEEK – a web services-based, data integration, semantic mediation, and ecological workflow authoring environment. Beach is also the president of the JRS Foundation, a new philanthropic organization aimed at making modest grants in support of environmental informatics activities in the not-too-distant future. He has also worked at the U.S. NSF, U.S. Geological Survey, UC Berkeley, Harvard and Michigan State University.
Rodrigo Bernal is associate professor at Instituto de Ciencias Naturales of Universidad Nacional de Colombia, in Bogotá. He has studied palms for over 20 years, and has published extensively on various aspects of this tropical family.  He is co-author of Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas, the first field book ever published for a whole plant family in the neotropics. Since 2003 he has led the process of digitization and digital imaging of the National Colombian Herbarium, which has resulted in over 60,000 herbarium sheets of Colombian plants being available in the Internet, together with their label information. Rodrigo is currently seeking funds for completing the digitization of all the 500,000 specimens of the National Colombian Herbarium.
Jesús M. Castagnetto, got a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Lima, Perú), and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from New York University (NY, USA). His main doctoral research was in the modelling, synthesis and physical studies of of supramolecular metal-ligand complexes. Later he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego (CA, USA) as part of The Metalloprotein Structure and Design Program Project, where he created the Metalloprotein Database and Browser ( a web-accesible bioinformatics resource that contains quantitative geometrical information on metal-containing biomolecules, as well as tools for analisys, visualization, etc. The MDB has an interactive interface as well as a multi-protocol Web Services one (REST, XML-RPC, and SOAP) built for programatic access to its information and algorithms. More recently, Dr. Castagnetto worked as part of the Data Intensive Group at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, developing bioinformatic solutions built on web services and grid technologies. He is now a professor of the Department of Chemistry at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, where he is developing research in the areas of Computational Chemistry, and Structural Bioinformatics. He is also a contributor to Open Source projects, mainly the PHP ( and PEAR ( projects. He co-authored one of the first books on PHP ("Professional PHP Programming") in 1999, and has been part of the governing group of the PEAR project since 2003, as well as having talked widely about Open Source technologies, PHP and PEAR in the USA, Perú, and Chile. His CV on-line is at:

Marta Cehelsky is Senior Adviser for Science And Technology in the Department of Sustainable Development of the InterAmerican Development Bank,where she has spearheaded a initiatiative to strengthen the effectiveness of the Bank’s S&T activities, resulting in the establishment of a new Subdepartment of Education and Science and Technology.  Dr. Cehelsky is on assignment from the National Science Foundation, where she served as Executive Officer of the Presidentially appointed National Science Board, responsible for NSF policy and for advising the US President and Congress on national science and technology policy.  She served in a number of senior policy positions at NSF including Senior Advisor the Director and Senior International Fellow, and was principal NSF liaison to the policy committees of the National Academies.  While on the staff of Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC), she served as special assistant for policy.  As senior policy analyst at NASA she was a member of the Presidential Task Force on Remote Sensing Policy. She was a on the faculty of Brooklyn College, CUNY and  the University of Houston and holds a doctorate from Columbia University in political science.

