Ximena Velez

Ximena Velez-Zuazo is the Managing Director of the Peru programs at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation and Sustainability. She has more than 20 years’ experience with conservation projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. Velez-Zuazo collaborates with scientists and stakeholders to implement long-term monitoring programs to assess the influence and mitigate the impact of marine infrastructure on ecosystems. Her objectives are to identify best practices and science-based solutions for biodiversity conservation, reduce the environmental footprint of development projects, promote adoption of a sustainable marine infrastructure working frame, and advance marine sciences. Dr. Velez-Zuazo has mentored more than 30 students and trains conservation practitioners. She leads the coastal observatory MarineGEO, Peru, and is a member of IUCN Specialist Groups and Task Forces for sea turtles and sharks. Dr. Velez-Zuazo earned a master of science degree and PhD in biology-ecology, both from the University of Puerto Rico. She can be reached at velezx@si.edu.