The PARAMO team


Principal investigator

Professor David Edwards

University of Sheffield

Professor David Edwards

David Edwards is Professor of Conservation Science at the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield.

He works at the nexus of land-use change, biodiversity and policy, and he has worked extensively in SE Asia and Colombia since 2006. His work has brought to light the impacts of tropical land-use change and habitat disturbance on biodiversity, and ecosystem functioning and services. He is on the Editorial Board of Current Biology. Edwards is a co-founder of the Biodiversity, Agriculture, and Conservation in Colombia (BACC) programme, under which the PARAMO project falls. He has worked in the Colombian Andes in close collaboration with Project Partners at the Instituto Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH), where his research has revealed big potential for cheap carbon and biodiversity co-benefits of forest protection and restoration.  BACC research has also been supported by two Research Council of Norway grants with Edwards as joint-PI. Edwards speaks fluent Spanish.


Professor Jos Barlow

Lancaster University

Professor Jos Barlow

Jos Barlow (Lancaster Environment Centre) is interested in understanding how human activities influence the value of tropical forests for species conservation, ecosystem functioning and the livelihoods of local people.

He has worked on the ecology and conservation of human-modified Amazonian forests since 1998, coordinating a number of major research initiatives in Brazil including the £3.6M NERC-FAPESP ECOFOR project that examined forest resilience to multiple anthropogenic stressors, including severe droughts, selective logging and wildfires. He is also one of the three founding members of the Sustainable Amazon Network, which coordinates over 80 scientists in Brazil, UK, and Australia. The network has produced over 60 influential publications and has helped guide forest management policies in the eastern Amazon. He has been a Senior Editor of the Journal of Applied Ecology since 2013.

Professor Terry Burke

University of Sheffield

Terry Burke is Professor of Molecular Ecology at the University of Sheffield. He is an expert in applying molecular methods to ecological questions, including the use of the eDNA and metabarcoding techniques. His laboratory routinely hosts and trains visiting researchers in molecular ecological methods, and he is the Director of the NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility (NBAF).

Professor Duncan Cameron

University of Sheffield

Professor Duncan Cameron.

Duncan Cameron is Professor of Plant and Soil Biology at the University of Sheffield where he leads an international research group investigating the physiology and chemistry of plant-microbe interactions in the soil within agricultural and natural systems.

His research uses a combination of methods including metabolomics, isotope tracers and molecular biology to understand the mechanisms underpinning multi-species interactions and the biological drivers of soil quality. His research is also highly interdisciplinary, with collaborative projects linking science, social science and the arts. He is actively engaged in public engagement, including the multi-media sci-art collaboration, Gaiamycota and the Sound of Science. He is the co-director of the University of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food and is the University of Sheffield's lead academic for the N8 agrifood program.

Professor Tim Daniell

University of Sheffield

Tim Daniell is Professor in Soil Microbiology at the University of Sheffield and is a project leader at James Hutton Institute. His work explores the role of soil communities in function and soil health, using a combination of molecular and biochemical techniques to understand nitrogen cycling, community dynamics and resilience, and nematodes as indicators of soil health.

Dr Carolina Escobar-Tello

Loughborough University

Carolina Escobar-Tello is a progressive lecturer, researcher, designer, and facilitator working across industrial, service, and systems design. With extensive professional multicultural design and management experience in the industrial, not-for-profit, and governmental arena (UK, USA, Europe, South America), her work has been published in journals and international peer-reviewed conference proceedings. She is an expert in design for happiness/wellbeing, sustainable design, social innovation, and co-convenor of the Design Research Society Special Interest Group on Sustainability; and the Design Research Society Special Interest Group on Design for Health, Wellbeing and Happiness.

Dr Brendan Fisher

University of Vermont

Brendan Fisher is an Associate Professor in the Environmental Program at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. His research and fieldwork lie at the nexus of conservation, development, natural resource economics and human behaviour. He is the author of over 85 peer-reviewed articles and two books, Valuing Ecosystem Services (Earthscan, London, 2008) and A Field Guide to Economics for Conservationists (Roberts and Company, 2015).  In the PARAMO project, he is involved in understanding the dynamics between economics and cultural values of ecosystem services across the study site.