Edwin Castellanos is currently the director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, where he also teaches a course on Environmental Chemistry in the Master’s program in Environmental Studies.  He also directs the GIS and Remote Sensing Laboratory, a research unit within the Center for Environmental Studies working mainly with analyzing the land use-land cover dynamics for Guatemala.  He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Indiana University (USA), where he did research on carbon sequestration in forest ecosystems.  He also holds a M.Sc. in Analytical Chemistry from Michigan State University (USA) and a B.S. in Chemistry from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.
José Castro is currently director of the Computing Research Center (CIC) of the Costa Rican Institute of Technology (ITCR). He is collaborating in a Cluster/Grid initiative to create a Cluster/Grid infrastructure for the four Costa Rican public Universities and CENAT: Costa Rica High Tech Center. He is an IEEE Computation Intelligence Society member and his main interests are Parallel Processing, High Performance Computing, Pattern Recognition, Simulation and Neural Networks. He is currently involved in a Geophysical Simulation Project of the Irazú Volcano using cluster computing, the computer vision group of CIC-ITCR, and developing data visualization methods for high dimensional databases.
Guy Cormier is the Director of the High Performance Computing facility of the University of Puerto Rico system. He has held this position since founding the facility in 1997. He has been involved with advanced
networking since 1998, while in charge of developing the Internet2 Project for Puerto Rico since 1998. The facility is in charge of providing research computing infrastructure and technical resources to
the research community of the 11 campuses of the UPR system. A major component of the facility is the Bioinformatics Resource Center, part of the Puerto Rico INBRE program funded by the NIH. Prior to this, he was a researcher at the Chemistry Department of the University of Cambridge and a post-doc fellow at the Physics Department of the University of Padua, Italy. Dr. Cormier holds a B.Sc. (Honours) in Chemistry from the Université du Québec à Montréal and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Concordia University. Since his stay in Cambridge, his research interests are in the field of computational glass science, investigating the glass transition phenomenon in silicon and silica based materials through Molecular Dynamics modeling.
Julio Escobar, PhD.
In 1988 he obtained a Ph.D. Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts), with a  Concentration in Computer Networks and Communication Theory and a Minor in Electromagnetic Theory and Applications (Thesis Title:  “Maximum Likelihood Detection for Probabilistic Models of Optical Code Division Multiple Access Channels.”).  He also possesses an Electrical Engineering Degree and a M.S Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Thesis title: “Iterative Approach to Position Location in Packet Radio Networks”.) from UMIST, Manchester, England. He has vast expertise in various disciplines such as Computer Networks, Multimedia Communications, Wireless Networks, Electronic Commerce, Technology Planning and Policy and Corporate Management. Currently, Dr Julio Escobar is the National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT). This institution is the government agency in charge of increasing the national capacity in research and development activities towards its inclusion as a key component in Panama´s  economy and development.
Tony Fountain is the director of the Cyberinfrastructure Lab for Environmental Observing Systems (CLEOS) at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California San Diego.  His lab focuses on research and development of middleware and tools for a variety of sensor network applications in engineering and science (ecology, oceanography, civil engineering).  His primary interests are services-oriented architectures for real-time distributed computing applications, data mining, and decision support.  Dr. Fountain participates in a number of national and international cyberinfrastructure initiatives, including the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and the Pacific Rim Applications and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA).  His lab participates in the Real-time Observatories, Applications, and Data Management Network (ROADNet) initiative and has developed and maintains an open-source web services technology stack for real-time instrument management.
César Garita received a Doctorate degree in Computer Science from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands, in 2001. He also obtained a Bachelors degree in Software Engineering and a Masters degree in Computer Science from the Costa Rican Institute of Technology (ITCR). During 1996-2001 he carried out his doctoral research at the Cooperative Information Management Group (CO-IM) of the Informatics Institute of UvA. The subject of his thesis was the application of the federated information management approach for virtual enterprise support focusing on industrial manufacturing and service provision sectors. During 2001-2002 he was a posdoctoral researcher at the CO-IM group working on several projects related to Virtual Organizations and bio-informatics. In 2003 he re-joined the School of Computer Science of ITCR as a permanent staff member, where he has established active collaborations in the area of biodiversity informatics with national and international organizations. In 2005, he was appointed Director of this School at ITCR.
Amado Gonzalez is director of Access Grid activities at Florida International University's College of Engineering and Computing, where he holds responsibility for coordinating collaborative educational environments and has worked on various national projects. He is the principal investigator for the Minority Serving Institution Virtual Institute for EPIC - Engaging People in Cyberinfrastructure in collaboration with Stephenie McLean at Texas Advanced Computing Center, Roscoe Giles at Boston University, and Greg Moses at University of Wisconsin at Madison. Amado Gonzalez is a founding member of the Minority Serving Institution Network, and was instrumental in acquiring an Access Grid node for FIU's College of Engineering and Computing, which was made possible by the Advanced Networking with Minority Serving Institutions (AN MSI) program. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), AN-MSI is a program of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the Education, Outreach, and Training Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (EOT-PACI). Amado Gonzalez has been active in initiatives to advance high performance computing, scientific visualization, computational science, Access Grid and tiled display walls at Florida International University. He is also a member of the Latin American Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions, which has over 45 participating Institutions.
Eric Graham graduated in 1985 with a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, worked for about 5 years as a marine field assistant and then attended the University of California, Los Angeles, to get his Ph. D. in Biology under Dr. Park Nobel.  He is currently working at the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, University of California, Los Angeles as a staff biologist involved in research in plant ecology and networked sensor data acquisition.  Additionally, he is a visiting Professor at Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Mérida, Yucatán, México and has a student there working on epiphytes in tropical forests and endemic cacti. Previously he has been a lecturer at Oregon State University for General Ecology and Environmental Plant Physiology and a post doc for the University of Florida at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of Panama back in 1999-2000.

