Director, Science Action Center
As Director of the Andes-Amazon program, Dr. Corine Vriesendorp leads the Museum's work on conservation and quality of life of local people. She has been an integral part of the rapid inventory team since 2003, a program that has led to the discovery of more than 150 species new to science, and helped governments protect more than 9.4 million hectares of forest in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. An avid field biologist and plant ecologist, Dr. Vriesendorp participates in the inventories as a member of the botany team. Her interests and research bridge the continuum from basic to applied science. She began her career studying mahogany in Bolivia, researching the impact of logging practices on mahogany populations, and creating recommendations for better management practices.
She went on to research seedling dynamics of a tropical forest community in Costa Rica, to understand birth and death processes in high-diversity forests and their implications for the conservation and management of these forests. Her seedling work is ongoing—she and her team have marked more than 40,000 seedlings since 1999.
Dr. Vriesendorp is most fascinated by the connections among organisms, and although she has published peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and technical reports about plants, she also has written short natural history notes about mammals and amphibians.
She received her B.A. from Princeton University, and her Phd from Michigan State University. Her dissertation was on the maintenance of plant diversity in a Costa Rican rainforest.