Vivian P. Páez, Ph.D.

Vivian graduated as a biologist from the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia and then spent almost two years at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama as a research assistant working on reptile ecology under the supervision of Drs. Stan Rand and Brian Bock. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution from Ohio University in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Scott Moody, after a three year field study on yellow-headed Amazonian river turtles in the Colombian Amazon. Since 1997, she has been a professor in the Instituto de Biología of the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia, where she teaches courses in population ecology and herpetology. She also founded the Museo de Herpetología of the Universidad de Antioquia, which is now the second largest collection of amphibians and reptiles in the country. She has edited three books and published over 60 scientific articles and book chapters. 

Her research interests have focused on the influence of nest microclimatic conditions and paternal effects on different fitness components of turtles with temperature-dependent sex determination. She also is conducting demographic projects using population matrix models to permit the elaboration of management plans for several species of endangered freshwater turtles. She has been a member of the IUCN Freshwater Turtle and Tortoise Specialist Group steering committee for many years and currently also is an Associate Editor for Chelonian Conservation and Biology. In 2013, she was awarded the Sabin Turtle Conservation Prize for her work on the study and conservation of Colombian turtle species.  She was president from 2011 to 2014 of the Colombian Association of Herpetology and led the initiative to develop a national action plan for conservation of freshwater turtle and tortoise species there. Thanks to this initiative, in 2015 the Colombian government adopted the second phase (2015-2020) of this action plan with the support of many other academic and non-governmental conservation institutions. Vivian is currently working with several NGOs and government agencies to conduct rapid assessments of the status of turtle and crocodile species in three separate areas of Colombia.