Saul Hahn is currently Head of the Division of Science and Technology, within the Office of Education, Science and Technology at the Organization of American States (OAS), with headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he has been since 1987. 

He has coordinated the Hemisphere Wide Inter-University Scientific and Technological Information Network project (RedHUCyT) project which was established in 1991 to help integrate academic electronic networks in the 34 Member states of the OAS. A subproject of RedHUCYT, the Caribbean University Network (CUNet) was also started in 1991. Both projects have played a key role in developing the Internet in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in enhancing the development of national research and education networks in the Western Hemisphere: Because of this work he was nominated and then elected to the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society, 1994-1997, and Trustee Emeritus in 1998.

He holds an Electronics and Communications Engineering degree from the National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico) where he also studied physics and mathematics. He earned a Master of Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mathematics from New York University (Courant Institute).

After a period of research in the U.S., he returned to Mexico and became a Professor of Mathematics and Co-coordinator of the Computer Lab at the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV) in Mexico City. He worked as a consultant in digital image processing at the IBM Scientific Center where he also coordinated special projects, including oil reservoirs simulation. The author of several monographs and numerous articles, he was appointed to several Commissions at the Mexican National Science and Technology Council (CONACYT) and the National University of Mexico  (UNAM). In 1985, he was distinguished as a National Researcher. He has lectured in mathematics and has done research at several universities across the U.S. On sabbatical leave from CINVESTAV, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of New Mexico,  in 1985.