Professor Rob Freckleton

University of Sheffield

Rob Freckleton is Professor of Population Ecology, and the current head of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, at the University of Sheffield. He works on theoretical and statistical ecology and evolutionary biology. He is funded by NERC, Leverhulme Trust and BBSRC, and leads the Leverhulme Trust Centre for Advanced Biological Modelling doctoral training centre.

Dr Antonia Liguori

Loughborough University

Antonia Liguori

Antonia Liguori is a Lecturer in Applied Storytelling whose research has been focusing on three main strands: applied storytelling on environmental issues; digital storytelling in education; storytelling and urban design.

After joining HEART - Healing Education Animation Research Therapy, she’s also been exploring digital storytelling as therapeutic intervention. She has a PhD in History and Computer Science and an MA in Contemporary History. Her role in the PARAMO project consists of leading the narratives data collection to understand how local communities perceive and attach cultural value to biodiversity and ecosystem services and identify synergies/trade-offs between cultural and environmental values.

Dr Miguel Kanai

University of Sheffield

Miguel Kanai

Miguel Kanai is a human geographer concerned with global urbanisation and uneven development.

His current research engages the ‘infrastructure scramble’ of international investments to the global South since the 2008 recession. This project seeks analyses plans to link cities to transnational value chains, such as e.g. the development, extension and upgrading of roadway networks, and how these infrastructures reconfigure socio-environmental relations across vast geographies and erstwhile remote regions. With an area specialisation in South America, he has published an award-winning study on the transformation of the northern Brazilian state of Roraima (Environment and Planning A, 2014 – Ashby Prize), and is currently engaged in several projects focused on the territorial futures that the peace process has opened up for peripheral regions of Colombia.

Professor David Petley

University of Sheffield

Professor David Petley

Dave Petley is Vice-President (Research and Innovation) and Professor of Geography at the University of Sheffield.

Dave is a geologist with 25 years of experience working on landslides, with a focus on in situ process monitoring, and the use of databases to record and analyse losses from mass movements. He founded the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience at Durham University, and has received >£5M of research funding from RCUK, industry, and governments. He is PI of a NERC-Newton project examining coseismic landslides in Chile.

Professor Mike Wilson

Loughborough University

Mike Wilson

Michael Wilson is Professor of Drama and Dean in the School of Arts, English and Drama at Loughborough University, where he leads a research team in Applied Storytelling.

His main research interests lie broadly within the field of popular and vernacular performance and over the past ten years, he has led numerous projects that explore the application of storytelling to a variety of social and policy contexts, especially around environmental policy, health, education and social justice. 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.

Project partners

Dr Mailyn Gonzalez

Instituto Alexander von Humboldt
Mailyn Gonzalez is a Biologist and currently leads the Conservation genetics laboratory at Humboldt Institute in Colombia. After her undergraduate studies in Lausanne, Switzerland and her PhD in Toulouse, France she has been working in projects that use genetic information to inform conservation management in Colombia. In the PARAMO Project, she is a collaborator in the microbiology component of soils.

Dr Olga Hernandez

Instituto Alexander von Humboldt

Olga Hernandez is the head of Social Sciences and the biodiversity knowledge program at the Humboldt Institute in Colombia. She works on natural resource management of community-based conservation projects using logical framework approaches. She has also worked extensively using geographic information systems in landscape analysis, ecosystem dynamics, species’ distribution modelling and territory management.

Dr Jose Manuel

Instituto Alexander von Humboldt

Jose Manuel is interested in answering key questions on biodiversity conservation science using landscape ecology as background, birds and mammals as focal groups and socioeconomic situation of places where his projects are developed, as a context. Key questions for his research include: What are the thresholds of forest cover that determine trends of species loss in the Andes? What are the consequences of current forest loss for different biomes at a landscape scale? He is also interested in the science policy-interface specifically focused on land use planning studies where he explores possible trends of sustainability and aspects such as payments for environmental services and restoration ecology. Currently, he is the head of the Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring Programme at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute in Colombia.

