Managing Director of Field Programs, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Dr. Alfonso Alonso wearing pants, t-shirt, and baseball cap on a rock in a harness in a rain forest with green trees behind
Dr. Alfonso Alonso harnessed up for some rainforest research. Photo courtesy of Steve Yanoviak.

Dr. Alfonso Alonso is a conservation biologist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. He is passionate about finding out how species of plants and animals are distributed in different ecosystems and implementing monitoring programs to assure their persistence. Alfonso’s interest in nature began early in his life as he traveled with his parents to different regions within Mexico, his country of origin. His undergraduate degree in biology led him to study the ecology and conservation of monarch butterflies as they overwinter in Mexico. He continued to study this endangered phenomenon for his Masters and PhD degrees at the University of Florida.

Alfonso’s current position of Managing Director for International Field Programs focuses on integrating conservation needs with development priorities to sustain biodiversity. He develops assessment and monitoring programs to minimize impacts on biodiversity during oil and gas mega-infrastructure projects. Alfonso organizes teams of researchers, specializing in various animal and plant groups, into conservation and development partnerships. His teams collaborate to develop ways to avoid, mitigate, restore, and offset the impacts of oil and gas projects. Outcomes of their expeditions are best practices to protect biodiversity and maintain ecosystem services. Alfonso enjoys giving lectures and working with people. For his research, he has traveled extensively in North, Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.