Dewayne Hendricks is currently CEO, of the Dandin Group, Inc., based in Fremont, California, USA. Dandin Group offers a comprehensive range of products and services, including research and product development, for wireless communications via the Internet. He also has been an active member of the Federal Communications Commission Technological Advisory Council (FCC/TAC) for the past seven years. Prior to forming Dandin Group in 1999, he was the General Manager of the Wireless Business Unit for Com21, Inc. He joined Com21 following an opportunity to participate as the Co-Principal Investigator in the National Science Foundation’s Wireless Field Tests for Education project. The project successfully connected remote educational institutions to the Internet. The test sites ranged from rural primary schools in Colorado, USA to a University in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia. Dewayne was the CEO and co-founder of etherless Access Ltd, founded in 1990. Tetherless Access was one of the first companies to develop and deploy Part 15 unlicensed wireless metropolitan area data networks using the TCP/IP protocols. He has participated in the installation of these networks in other parts of the world including: Kenya, Tonga, Mexico, Canada and Mongolia. Dewayne’s background includes several other entrepreunerial positions as CEO and founder, and inclusion on various “top 100” lists as an innovator in the industry. He has been involved with radio since receiving his amateur radio operator's license as a teen. He is currently a member of the Board of, a non-profit advocacy group for big broadband for everyone, anywhere. More information on Dewayne is available at the Dandin Group web site: <>. Information on the FCC TAC can be found on the FCC web site at: <>. Information on can be found at <>. If you would like to contact Dewayne you can email him at:
Don Henshaw has been working for the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station in Corvallis, Oregon for 30 years.  Most of this time has been spent in an Ecosystem program specializing in statistics and information management.  He has been serving as the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) information manager for the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest since 1989 and has worked extensively with climate, hydrology, permanent study plots of forest stands and understory vegetation, and biodiversity species data.  He is currently the Chair of the LTER Network Information System Advisory Committee, serves on the LTER Executive Committee, and participates ex-officio with the LTER Information Management Executive Committee.  He was team leader for the development of the intersite climate and hydrology data harvester and database, ClimDB/HydroDB, which has been co-funded through the National Science Foundation and the U. S. Forest Service. Locally, he directs Andrews Forest LTER information system development and the Oregon State University-PNW Forest Science Data Bank.
Leonard P. Hirsch is Senior Policy Advisor at the Smithsonian Institution. His responsibilities include articulation and support of the scientific programs of the Smithsonian, with emphasis on global environmental concerns. He is a member of the White House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the National Science and Technology Council where he works on issues of biological diversity informatics and facilitating the coordination of government research on land and seascape change. He is chair of the new Interagency Working Group on Ecosystem Services. He is active in work with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (as Deputy Head of the US delegation). He has been involved in the planning of the InterAmerican Biodiversity Information Network, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Mandë Holford is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Dr. Baldomero Olivera at the University of Utah.  Dr. Holford’s research involves the characterization and analysis of toxins from venomous cone snails, and newly described turrids, as biochemical tools for investigating the functional roles of ion channels and receptors in mediating cell signaling in the nervous system.  She received her PhD in synthetic protein chemistry at The Rockefeller University in New York City.  After her degree, Dr. Holford joined the American Museum of Natural History where she served as the inaugural Manager of the High School Science Research Program (HSSRP).  Dr. Holford developed HSSRP as an early training ground in critical thinking and experimentation for New York City high school students interested in pursuing a career in science.  In 2004, Dr. Holford was awarded an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  As a AAAS/NSF Fellow Dr. Holford met with scientific and administrative counterparts in the Nordic and Americas regions, to review or initiate collaborative opportunities for American researchers.  Dr. Holford is an inaugural member of the World Academy of Young Scientist (WAYS), an organization sponsored by UNESCO and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), aimed at encouraging global mobility and facilitating the emergence and sharing of scientific knowledge to reduce the gap between developed and developing countries.

Steven G. Huter is a Research Associate at the University of Oregon Computing Center, where he serves as Project Manager for the Network Startup Resource Center. The NSRC provides technical information, engineering assistance,  training, equipment, and educational materials to network operators at  research and education institutions and Internet Service Providers in countries with limited Internet infrastructure.

Other relevant activities include:

