Introducing our brand new research network coordinator

Hola a todos! My name is Haydée Hernández Yáñez, and I am the new research coordinator for the COMPADRE/COMADRE database. I am very happy to have recently joined the team. I am keen to contribute to the expansion of this remarkable repository of matrix population matrices for plants and animals under the auspices of a recent NSF grant on biotechnology.

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I am an ecologist interested in conservation science, spatial ecology, and species interactions. Through my research, I have worked with both plants and animals, in the field and on data analyses. While I was an undergraduate, I worked as a field assistant in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, collecting blood samples from Yucatan wrens (Campylorhynchus yacatanicus), a bird species endemic to Mexico. I also worked as a research assistant collecting field information on plant interactions with ants, as well as constructing mutualistic networks of floral visitors and their host plants. I thoroughly enjoyed working on network analysis and learning about the importance of species interactions. Following my passion for plant-animal interactions, I enrolled in a MSc at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where I researched the role of herbivores and soil on plant distribution and abundance in a Costa Rican wet forest. It was a great opportunity for me, as I learned more about the role of biotic and abiotic factors in shaping communities.

After graduating, I took a job as a research intern at the GIS lab of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. There, I applied statistical models to understand the geographical distribution and habitat requirements of the giant panda and Arabian bustards. I wholeheartedly enjoyed working in the area of spatial ecology and with animals (granted, I only saw their data points)! During my time there, I also worked on the database of the Smithsonian’s Movement of Life Initiative, which collects movement data received from collared animals in the field, such as Scimitar-Horned Oryx in Chad and Asian elephants in Myanmar. This experience has made me realize how important spatial ecology is as a tool for conservation science.

I’m currently catching up with the vast literature on population biology and matrix population models. It is a rather steep learning curve (e.g. see the lengthy data-entry protocol, and user guidelines of COMPADRE and COMADRE), but I am convinced that soon I’ll be fully caught up and able to actively shape COMPADRE and COMADRE into new exciting directions. I look forward to working with the team, data contributors, and users to make of the COM(P)ADRE databases an even better repository that will help us in our continual journey of understanding species’ biology.

Haydée Hernández Yáñez

Email: hhyanez@lpzoo.org; compadrecontact@gmail.com

Twitter: @Haydeshka

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