john terborgh

John W. Terborgh is a James B. Duke Professor of Environmental Science and is Co-Director of the Center for Tropical Conservation at Duke University. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, and for the past thirty-five years, he has been actively involved in tropical ecology and conservation issues. An authority on avian and mammalian ecology in neotropical forests, Dr. Terborgh has published numerous articles and books on conservation themes. Since 1973 he has operated a field station in Peru’s Manu National Park where he has overseen the research of more than 100 investigators. Dr. Terborgh earlier served on the faculties of the University of Maryland and Princeton University. In June 1992 he was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his distinguished work in tropical ecology, and in April 1996 he was awarded the National Academy of Science Daniel Giraud Elliot medal for his research, and for his book Diversity and the Tropical Rainforest. He serves on several boards and advisory committees related to conservation, including the Wildlands Project, Cultural Survival, The Nature Conservancy, The World Wildlife Fund and both the Primate and Ecology Specialist Groups of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Patricia Alvarez holds a PhD from Rutgers University and a Master’s Degree in Forestry from West Virginia University. She has worked with the CTC since 2002, working with the ParksWatch program since 2002, and conducting research at Cocha Cashu Biological Station since 2003.  Currently, Patricia is directing a CI/TEAM initiative at EBCC.

Lisa C. Davenport holds a PhD in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Environmental Management from the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment.  She has been a Research Associate with the Duke University Center for Tropical Conservation since 1994, and recently joined the Florida Natural History Museum, University of Florida, Gainesville.  Dr. Davenport’s research interests lie in the conservation of rare animals, with a focus on aquatic mammals and birds.  She is also interested in tropical forest ecology, protected area management, and ecotourism’s role in effecting conservation in the tropics. She is a member of the IUCN Otter Specialist Group, and has consulted for the World Bank and for private wildlife refuges, analyzing tourism development strategies and implementing visitor impact management plans. She is currently focusing her own research on mapping waterbird migrations across the Amazon, with a particular interest in intra-tropical migration strategies.  She has conducted research in Malaysia, Namibia, Gabon, Tanzania, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru.

Nigel Pitman holds a Ph.D. in botany and has been a research associate at the CTC since 2000. His research interests include the community ecology of Amazonian trees, the conservation status of narrowly endemic tropical plants, and the long-term monitoring of tropical animal communities. He has also worked extensively with protected areas and capacity-building projects in South America.

Renata Leite Pitman is a Wildlife Veterinary Physician, with a Master’s Degree in Forest Science. She is a Research Associate with the Center for Tropical Conservation since 2000. Expert in predator ecology in South America,  she works on several projects to create protected areas for the animals she studies in the Amazon and Atlantic Rainforest. In the Amazon this includes leading a campaign to create the Alto Purus National Park, to help protect the adjacent Las Piedras region, and to study the impacts of the Interoceanic Highway to the wildlife, project who gave her an Innovation Award from Rufford Small Grants Foundation. At the Brazilian Atlantic Forest she did her Masters studying the relation of jaguar, pumas, local people and protected areas, and a survey of jaguar population on the entire ecosystem, advising the Wildlife Conservation Society on strategies to protect the species. She helps to create and/or implement several Protected Areas as the Ilha do Mel Ecological Station and State Park, Guaratuba Environmental Protected Area, and Serra da Baitaca State Park. She is directing the Atlantic Forest Conservation Center at her private reserve where she runs a 22-years old forest restoration project.  Renata is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission since 2000 and was awarded by this institution as a Natural Born Hero. She is a National Geographic/Waitt Grantee and her last research updates are covered at Mongabay  at the Field Museum’s magazine In the Field and BBC Earth.   As a volunteer, she is an active member of the Environmental Commission of the Veterinary Medicine Council’s Regional Office (CRMV-PR).  Most Renata’s publications are at

Ron Sutherland holds a Ph.D. from Duke University.  His research interests include ecology and conservation of reptiles, Southeastern USA regional conservation planning, and application of GIS to conservation strategies.  He works in collaboration with the CTC and the Wildlands Project to apply a science-based framework to conservation in the Southeastern USA.

Varun Swamy is a Postdoctoral Associate with the Center for Tropical Conservation. Varun holds a Ph.D. from Duke University, and his dissertation research examined the role played by herbivorous vertebrates, insects and pathogens in the spacing dynamics and the maintenance of tree species diversity in Amazonian forests. Varun’s current research interests include: tree recruitment patterns and processes in Amazonian forests, the role of plant-animal interactions and effects of hunting-induced defaunation on forest regeneration dynamics.


Comments are closed.