Using his fellowship, Dirzo developed and staffed an operational laboratory at the Chajul Field Station in Montes Azules, Lacandonia, Chiapas. The station has become an important focal point for this special forest and has attracted active participation from a variety of Mexican conservation stakeholders ranging from government officials to local, rural teachers.
The successful functioning of the Montes Azules station allowed for the implementation of a number of projects, including inventories of the floristic diversity and the community of fungi of the Lacandon forest, a catalogue of the trophic relationships between herbivorous caterpillars and their host plants, development of a manual for the identification of trees from their bark, assessments of litterfall patterns in the three main variants of the rainforest in Lacandonia and a catalogue of photographs of the Lacandon rain forest.
In addition, Dirzo used his Pew funds to assess the consequences of defaunation on the structure and diversity of the forest understory and evaluate the status of conservation of Mexican tropical forests and mangrove ecosystems. He also produced several books on the conservation of biodiversity in Mexico.
Rodolfo Dirzo's field of expertise is tropical ecology and conservation. His primary area of research is ecological interactions with a focus on tropical forests. His work includes the study of defaunation (the contemporary loss of vertebrates) and its effects on forest diversity and function; deforestation and its consequences on atmospheric properties; and trophic relationships between plants and animals.
Dirzo helped create the Center for Ecology at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). He was formerly director of the Los Tuxtlas Research Station.
Ph.D., University of Wales
1980: Ecology, United Kingdom
Master of Science, University of Wales
1977: Ecology, United Kingdom
Bachelor of Science, Universidad de Morelos
1972: Biology, Mexico
KEY LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
Association for Tropical Biology
past Council Member
Scientific Committee of the Latinoamerican Botanical Network
KEY AWARDS & HONORS
1992: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment
Association of Tropical Biology
British Ecological Society
Mexican Academy of Scientific Research
Mexican National System of Researchers
Sociedad Botanica de Mexico
The Linnean Society