E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation

Paula J. Ehrlich, President and CEO

Paula J. Ehrlich, DVM, PhD, is the President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation where she oversees the Foundation’s broad activities to foster a knowing stewardship of our world through biodiversity research and education initiatives that promote and inform worldwide protection of biodiversity. Paula leads the Half-Earth Project.

Walter Jetz, Scientific Chair

Walter Jetz, MSc, PhD is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Adjunct Professor in the School of Forestry and the Environment at Yale University. Walter is the Scientific Chair of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and Lead PI for the Map of Life, overseeing execution of Yale and Map of Life project activities, including research and software engineering.

Joel R. Johnson, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Joel R. Johnson leads the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and Half-Earth Project brands and their campaign engagement strategy, including editorial, public relations, and marketing. Joel has over 20 years of experience developing award-winning advertising campaigns for the world’s most iconic brands, and conservation nonprofits.

Dennis Liu, VP of Education

Dennis Liu runs the Half-Earth Project Educator Ambassador program and other educational initiatives. A nationally recognized expert in science education, Dennis has a passion for explaining diverse science to diverse audiences. He holds a PhD in Biology from the University of Oregon.

Julie Plowden, Chief Financial Officer

Julie Plowden manages all aspects of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation’s financial functions to ensure careful stewardship of its resources. She also provides fractional financial and back-office services for venture impact investment firm SJF Ventures and clean energy investment firm Double Time Capital. She is a CPA with over 28 years of experience and is a graduate of Clemson University.

Amy Tidovsky, VP of Development

As Vice President of Development, Amy Tidovsky leads fundraising in support of the Foundation’s mission, strategies and projects. Amy has more than 20 years of experience in major and principal gifts fundraising, capital campaigns, board development, philanthropy training and consultation and non-profit leadership and management.

Jenna Adams, Master Ambassador

Jenna Adams shares her love of science and learning with her middle school students in Baltimore City. You can also find Jenna exploring local biodiversity on walks with her dog while listening to a podcast. She earned a BS in Kinesiology at Penn State University and her Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins University.

Piotr Naskrecki, Half-Earth Chair

Dr. Piotr Naskrecki is an entomologist, conservation biologist, author, and photographer, based at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. He currently directs the E.O.Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa NationalPark in Mozambique where he trains a new cadre of Mozambican biologists and conservationists, and helps rebuild the park, which suffered greatly during the recent civil war in that country.

Tamara Jolly, Master Ambassador

As a high school science teacher in Baltimore City, Tamara Jolly has worked for 13 years in the classroom and looks for any opportunity to infuse nature and the environment into her lessons. As a woman of color, she has experienced moments of being excluded from natural spaces firsthand. She now hopes to increase access and inclusivity of nature for traditionally marginalized communities, while also expanding nature education opportunities in urban classrooms. Tamara also works as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant, facilitating DEI workshops, and is a fellow at the Adirondack Diversity Initiative.

Chris Sims, Director of Video and Web Projects

Chris Sims, Director of Video and Web Projects, is a multimedia storyteller who designs and creates web content, videos, and photographs for the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and the Half-Earth Project. Mr. Sims is the Undergraduate Education Director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and a Lecturing Fellow in Documentary Arts. He has also worked as a photo archivist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Selim Tlili, Master Ambassador

Selim Tlili is a master ambassador at the Rudolph Steiner School in New York City. Selim studied biology in college before taking master’s degrees in Environmental Health at Hunter College and Environmental Humanities at Harvard University. Selim participated in an introductory GIS mapping workshop that ESRI made available to the ambassadors, and as a result he has been able to offer projects for his students right in their school neighborhood.

Stephanie Dawning, Business Manager

Steph Dawning brings 30 years of administrative experience to the team. Those years are exhibited in the breadth of her administrative skills, including customer service, database solutions, business analysis, bookkeeping, tech support, and process optimization in a variety of industries. Her approach to business success is “continuous improvement toward a moving target.” Steph subscribes to the lifelong learning ideal and continues to expand her eclectic professional and personal interests by seeking new experiences and with lots and lots of reading.

Map of Life

Ajay Ranipeta

Ajay Ranipeta is the Lead Software Engineer at Map of Life. Ajay manages the development and delivery of biodiversity data products, working closely with the Vizzuality Science team. With nearly two decades of experience in the analysis and visualization of biodiversity products for non-profit and government organizations, Ajay provides key expertise in the success of the Half-Earth Map.

Alexander Killion

Alexander Killion, PhD, is the Managing Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Global Change at Yale University where he oversees several data-driven biodiversity initiatives. Alexander has over a decade of experience deploying geospatial platforms for biodiversity conservation and leading transdisciplinary research. He builds effective teams and fosters collaboration across sectors to develop and deploy actionable science products on a global scale.

