We are an international research group based in the Tambopata Research Center. Beside our permanent staff that runs the project we also work in collaboration with many local and international researchers.
Donald Brightsmith, Director
Don did his PhD in Manu, Peru, and has been involved in parrot and macaw research ever since. He took over the Tambopata Macaw Project in 1999. Since then he has led the project from strength to strength and published a host of ground breaking papers on various aspects of macaw breeding, reintroduction and clay lick ecology. He has been on hand to teach, inspire and lead scores of Peruvian and international students and volunteers. Previously with Duke University, he made the move to Texas A&M in 2005.
Gabriela Vigo Brightsmith, Coordinator
Gaby is a Peruvian parrot researcher that graduated as biologist from the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Lima, Peru. She started working with the Tambopota Macaw Project in 2003 as a volunteer assistant. Since then, she has helped in many different positions, such as field leader and project general coordinator. Nowadays, she is part of the scientific advisor staff and is one of the oldest participants in the project. Her expertise is in parrot nesting ecology and behavior. Her main investigations are related to the growth and development of macaw chicks in the wild and the use of artificial nest boxes by different species of psittacines. She went to Brazil in 2006 to learn about the Red-tailed Amazon Conservation Project under the SPSS organization (Sociedade de pesquisa em vida slavagem) in Curitiba. Another big part of her research is the use of video cameras inside the macaw nest. With this investigation, she is documenting and trying to understand the chick starvation phenomenon and the disputes for the use of nests.
Since 2009, Gaby is also a research assistant at the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center at Texas A&M University. Her main activities there are related to the environmental maintenance and enrichment of the psittacine collection (macaw, parrots, cockatiels, and parakeets) that the center owns. Gaby is also interested in the use of new techniques, such as genetics, in the understanding of natural history and nesting ecology of psittacines. She is working on a PhD at Texas A&M in the Wildlife and Fisheries department under Dr. Thomas Laucher. She intends to use her previous knowledge about macaw chick growth, macaw parental care, and macaw nesting behavior, along with genetic analysis, to determine family relations and implications for conservation of the species.
George Olah, Scientific Adviser
George was graduated in Zoology M.Sc. at the Szent István University, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, in Budapest, Hungary. Now he is a PhD Student of the Australian National University and his research topic is the Demography and Population Genetics of Large Macaws, under the supervision of Robert Heinsohn, Rod Peakall, and Donald Brightsmith. Previously he has participated in several field research projects dealing with parrots and macaws in Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. During the field season of 2008/2009 he was the field leader of TRC and became a staff member of the Tambopata Macaw Project.
Nancy Carlos Erazo, Veterinarian
Nancy studied at the Veterinary Faculty of the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University (UPCH). She began being a macaw project volunteer and later she became Field Leader at TRC. She has experiences in wildlife conservation projects. She really likes working in the field and now specially with macaws.
Carlos Huamani, Field Assistant
Carlos is a person fond of bird-watching, his specialties are the birds of prey. He worked in a project in CICRA about Contamination of mercury in predatory birds (Contaminacion de mercurio en rapaces) and on other issues related to conservation. He has been working with the Tambopata Macaw Project since 2007, first as a volunteer and then field manager at Posada Amazonas and Refugio Amazonas. Currently he is working with the project team at TRC as field assistant, maintaining the artificial nests. He is one of the expert climbers of the project.
Sharman Hoppes, Veterinarian
Dr. Hoppes graduated from Oklahoma State University with her DVM in 1993, prior to that she worked as a registered nurse for 10 years caring for human patients. She completed an avian medicine and surgical residency in 1999 at North Carolina State University and became a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in avian medicine in 2000. She is an active member in the Association of Avian Veterinarians, has been on their board of directors and has chaired two Avian Welfare committees. She is also active in the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians. She joined Texas A&M University in 2006 and is an Assistant Clinical Professor in Zoological Medicine in the Department of Small Animal Medicine. Her research interests include avian analgesia and Proventricular Dilatation Disease in Parrots. She is married to Dr Bruce Nixon and has 2 amazing daughters Lee Ann and Lindsey. She also has 7 pet birds, 4 cats, 4 dogs and 5 rats. She loves to read, walk her dogs, play with her birds and travel with her husband.
Bruce Nixon, Veterinarian
I am chief of staff of a large emergency hospital in the Dallas, Texas area. Our facility houses many other specialties including internal medicine, surgery, dermatology and ophthalmology. In addition, I am active on the Animal Welfare Committees of both the Association of Avian Veterinarians and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Percy Nuñez, Botanist
Percy is a field biologist with an encyclopedic knowledge of neotropical botany. He pursued a doctorate in plant biology (Southwest Amazon ecoregion) at the University of Minnesota, USA. He was granted by the Russell. E. Train Scholarships. He gained several professional experiences: Missouri Botanical Garden, Duke University, Yale University, Montana State University. Today he works at the Botany Division of the Natural History Museum of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. His hobbies are: agriculture, carpentry, herbarium museum routine, among others.
Alan Lee, Scientific Adviser
Alan Lee conducted the field work for this PhD with the Tambopata Macaw Project from 2005 to 2009, after volunteering for the project during 2002 and 2003. He was awarded his PhD in 2010 through the Manchester Metropolitan University, UK (you can download it from the publications). Currently Alan resides in South Africa, where he runs the Blue Hill Nature Reserve (http://www.bluehillescape.co.za) and is pursuing postdoctoral research on the endemic birds of the Fynbos biome. He continues to publish work related to his time as a researcher with the project, and continues to dream of his time in one of the most biodiverse and exciting parts of the world.
Jerico Solis, Associated Researcher
Jerico studied biology (ecology) at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Lima, Peru. He has a wide range of experiences in conservation biology programs, monitoring and management. He has worked as field assistant at the coasts of Northern Peru monitoring sea-birds, sea-mammals (sea otters, cetaceans and marine otter). He has also participated in field research with tropical birds in Chanchamayo (Junin) and in the Tambopata Macaw Project (Madre de Dios). Now he works as officer at the Control of Avian Danger and Fauna (Control del Peligro Aviario y Fauna) in the Jorge Chavez International Airport, Lima. He is also a member of the Tambopata Macaw Project. Jerico is restless; he likes to learn new things, to meet people. He also likes the activities that require all his energy, like adventure sports, traveling or working on the field.