Dr Claudia Medina

Instituto Alexander von Humboldt

Claudia Alejandra Medina works at the Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt. Her research focuses on Systematics (Taxonomy), Evolutionary Biology and Entomology. She is an expert of Scarabaeidae (Dung Beetles) describing multiple new species to science.


Dr Felicity Edwards

Lancaster University and University of Sheffield

Felicity Edwards

Felicity Edwards is a senior post-doctoral researcher whose research focuses on the ecological impacts of land-use change in the tropics, particularly looking at how species’ interactions and ecosystem functions alter within changing environments.

She is interested in how species’ network interactions are influenced by, and how the spatial distribution of functions are impacted by anthropogenic changes. She is a keen entomologist, with a particular interest in Scarabaeidae (Dung Beetles) which she’s worked on in Borneo and Colombia for the last 8 years, including the discovery of Ontherus felicitae. Within the PARAMO project her focus is using field data and spatial analyses to understand the dynamics of biodiversity, and ecosystem functions and services in montane environments. Additionally, she aims to find novel techniques to integrate ecological and cultural values to enhance conservation in these threatened montane environments.

Dr Nelson Grima

University of Vermont

Nelson Grima is currently holding a post-doc position at the University of Vermont, USA, where he engages with ecosystem services work at different scales aiming to better understand the role ecosystems have over livelihoods. At a local level, he works with human-nature interactions in the New England region through decision making related to wildlife and landscape management. At an international scale, he studies human-nature interactions including sustainability of natural resources use, landscape management, policy decision making, and ecological and socioeconomic transitions in post-conflict areas. During his PhD in Austria, he studied the effects of Payments for Ecosystem Services on local communities in different countries of Latin America, analysing the history and evolution of these schemes, and proposing measures to improve their design and implementation.

Dr Anne Cotton

University of Sheffield

Anne Cotton

Anne Cotton is a senior postdoctoral researcher working at the University of Sheffield.

Her research focuses on microbial communities and the factors that influence their diversity, structure and function. In the last few years, she has studied a wide range of aspects of microbial ecology including whether alterations in soil fungal communities could be responsible for biodiversity-productivity relationships in grasslands and looking at the interactions between plant root chemistry and root-associated fungal and bacterial communities. Within the PARAMO project she is investigating how habitat modifications in the Colombian Andes affect soil properties, microbial communities and core below-ground ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling and resilience to disturbance.

Dr Simon Mills

University of Sheffield

Simon Mills is a post-doctoral researcher who has broad research interests in ecology and conservation biology, with a particular focus on the ecological consequences of environmental change as well as working to understand how we can mitigate the impacts of human activity. His PhD made use of large census datasets of European birds and butterflies to understand the role of environmental variation in driving population dynamics. In the PARAMO project, he aims to understand the consequences of land-use and climate change for the bird communities of the Colombian Andes.

Dr Edicson Parras

Edicson Parras’s research focuses on quantifying species loss and understanding the impact of it on ecosystems functions in human-modified forests. He is very passionate about plants, especially orchids, and has discovered new species to science in the Colombian Andes.

Dr Tania Ganitsky

Loughborough University

Tania Ganitsky

Tania Ganitsky has a PhD in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Warwick. She is currently a Research Associate in Applied Storytelling at Loughborough University working on two main projects in Colombia that relate Storytelling to environmental issues surrounding the páramo ecosystem.

In Colombia, Tania has been awarded two national poetry awards and published three collections: Dos cuerpos menos, Cráter and Desastre lento. She co-founded and coedits La trenza, a feminist fanzine that promotes an artistic and reflective approach to contemporary poetry written by women-identifying Colombian poets. Her research and creative interests are in ecocriticism, narratives of conflict, poetics and philosophies of reception and incompleteness, and mixed reality poetics and storytelling.

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