Melissa Slater

Melissa Slater is a data scientist with over 15 years of experience using science and technology to provide data-driven solutions to interdisciplinary problems in geography, cartography, geosciences and related branches of science and engineering. She has worked in the fields of ecology, environmental remediation, permitting and compliance, commercial mapping, local government, conservation, and natural resource management. Her expertise incorporates project coordination, strategic planning, spatial enterprise applications, analyses, database development and management, data product development, web mapping application integration and cartographic visualization.

Yanina Sica

Yanina Sica is lead data manager at Map of Life. Yanina holds a PhD in biology, with a background in biodiversity conservation and modeling land-use change. She is working on modeling species distributions at high resolution to inform important areas for global biodiversity conservation as part of the Half-Earth Project.

Jennifer McGowan

Jennifer McGowan, PhD is an associate research scientist with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University and a Spatial Planning Technical Coordinator at The Nature Conservancy. Her research interest lies in developing tailored decision-support frameworks to guide conservation investments on the land, freshwater and sea. Jennifer is dedicated to helping get decision-support tools into the planning processes that shape how the world prioritizes biodiversity. She brings her global conservation planning perspective and years of capacity-building expertise with governments and NGOs around the world to the Half-Earth Project.

Jeremy Cohen

Jeremy Cohen is a postdoctoral associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His focus is on understanding how diverse species of birds are responding to environmental change across spatial and temporal scales.

John Wilshire

John Wilshire is a software engineer with the Map of Life. His areas of interest include plants, birds, ecology and evolution.

Emily Sandall

Emily Sandall is a postdoctoral associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her focus is on functional morphology and mechanics, biodiversity, and distributional traits of dragonflies and damselflies.

Charlie Marsh

Charlie Marsh is an associate research scientist in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with Map of Life. His work is focused on spatial biodiversity modeling of global mammal diversity. Charlie also does biodiversity research in tropical forests in the Amazon, Borneo, Madagascar and the Comoros Islands.

Kevin Winner

Kevin Winner is a postdoctoral associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He is focused on spatial analytics with the Map of Life. His current research focuses on applying machine learning techniques to model global-scale patterns of biodiversity and species distribution.

Stefan Pinkert

Stefan Pinkert is a postdoctoral associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His focus is on the diversity, geographic distribution, and conservation of butterflies at a global scale.

Jussi Mäkinen

Jussi Mäkinen is a postdoctoral associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology specializing in spatial ecology, statistics, and conservation. His focus is on species distribution modeling to aid in conserving species habitats.

Bort Edwards

Bort Edwards is an associate research scientist in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology focused on the diversity and conservation of plants at a global scale, and engaging the community of international experts in this area.

Aurore Maureaud

Aurore Maureaud is a postdoctoral associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her focus is on geographic variations and conservation of marine biodiversity, in particular marine vertebrates.

Douglas Booher

Douglas Booher is a postdoctoral associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His work focuses on global diversity, geographic distribution, and conservation of ants.


Craig Mills

Craig Mills is the CEO of Vizzuality. He provides overall project strategy and oversight for the mapping core of the Half-Earth project, which brings to life the species distribution data and analytics that will guide us towards the best opportunities for protecting the most species.

Susana Romao

Susana Romao is project manager, linking Vizzuality, Map of Life and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation together to create a seamless process to advance the Half-Earth Project Map. From academia to nonprofits to Vizzuality, via bio-research and an MBA, her journey has sought out the places where she can create a positive impact.

Sofía Aldabet

Sofía Aldabet is a Scientist at Vizzuality with a background in Physical Geography, Climatology and Environmental Management. She applies her scientific expertise to analyse biodiversity and conservation data and help the designer and developer teams to visualize and code the Half-Earth Project Map. Sofía is the primary contact for data questions, data management, and data updates.

Álvaro Leal

Álvaro Leal is a full-stack developer at Vizzuality with a degree in Communication and Media. Álvaro builds the front-end of the Half-Earth Project Map aiming at creating a connection between the users and species data. Thanks to his work the map is helping us identify and virtually explore the places where we can conserve the greatest diversity of life. He is the main point of contact for technical questions.

Andreia Ribeiro

Andreia Ribeiro is a Designer at Vizzuality with a Masters in Design & Multimedia and specialized in Data Visualization. Andreia designs the maps you can explore at the, which aim to spark curiosity and engagement with the Half-Earth Project’s mission. She aims at making the science behind the project easier to understand and inviting users to take action. Andreia is the main point of contact for design.

María Relea

María Relea is a Project Manager with a background as Telecomunications Engineer. She has been working with data and digital projects for the last ten years. In the Half-Earth Project she manages the weekly tasks and timing with the team and ensures they have all the resources they may need to do their job. 

Martin Dubuisson

Martin Dubuisson is a User Researcher at Vizzuality with a Masters in Sociocultural Anthropology. Martin talks to people about their experience with the Half-Earth Maps to identify opportunities for improving the way we communicate species data with the Half-Earth Maps. Martin is the main contact for user research and sprint planning.