Dr. Stephen Spear
Stephen is co-chair of the IUCN Viper Specialist Group and has worked with the Plato Negro Ecology and Conservation project since the project began in 2012. Throughout his career, he has worked on ecology and conservation projects for a variety of reptile and amphibian species. In particular, he has used genetic and habitat modeling techniques to support herpetofaunal conservation, including vipers. He has used environmental DNA monitoring extensively with aquatic species and is investigating possibilities to use eDNA to detect secretive terrestrial species such as the black-headed bushmaster. Dr. Spear is currently based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
Guido is a Costarrican biologist whom has worked with the Plato Negro Ecology and Conservation project since the project began in 2012. Throughout his career, he has worked on conservation projects for both Governmental Institutions and non-profit organizations in Costa Rica. In particular, he has been involved in protected areas management and wildlife monitoring, including sea turtles and terrestrial mammals. Guido is currently based in Golfito, Puntarenas, CR.
Roel joined the team in 2015 helping on the fieldwork on black-headed bushmasters. As a reptile curator he has more than 15 years of experience on keeping and breeding the species. This Belgian born nature photographer came 25 years ago to the central pacific region of Costa Rica, passionate about the rainforests and with a special interest in the black-headed bushmaster and its ecology. His photographs on reptiles can be seen in various books and he has written several publications on herpetology. He spends his free time exploring the mountains and forests of the central and southern pacific slopes of Costa Rica, collecting data and photographs on these elusive pitvipers.
Marcello is a costarican herpetologist/naturalist that has dedicated his life to the conservation and research of amphibians and reptiles, having worked in the past on habitat restoration for critically endangered amphibians from the cloud forests, including In-situ and Ex-situ reproduction. Today he concentrates his work on reptile research, being pit vipers and crocodilians his main focus. All this has made him obsess about the botanical aspects of his study sites which in turn has got him working with forest management and restoration. He has worked with the Plato Negro Ecology and Conservation project since 2012 and spends half of the year in the southeastern United States working with rattlesnakes, alligators and tortoises.
Dr. Kimberly Andrews
Kimberly is an ecologist and herpetologist who has studied the spatial ecology of reptiles for over 20 years, with a specialty in snakes and crocodilians. She has been working in Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula for over 10 years of her career, alongside local researchers to develop scientific survey and research methods for the inventory of wildlife populations, movements, and animal health. She began collaborating with the Plato Negro Ecology and Conservation project in 2019 to devise innovative field techniques that will refine our understanding of the snakes’ habitat use and behaviors. Dr. Andrews is currently based in Brunswick, GA, USA where she manages the Coastal Ecology Lab through her faculty appointment with the University of Georgia.