People

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Project leader

  • Dr France Gerard  - Remote Sensing - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, UK 

France Gerard has over 25 years of experience in remote sensing of land and vegetation, in a wide range of ecosystems. Her work focuses on the development of remotely sensed-derived data to constrain and validate models, support process understanding and monitor vegetation. 

Co-Investigators 

  • Dr Ed Rowe  - Biogeochemistry - Centre  for Ecology & Hydrology, Bangor, UK 

Ed Rowe is a Senior Biogeochemical Modeller at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. His research focuses on responses of plant productivity and soil carbon to management, pollution and environmental change. Ed designs and applies dynamic models of soil and vegetation processes. Within the PARAGUAS project he is responsible for developing mechanistic simulations of effects of fire, grazing, drainage and cultivation on water storage capacity within páramo ecosystems.

  • Dr Mauricio Diazgranados  - Botany - The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK 

Mauricio Diazgranados is a Research Leader for Diversity & Livelihoods at the Natural Capital and Plant Health Department of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. His research group develops plant & fungal diversity approaches to support communities in locations and economies where nutritional, income and biodiversity issues are of paramount importance. He leads research projects based in tropical developing countries, primarily in the Tropics, focused on studying utilised, neglected and under-utilised plants, their main threats and conservation status, and their sustainable use. As part of the PARAGUAS project, Diazgranados leads the component on vegetation, aiming to understand the contribution of plants to the paramos’ water regulation.​

  • Prof David Large - Radar Remote Sensing - University of Nottingham, UK 

David Large is an Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham where he lectures in Environmental Engineering. His background is in Earth Science and his primary research interest is the mechanical motion of peatland surfaces and the limits to peatland carbon accumulation. He has led the development of satellite measures of peatland surface motion to quantify peat condition and carbon emissions. In particular, he has demonstrated that Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) can detect changes in water storage and peat condition and has the potential to transform our understanding of peatland dynamics across whole landscapes and regions.

  • Dr Maria Paula Escobar-Tello - Cultural Geography - University of Bristol, UK

A native Colombian, Maria Paula is a cultural and environmental geographer. She leads the Social Science component in PARAGUAS. Her research looks at livestock farming and environmental issues of global concern such as conservation and biodiversity. She examines in particular the impact of interventions on farmers’ livelihoods.

  • Prof Dominic Moran - Ecosystem Valuation - University of Edinburgh, UK 

Dominic Moran is Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics.  He joined the University of Edinburgh in 2018 after a period of 18 years with SRUC, prior to which he was a government economist and in private consulting.   His research focuses on applying economics to environmental management and the development of interdisciplinary approaches to resource allocation problems in agriculture and global food security. In the Paraguas project he is focusing on the value of water associated with the integrity of the moorland landscape.  

  • Prof Michael Wilson  - Art and Storytelling - Loughborough University, UK 

Michael Wilson is Professor of Drama and Head of Creative Arts at Loughborough University, where he leads the Storytelling Academy, a research team in Applied Storytelling. His main research interests lie broadly within the field of popular and vernacular performance and over the past fifteen years he has led numerous RCUK/UKRI cross-council and European Commission projects that explore the application of storytelling to a variety of social and policy contexts, especially around environmental policy, health, education and social justice. More recently this has included GCRF and Newton Fund projects on environment and health in Kenya, Uganda, India and Colombia. He has been a member of the Advisory Boards for the Digital Economy Programme (RCUK, led by EPSRC), Connected Communities (AHRC) and Digital Transformations (AHRC). He is also Chair of the Arts and Humanities Panel for the British Council’s Newton Fund programme.

  • Prof Wouter Buytaert  - Hydrology - Imperial College London, UK 

Team members

  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology: Charles George 

Charles George is an Earth Observation Scientist with 20+ years’ experience using optical remote sensing technologies, to extract biogeochemical properties of land surface vegetation. This includes extensive experience in the use of field campaigns to provide information both for training data sets, and validation of results. He also uses hyperspectral instruments fitted to UAV’s (multirotor drones) to extract similar data at high spatial and temporal resolutions. 

