Juan grew up in Bogota, Colombia, were he received his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering with minors in biology and management from the Universidad de Los Andes. After completing his undergraduate degree, he received a prestigious scholarship to participate in the Sea Education Association Semester program. In this role he analyzed suitable tuna habitat in the Central Pacific Ocean while living aboard a sailing vessel. Since then, Juan has applied interdisciplinary science to a wide array of marine science and conservation problems.
Juan received a master’s degree from UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, where he specialized in coastal marine resource management. Working under Chris Costello and Enric Sala from National Geographic Pristine Seas, Juan conducted an economic valuation of sharks for the tourism industry of Galápagos, and for his master’s thesis, he led a team of fellow students in a bio-economic analysis that ultimately informed the rezoning of the archipelago and the creation of the new Darwin and Wolf Marine Sanctuary. Juan’s research interests include bio-economic modeling, marine spatial planning, shark conservation and ecology, small-scale fisheries, and the role of data science to inform policy and management of marine resources.
Currently, Juan works as a project researcher for the Sustainable Fisheries Group and Marine Data Scientist for National Geographic Pristine Seas. In this position, he is leading a project in partnership with Global Fishing Watch that uses satellite data to conduct novel analyses. His first major project is a spatial analysis of fishing profits on the high seas that will provide valuable insight into the economic feasibility of creating marine reserves in the high seas.
In his time off, Juan works as science manager onboard the exploration vessel E/V Nautilus where he does ocean exploration and research and shares the excitement of science and exploration with the next generation of marine scientists.