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Dr Joanna Alfaro

Exeter-trained scientist honoured in Peru

A scientist trained at the University of Exeter has won Peru’s highest award for conservation.

Dr Joanna Alfaro, who obtained her PhD at Exeter and is now director of the Peruvian conservation organisation ProDelphinus, won the "Architect of Conservation" category of the Carlos Ponce Prize.

Dr Alfaro works on projects including sea turtle conservation and fishery sustainability, and teaches conservation biology at the Universidad Científica del Sur in Lima.

The Carlos Ponce Prize, to be awarded this year in a virtual ceremony on 22 October, was created in honour of Carlos Ponce del Prado, who dedicated himself to the conservation of natural areas and biodiversity in Peru.

"I am very honoured to receive this award," said Dr Alfaro

"This recognition is a great opportunity to highlight marine biodiversity and the conservation of these resources, and in particular to all the people – especially fishermen – who are working to make their fisheries more sustainable.

"Thus, I would like to share this award with the community of San Jose in Chiclayo, a community highly impacted by COVID, but yet they continue working to favour conservation."

Dr Alfaro is the latest winner of the award, given every year since 2009 in recognition of people whose work has promoted the conservation of natural areas and biodiversity in Peru.

Professor Brendan Godley, who leads the Exeter Marine research group at the University of Exeter, said: "As former supervisor and now long-term collaborator of Dr Joanna Alfaro, it’s a great source of pride, but no surprise, to see her be given such a high honour in her own country, Peru.

"Her work has been transformational and truly world-leading, forging sustainable livelihoods for poor coastal communities whilst promoting biodiversity conservation." 

Date: 23 October 2020

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