  • Executive Committee, African Network Operators Group (AfNOG)
  • Board of Directors, Consorcio Ecuatoriano para el Desarrallo de Internet Avanzado (CEDIA), Ecuador
  • Program Committee, South Asian Network Operators Group (SANOG)
  • Program Adviser, Internet Education and Research Laboratory, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand
  • Workshop Planning Committee, Pacific Network Operators Group (PacNOG)
  • Team Member, Work Group on Advanced Networks and Cyberinfrastructure for Science and Technology Development in the Americas, Organization of American States (OAS)
  • Principal Investigator, Networking Infrastructure and Technical Assistance for African Universities, grant programs funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the International Development Research Centre
  • Principal Investigator, Workshop Resource Centre, funded by the Internet Society (ISOC)
  • Technical Advisory Board, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (E-LAW)
Raúl Hazas Izquierdo was recently appointed as Head of the Telematics Directorate at CICESE, a scientific research facility in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. He acts as Grids-Supercomputing coordinator for CUDI, Mexico’s Internet 2 initiative. He is also the technical contact for PRAGMA Grid Testbed. He holds a M.Sc. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from SUNY at Buffalo His interests are high-performance computing and network performance analysis.
Julio Ibarra is the Executive Director of the Center for Internet Augmented Research and Assessment (CIARA) at Florida International University (FIU). He heads the CIARA center, which is focused on contributing to the pace of research and the quality of research at FIU through the application of advanced Information and Communications Technologies. He is responsible for the strategic planning and development of advanced research networking services for the University. He is the Principal Investigator of the Western Hemisphere Research and Education Network (WHREN) – Links Interconnecting Latin America (LILA) NSF-OCI International Research Networks Connection Program and the AmericasPATH (AMPATH) project. He is also responsible for the strategic planning and development of the AMPATH International Exchange Point for Research and Education networks to enable US e-Science initiatives in South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Steve Kelling is the director of Information Sciences at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. His primary interests and responsibilities revolve around four broad topics: the development of Internet data gathering tools for observational-based monitoring projects, the use of novel digital library strategies to create global communities of interested users centered around primary scientific references, the organization of the rich data resources of the bird-monitoring community and integrating these resources within existing bioinformatic infrastructures, and using unique computer science strategies to analyze the distribution and abundance of wild bird populations.
Suzanne Lao has been working for the Center for Tropical Forest Science at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama since 1992. She has been in charge of maintaining the database for the 50 hectare permanent plot at Barro Colorado Island. Forest censuses at this plot occur every five years, where every free-standing woody stem one cm diameter at breast height or above are measured, tagged, identified, and mapped. She also helped set up databases for other similar large plots at Yasuní (Ecuador), Korup (Cameroon), and Ituri (Congo). She helped organize five annual NSF-funded analytical workshops that provided training in statistical analysis and database management to collaborators from India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, Congo, Cameroon, Ecuador, and Puerto Rico. Suzanne holds an M.Sc. in Biostatistics and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Lee Liming is the Manager of the Distributed Systems Laboratory at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago. Lee directs a software development team whose work supports a wide range of cyberinfrastructure projects, from infrastructure-focused projects like TeraGrid, Open Science Grid, and Enabling Grids for e-Science across Europe (EGEE) to science-focused projects like the Earth Systems Grid and FusionGrid. This team plays a leadership role in the Globus Alliance and has contributed a substantial portion of the code in the open source Globus Toolkit. Early Grid communities in which he participated included the NASA Information Power Grid, the ASCI DisCom program, the National Computational Science Alliance, and NEESgrid. He currently has leadership roles in the NSF Middleware Initiative/GRIDS Center project and the NSF-sponsored TeraGrid project. Lee has worked for sixteen years on distributed systems issues in both academia and industry, with experience ranging from system administration and software development to product and project management.
Dr. Genevieve Lucet heads the Compute for Research program at the "Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico" UNAM, and runs several other departments including the Computer Security, Supercomputers, Cientific Visualization, Virtual Reality and the Research Unit for Applied Computing. She also coordinates the "Ixtli" virtual reality room and is UNAM's representative on aplications for Internet 2.
Gabriel Macaya has a B. Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Costa Rica and D. Sc. in Sciences (Molecular Genetics) from the Université Paris 7, France. Vice-President for Research, (1981-1988), President, (1996-2004) University of Costa Rica. His research work since 1972 has been on the organization of genetic material (comparative genomics), from viruses to mammals.  Full Professor, University of Costa Rica and researcher at the Center for Cell and Molecular Biology (CIBCM).
Erick Mata holds a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Oregon.  His professional career started as a Computer Science Professor at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (ITCR) , where he has been the Director of the Computer Science Graduate Program, researcher and instructor. His research areas include: genetic algorithms, biodiversity informatics, data visualization, object oriented systems, multimedia systems and algorithmic graph theory. His career at the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio),  started in 1995 as the Information Management Coordinator.  He is currently an Associate Director of INBio and part-time Associate Professor at the ITCR. He is or has recently been Chair of the Outreach and Capacity Building Scientific Subcommittee of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), advisor for the creation of the Inter American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) and member of advisory boards of international initiatives such as Encyclopedia of Life and the Clearing House Mechanism of the Convention on Biodiversity.
Steven Paton has been working in the Republic of Panama with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) for the last fifteen years both as a data manager and Physical Monitoring Project manager for the Environmental Sciences Program (ESP). The ESP funds a wide range of long-term terrestrial and marine monitoring and has, during the last four years has taken a leading role in serving scientific data on the web ( He is currently leading new initiative at STRI to publish a wide range of STRI's scientific data on the web in collaboration with Discover Life (
Juan A. Sánchez (Marine Biologist, M.Sc., Ph.D.), has been actively working on coral biodiversity since 1994. He was a Fulbright doctoral grantee (1998-2002, State University of New York-Buffalo) with an ample trajectory in research and consultancy, and experience in the molecular and environmental areas including postdoctoral training in the USA (Smithsonian Institute Washington, 2002-2003) and New Zealand (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research, 2003-2004), in the latter coauthoring the “Species 2000” biodiversity inventory of New Zealand for Cnidaria and cataloging the coral/octocoral collection. Currently, Dr. Sanchez has an assistant professor position at the University of the Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) directing the Marine Molecular Biology laboratory (BIOMMAR), first of its kind in Colombia.  His research line aims to support, with modern molecular instruments, and thanks to alliances with other Colombian institutions, the needs of marine molecular biology with application for biodiversity, where there currently is a great research gap in Colombia with the ultimate goal to provide an important basis of influence for management and policy making. Dr. Sánchez is currently working towards the first web-based database of coral reef organisms genetics in relation to coral-bleaching susceptibility (coral and zooxanthellae types) in Colombia and it is developing in collaboration with US scientists a web-based database of Caribbean Octocorals. More information available at Dr. Sánchez’s web page:
Alejandro F. Flamenco Sandoval is currently finishing his Ph. D. dissertation at Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, (UNAM). He is the technician in charge of the geographic information analysis laboratory of ECOSUR. He is interested in Geographic Information Systems applications related to land cover/land use change research and deforestation’s impact on biodiversity changes research. 
Mark Schildhauer has a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolutionary, and Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and an A.B. in Biology from Harvard College. After working as a quantitative analyst and information technologist on several large-scale, multi-investigator ecological research projects through the 80's, he was technical coordinator for the Division of Social Sciences at UCSB during the early 90's, where he deployed servers and networked systems, and consulted on scientific software during a period of explosive growth of the Internet and its use by academicians. In that role he also became familiar with the analytical and informatics needs and practices of a wide variety of researchers outside of his primary area of expertise in ecological field sciences. He has been Director of Computing at theNational Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) since its opening in 1995. Schildhauer is currently deeply involved with developing and supporting advanced technological solutions for ecologists to collect, store, access, and analyze data, including the KNB (Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity) which developed EML, Metacat and Morpho; and the ongoing SEEK Project (Science Environment for Ecological Knowledge) which is exploring how scientific workflows and formal ontologies can create powerful GRID-based analytical frameworks that facilitate replicating scientific results, and sharing of both data and code.

