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D. Ross Robertson

  Ross Robertson was born in 1946, in Sydney Australia. Very shortly thereafter his family moved to Madang, on the northeast coast of what is now Papua and New Guinea. Living in a house on the waterfront of a beautiful harbor with an abundance of reefs naturally stimulated an early interest in reef fishes. That interest persisted through to form the basis of his doctoral dissertation work on the evolution of a sex-changing wrasse on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. After receiving his PhD in 1974 a postdoctoral fellowship from the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization allowed him to work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. In 1975 he joined STRI’s scientific staff, and since then has worked on various aspects of the ecology, reproductive and population biology, demography, evolution, biogeography and taxonomy of tropical reef fishes at sites scattered throughout the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. He is the coauthor (with Jerry Allen) of two editions of Fishes of the tropical eastern Pacific, the 1994 english edition and the 1998 spanish edition (Peces del Pacifico Oriental Tropical ). Since he and Jerry Allen began fieldwork for that book in 1990 he has traveled extensively throughout the eastern Pacific documenting its fishes. Beside that book he has published over 90 scientific papers. His other pursuits include an appreciation of remote tropical islands, an undiminished enjoyment of diving and the employment of underwater photography for scientific use, collecting palms, swimming and biking. He lives in Panama sans family.

James L. Van Tassell

  James L. Van Tassell was born in 1945 in New York. He received his doctorate in systematics and evolutionary biology from the City University of New York’s program at the American Museum of Natural History in 1998. During his tenure as a high school teacher; at H. F. Carey High School in Franklin Square, NY; he developed courses in Ecology, Marine biology, a science research program for gifted students, and an Ecology Club which was recognized by the United Nations as one of the top ten youth organizations in the world. Evenings and vacation periods were occupied by his research on the fishes of the Canary Islands. His studies of the shore fish populations and the effect of tourism on the marine environment lead to the establishment of the first underwater preserve in Spain. Since 1984 he has focused his attention on the systematics of gobiid fishes in the Americas and eastern Atlantic; developed a web site on the systematics, biogeography, and breeding of gobiid fishes; and published over 20 scientific papers. He has worked in the Canary Islands for the past 26 years and traveled extensively to other areas in the east Pacific, Central America, Caribbean, and coastal zones in the US. His other pursuits include SCUBA diving and photography for scientific purposes, hiking, canoeing, and camping.

Ernesto A. Peña E.

  Ernesto A. Peña Escobar was born in 1964, at San Salvador, El Salvador. His father stimulated an early interest in the sea and sealife. He moved to Panama in 1983, were he took a BSC in Biology, graduating in 1990. Between 1992-93 he participate in a University of Panama project : A biological inventory of the Panama Canal. He has worked at STRI since 1993. He lives in Panama and enjoys fishing and camping.

Juan M. Posada

  Juan M. Posada was born in 1959 in Caracas, Venezuela, as a son of Spanish immigrants (from Asturias). He graduated as a biologist from the Central University of Venezuela (1984), and received a PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (1996). His first professional steps were with the Los Roques Scientific Foundation as resident biologist at the Marine Biological Station Dos Mosquises (1986-1989). He worked for 14 years as a teacher and researcher in the Department of Organismal Biology at Simon Bolivar University, and currently is a Science Officer for the MarViva Foundation (Panama). His professional interests have always been linked to the biology of marine fishes and the management of artisanal fisheries. He is proud of the 24 students who have completed their undergraduate or graduate studies under his guidance, and has published 22 articles in peer reviewed journals and another 57 in conference proceedings, book chapters and technical reports. During the past 7 years he has developed an interest in the mass communication of scientific knowledge through the production of documentaries, newspaper articles and the creation of electronic information pages. He is married and has two children. He likes good food, traveling with the family and taking care of his friends, despite the time and distance.

Rodolfo Claro

  Rodolfo Claro was born in an small town of Matanzas province, Cuba, in 1939. In 1956 his family moved to Havana city, were he developed his interest in the marine environment. In 1964 he had the opportunity to work and study at the recently created Institute of Oceanology, and in 1967 received a fellowship from the Moscow University M.V. Lomonosov, to finish a specialization in Ichthyology, at the Biological Faculty. Later his research work on the ecology and life cycle of commercial snapper fishes, formed the basis for his doctoral dissertation in 1976. Beginning in 1971 he developed an ichthyological team of researchers in Havana who, for more than 20 years, carry out detailed studies on the taxonomy, reproduction, behaviour, growth, trophic biology, physiology and fisheries biology of the most important fish species of the Cuban shelf. The results, published in many national and foreign journals, are summarized in the book Ecology of the marine fishes of Cuba, edited by Smithsonian Institution Press in 2001. For more than 45 years Rodolfo Claro has participated in various scientific activities related with conservation of coastal and marine environment in Cuba and worked at several reef systems in the Caribbean sea. Most recently he edited a multi-author monograph on the Marine Biodiversity of Cuba, a detailed study of the Biology and Management of Snappers in the Western Atlantic, and a database on the fishes of Cuba.