  • Lancaster University: Dr Ce Zhang

Ce Zhang is a Lecturer in Geospatial Data Science from Lancaster University as a member of PARAGUAS project. He has strong expertise in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, and the applications in remote sensing for landscape patterns, processes and vegetation dynamics. His research is driven by the ambition to tackle the most pressing socio-ecological and environmental challenges of our time. 

  • The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew: Dr Martin Baruffol

Martin Baruffol is a Fellow researcher in the Diversity & Livelihoods group at the Natural Capital and Plant Health Department of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is working in functional ecology and biodiversity ecosystem functioning projects. Martin has been working the last years in Biodiversity and ecosystem services in High Andean ecosystems in Colombia. Within the component of the vegetation component in the Paraguas project aims to explore if diversity influences water storage in Paramo ecosystems. 

  • University of Nottingham: Dr Andrew Bradley

Andrew Bradley is a PostDoctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham (UK) with an interest in interpreting landscape change and causes using satellite observations and environmental data. His current focus is investigating the measurement of peatland condition in different settings to help guide monitoring, restoration and management across different world settings.

  • Imperial College London: Dr Boris Ochoa

Boris Ochoa-Tocachi is a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, MSc in Hydrology and Water Resources Management, and Civil Engineer, graduated with honours. He is the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of ATUK Strategic Consultancy and Research Associate at Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Boris has developed his professional and academic experience around the hydrology of mountain ecosystems, hydrological monitoring, and water resource management. He has been an international consultant for the Regional Initiative for Hydrological Monitoring of Andean Ecosystems (iMHEA), working in several contries of the Andean region; and an Imperial College researcher in several developing countries, including Nepal, Ethiopia, Kirghizstan, Somalia, Colombia, Perú, and Ecuador.

  • University of Bristol: Dr Susan Conlon

To date, Susan Conlon's research has centred on the political ecology of water use in remote communities in South America, particularly the interface and tensions between understandings of water and livelihood practices and international development frameworks for water conservation and management. Her interests include exploring and elucidating the diverse priorities of people in their everyday livelihood practices, the consequences for water use and what this means for their responses to changing water policies.

  • Colombian technical support: Jeffrey Prieto

Biologist from the Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia - UPTC and Field Technician in the PARAGUAS project. With an interest in the dynamics of biological communities in high mountain rivers and wetlands, he has experience in the analysis of communities of aquatic invertebrates in Andean rivers.

  • Loughborough University: Dr Angelica Cabeza Spino

Angélica Cabezas Pino is Research Associate at Loughborough University,  working with local communities in developing and implementing the digital storytelling element of PARAGUAS. Angélica received a PhD in Anthropology, Media and Performance from the University of Manchester, and her work has received international recognition including the award as Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020 by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies, and being shortlisted for the Richard Werbner award by the Royal Anthropological Institute in 2019. Her research interests are memory and imagination through collaborative audio-visual methods.

  • Loughborough University: Dr Antonia Liguori

Antonia Liguori is a Lecturer in Applied Storytelling at Loughborough University. Her academic background is in History and Computer Science. Since 2008, she has been involved in a variety of international research projects to develop tools and methods to foster innovation in education; to explore the role of storytelling in today’s digital world; to investigate and trial ways of using digital storytelling as a participatory methodology for inter-disciplinary research. Over the past five years her research has been focusing on three main strands: applied storytelling on environmental issues; digital storytelling in (cultural/heritage) education; storytelling and urban design.

  • Colombian technical support: Erick Castro
  • University of Edinburgh: Juan Afandor
  • Loughborough University: Tania Ganitsky
  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology: Chris Barry, Kasia Sawicka, Richard Broughton and Craig Pearce

Collaborators

  • Dr Liliana Rosero-Lasprilla and Dr Adriana Janneth Espinosa Ramirez  - Ecology - Research group 'Biología para la conservación' of the Universidad Pedagogica Tecnologica de Colombia (UPTC), Colombia
  • Dr Susana Rodriguez-Buritica – Ecology and Remote Sensing - Instituto de Investigacion de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH), Colombia
  • Prof Conrado de Jesus Tobon Marin - Hydrology - Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNC), Colombia
  • Laura Catalina Ospina Espitia - Cooperation and International Affairs - Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), Colombia
  • Dr Liz Johanna Diaz -  Remote Sensing - Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), Colombia