Ana Sittenfeld born in San José, Costa Rica, is the Director of the Office of International Affairs and External Cooperation (OAICE) of the University of Costa Rica (UCR). Dr. Sittenfeld, a Professor of Microbiology at the Center for Research in Cellular and Molecular Biology (CIBCM) of the University of Costa Rica, obtained with honors a Professional Doctorate in Microbiology and Clinical Chemistry in 1978, and a M.Sc. in Microbiology in 1985 at UCR. As a faculty member of CIBCM, she participates in research and teaching in the areas of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Microbial Ecology and Microbial Gene Prospecting. She served until 2004, as the Director of the Microbial Gene Prospecting MIRCEN (Microbial Resources Center, UNESCO) and coordinator of the Microbial Ecology Department. She was the Director of CIBCM in two occasions: from 1988 to 1989 and from 1996 to 1998. Her research activities includes the characterization of microbial communities living in extreme environments and as part of the Rice Biotechnology Group at CIBCM, she leads efforts related to intellectual property, freedom to operate and public perception.

From 1991 to May 1996, she joined the National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) as its Director of Bioprospecting, with direct responsibility for facilitating the sustainable economic use of biodiversity and biotechnology. She has served in several national and international Committees dealing with Biodiversity and Biotechnology including the National Biotechnology Committee, the Inter-American Commission on Biodiversity and Sustainable Development and the National Advisory Committee for Biodiversity (COABIO). She is an active member of the Private and Public, Scientific Academic and Consumer Food Policy Committee at Harvard University, Graduate School of Business Administration, and the Consultative Group for Agricultural Biotechnology, Latin America (UNIDO). From 1997 to 2003 she joined the Board of Trustees of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) (CGIAR), with headquarters in Kenya and Ethiopia. More recently she is a member of the Board of Trustees for the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) (CGIAR). Dr. Sittenfeld is a founding member and was the first President of the Board of Directors of the Costa Rica-United States Foundation (CRUSA). She served as the coordinator of the Institutional Biodiversity Commission, participates as a member of the Biotechnology Commission at the University of Costa Rica. Dr. Sittenfeld is author or co-author of more than 150 papers and presentations in scientific meetings.

