Leeanne Alonso, Ph.D. +

Leeanne Alonso, Ph.D.

Leeanne Alonso, Ph.D.
Director of Global Biodiversity Exploration

Dr. Alonso focuses on organizing international explorations to further the understanding and protection of biodiversity worldwide. These explorations are designed to facilitate capacity building in-country, so that further explorations can be undertaken. Additionally, they assist in the networking that is needed to translate the results of explorations into conservation action on-the-ground. Whenever possible, the explorations complement opportunities to design and create conservation initiatives, such as new protected areas or other measures that result in the protection of wildlife, particularly for those species deemed at imminent risk of extinction. This work is in collaboration with relevant partner organizations, universities, corporations, and individuals.

Education

  • ​Ph.D., Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • 
M.A., Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • 
B.S., Zoology, University of Texas at Austin
  • 
B.A., Plan II Liberal Arts Honors Program, University of Texas at Austin

Contact and Social


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  • ​Conservation Biology
  • Biodiversity Surveys
  • Entomologist
  • Myrmecology

Leeanne Alonso is a committed conservation biologist and entomologist, specializing in biodiversity surveys and myrmecology (the study of ants). Leeanne previously served as Director and Vice President of the Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) at Conservation International from 1998-2011, organizing teams of expert scientists to rapidly collect biological information needed to guide conservation action for wildlife and their habitats.

Leeanne has experience from over 40 biodiversity surveys of unexplored regions throughout the world, and at GWC she continues the fascinating work of exploration and discovery. Collecting data on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human use of natural resources is essential for establishing priorities for conservation and for creating an information baseline for management and monitoring. Biodiversity data are needed by many types of stakeholders, including local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, scientists, international financial institutions, and the private sector in order to help make informed and sustainable decisions about natural resource use and to ensure the conservation of threatened and rare species and their habitats. Leeanne’s work includes training local students and scientists as a key component to building local capacity for conservation.

Leeanne’s graduate research focused on the ecology of ant-plant interactions in Central and South America under the direction of Prof. E.O. Wilson. Leeanne has studied the incredible diversity of insects, particularly ants, around the globe, highlighting the importance of insects to ecosystems and the need for their conservation, despite the widespread view that all insects are pests. Leeanne is also interested in invasive species and their impacts on native fauna and has studied the imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in Texas and Florida. Invasive species pose a significant threat to native wildlife, especially insects, and must be included in conservation and management programs. Leeanne co-edited Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity and is involved in teaching the annual “Ant Course.”

At GWC, Leeanne focuses on organizing international explorations to further the understanding and protection of biodiversity worldwide. These explorations are designed to facilitate capacity building in-country, so that further explorations can be undertaken. Additionally, they assist in the networking that is needed to translate the results of explorations into conservation action on-the-ground. Whenever possible, the explorations complement opportunities to design and create conservation initiatives, such as new protected areas or other measures that result in the protection of wildlife, particularly for those species deemed at imminent risk of extinction. This work is in collaboration with relevant partner organizations, universities, corporations, and individuals.

Alonso, L.E., J.L. Deichmann, S.A. McKenna, P. Naskrecki and S.J. Richards. (eds.). 2011. Still Counting...Biodiversity Exploration for Conservation – The First 20 Years of the Rapid Assessment Program. Conservation International, Arlington, VA, USA, 316 pp. Article


Harrison, I.J., Upgren, A., and Alonso, L. 2011. Application of patterns of Data Deficient fish and odonate species to conservation planning. Section 8.5. 258-262. In: Darwall, W., Smith, K., Allen, D., Holland, R., Harrison, I and Brooks, E. (eds.) 2011. The Diversity of Life in African Freshwaters: Under Water, Under Threat. An analysis of the status and distribution of freshwater species throughout mainland Africa. Cambridge, United Kingdom and Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. xiii+347pp+4pp cover. Article


Alonso, L.E. 2010. Ant Conservation. In: L. Lach, C.L. Parr, and K.L. Abbott (eds.), Ant Ecology, Oxford University Press, New York, USA.


Alonso, L.E., Liu Shaoying, Shen Xiaoli, and J. McCullough. (eds.). 2009. A Rapid Biological Assessment of three sites in the Mountains of Southwest China Hotspot, Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 52. Conservation International, Arlington, VA. Article


Alonso, L.E. and J.H. Mol (eds.). 2007. A rapid biological assessment of the Lely and Nassau plateaus, Suriname (with additional information on the Brownsberg Plateau). RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 43. Conservation International, Arlington, VA, USA. Article


Wright, H.E., J. McCullough, L.E. Alonso and M.S. Diallo (eds.). 2006. Rapid biological assessment of three classified forests in Southeastern Guinea. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 41. Conservation International, Washington, DC. Article


Lasso, C., J.C. Señarìs, L.E. Alonso, and A.L. Flores (eds.). 2006. Evaluación Rápida de la Biodiversidad de los Ecosistemas Acuáticos en la Confluencia de los ríos Orinoco y Ventuari, Estado Amazonas (Venezuela). Boletín RAP de Evaluación Biológica 40. Conservation International. Washington DC, USA. Article


Agosti, D., J.D. Majer, L.E. Alonso, T. R. Schultz (eds.). 2000. Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C. Article


© 2012 Global Wildlife Conservation