Position: Managing Director Field Programs, CCSOrganization: Center for Conservation and Sustainability, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park
Dr. Alfonso Alonso is a conservation biologist who has worked for the Smithsonian for 20 years. He is very interested in determining how species of plants and animals are distributed in different ecosystems, as well as the implementation of monitoring programs to ensure their persistence. Dr. Alonso’s interest in nature began early in his life while traveling with his parents to different parts of Mexico, his country of origin. His undergraduate degree in biology led him to study the ecology and conservation of the monarch butterfly. He also studied this phenomenon at risk for his master’s and doctorate at the University of Florida.
Dr. Alonso’s current position focuses on integrating conservation needs with development priorities to maintain biodiversity. He develops evaluation and monitoring programs to minimize the impacts on biodiversity in oil and gas infrastructure projects. To do this, he organizes expeditions with researchers of specialties in different taxonomic groups of plants and animals. These conservation and development partnerships are aimed at avoiding, mitigating, restoring, and compensating the impacts of the projects, and developing best practices to protect biodiversity and maintain ecosystem services. Dr. Alonso enjoys giving talks and working with people from different cultures, and has done studies in America, Africa, and Asia. Dr. Alonso has published more than 50 scientific articles and 5 books.