Jorge Soberon obtained B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the National University of Mexico. He obtained his Ph.D. from Imperial College, University of London, in 1982. From 1982 to 2005 he was a Researcher at the Institute of Ecology, National University of Mexico. He is now Senior Scientist at the Biodiversity Research Center of the University of Kansas. He has published more than 80 scientific papers, chapters, books and science popularization articles. His areas of expertise are theoretical population ecology, conservation biology and informatics for biodiversity.

From June 1992 to April 2005 Soberon was seconded by the National University to serve as the Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Biodiversity of Mexico (CONABIO).  In his capacity as Executive Secretary he helped to design and supervised the development of large databases of specimen data, systems for utilize remote sensing data to the monitoring of biodiversity in Mexico and the application of cutting-edge extrapolation techniques to the problem of predicting occurrences of biodiversity elements based on partial and biased data. He has attended all the Conferences of the Parties of the Convention on Biodiversity and many of its peripheral meetings, often as Head of the Mexican Delegation. He helped to develop the concept of the Global Biodiversity Information facility (GBIF) and still serves as Vice Chair of the Scientific Committee of GBIF. He has served as board member of the All Species Foundation, NatureServe, Pronatura, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Fund, the Scientific Advisory Council of the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, the Advisory Board of the Network of the National Ecological Observatory Network   and many Mexican institutions.

Dr. Florencio I. Utreras is the Executive Director of CLARA, the Latin American Cooperation of Research Networks. Dr. Utreras graduated in Mathematical Engineering from the University of Chile in 1975 and got the Doctor of Engineering degree from Université de Grenoble, France, in 1979. Before joining REUNA (the Chilean Research Network which he contributed to create) in 1992, he had been full professor of Applied Mathematics of the University of Chile in Santiago and had been Visiting Professor at several universities and research centers in Europe (France, Italy) and the United States. Dr. Utreras has been involved in Research Networking since 1987 and has been awarded several prizes for his contribution to the dissemination of Internet technology and research networking.
Iván A. Valdespino Q., holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the City University of New York and postdoctoral research experience at the California Academy of Sciences (1996).  He is currently Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  During the course of his professional career Mr. Valdespino has worked in different academic, non-governmental and governmental environments in which he has played a leadership role, particularly in the area of conservation science, including forest management, strategic planning, and proposals development.  In these capacities, he has been responsible for managing an environmental and socially sustainable development project’s portfolio of more than US$51 millions provided by different local, regional, and international sources (e.g., GEF, Government, Private Foundations, World Bank, The Nature Conservancy, and the business community).  Currently, he is Secretariat Director of the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) located at the City of Knowledge in Clayton, Panama City, Panama and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Panama.  He has published over 22 research papers and is actively working on the biosystematics of the genus Selaginella, in addition to his continued work in the area of conservation science and his association with various academic and research organizations.
Ann Zimmerman is a researcher with the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work (CREW), which is part of the University of Michigan's School of Information.  Her research interests include the social aspects of technology used to support scientific collaboration, the secondary use of scientific data, the affect of cyberinfrastructure on scientific practice, and the relationship between large-scale collaborations, policy, and research management.  Prior to joining CREW, Ann was a librarian for 16 years with several United States natural resource agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.  In this capacity, she worked with environmental scientists from a variety of fields, and these areas continue to be of special interest to her.  Recently, Ann served as a member of the National Ecological Observatory Network's (NEON) Information Technology and Communications Subcommittee.  NEON, which is in the planning stages, will be designed to address continental and regional scale environmental questions through a vast network of sensors and associated cyberinfrastructure.  Currently, Ann is participating in the effort to help plan for the future of the Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTER).  LTER is acollaborative effort that involves more than 1800 scientists and students investigating ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales.