About Jaime García Moreno M
(As published in Investigación y Desarrollo, in May 2015)
Jaime García-Moreno Meade is a Mexican biologist who has always been fascinated by nature. As Species Conservation Director for the Mexico-Central American programme of Conservation International, a US-based NGO, he promoted the conservation of those species most in danger of extinction, and the habitats they need to survive, in the Mexican southeast. Particularly those species that live at a single site, known as the species of the Alliance for Zero Extinction (zeroextinction.org). Many of these are amphibians, and since then he started to develop links with experts working with frogs and salamanders.
"According to the experts, of the seven thousand known amphibian species, one out of three is under threat, and one out of four is so unknown that it is impossible to make a proper assessment".
With this background Dr. Jaime García-Moreno Meade was invited to launch and lead the Amphibian Survival Alliance. This global initiative was proposed in response to an global extinction risk assessment of all known species of frogs, toads and salamanders around the world.
As head of the Amphibian Survival Alliance, and knowing the problems that amphibians face in Mexico, he looked for collaboration with national institutions and supported the set up of the Red de Anfibios de Chiapas (Chiapas Amphibian Network), an alliance that is still operating and that was supported from its start by the State Government, two municipalities (Berriozábal and San Cristóbal de las Casas), and three local universities (ECOSUR, UNICACH, and UPCH).
"Many amphibians are under threat, but it is very difficult to get the necessary attention and resources for their protection because people don't know them and don't identify with them; there are a lot of myths around them. On the other hand, it is impossible to pay attention to each and every one of the species. It is better to focus on the preservation of their environment, and complement this with specific actions to manage those species that require special attention".
As a result of the activities already undertaken in Chiapas and the enthusiasm of the Red de Anfibios, both CONABIO and CONANP supported efforts to monitor the health of amphibian populations in Chiapas.
A bit of history
After finishing his first degree in Basic Biomedical Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), he studied a Masters in biotechnology at the University of Manchester (UK) when this discipline was starting to grow. It was then that a professor suggested to him to follow a PhD programme in the US focused on evolution, a subjet he finds fascinating.
Because of personal reasons he returned to Europe to finish his studies at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, which was followed by a postdoc stay at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was also at the Max Planck Institute and the University of Constance in Germany before switching careers and trading academia for a career as a conservationist.
In Costa Rica he led initiatives for the conservation of nature, and six years ago he returned to the Netherlands, where he currently resides.
Currently Dr. Jaime García-Moreno is part of the Red de Talentos Mexicanos Capítulo Holanda (Mexican Talent Network - Dutch Chapter), and he coordinates the area of the environment and climate change.
As of last January this Mexican started working as a freelance independent consultant, under the trade name ESiLi (www.esili.net). He was hired to assess the biodiversity at the southern portion of the border between Togo and Ghana, in order to give advice about possible conservation strategies and potential financial sources to support them.
"In Africa they asked my opinion on how to work, what kind of activities should be carried out in the future, and to get to know the potential partners that could undertake such activities, including research".
Today, as an independent consultant residing in the Netherlands, Dr. García-Moreno gives advice to organisations and institutions that require external advise to come up with conservation strategies, project planning and development, external evaluation, analyses, or support with fundraising. He is supporting some Dutch institutions, though he has a truly international scope, and he would like to develop closer ties with Mexican institutions that want to develop methodologies or knowledge with support of Dutch counterparts.
Jaime also enjoys photography and his images are available at i-magen.