Instituto BIOSFERA

College of Biological and Environmental Sciences
About us

BIÓSFERA is an interdisciplinary institute that aims to carry out scientific research in a wide range of academic subjects and in different ecosystems of the biosphere at national and international level.

The BIÓSFERA Institute aims to contribute to the generation of knowledge, management, conservation and restoration of diverse species and ecosystems, and proposes a comprehensive vision that considers ecological, evolutionary, technical, social, cultural, legal and economic aspects.

Research Interests
  • Ecological processes
  • Biodiversity and evolutionary biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental engineering
  • Resource management
  • Socio-environmental studies
Academic staff

To train professionals and carry out interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research related to the biological and environmental sciences, biology, and ecology of diverse ecosystems of the biosphere, to contribute to the generation of knowledge, the conservation of nature, and the construction of ecologically sustainable development models.


To be an internationally recognized, interdisciplinary research center and national benchmark, leader in research, service provision and sustainable management of environmental, biological, and genetic resources.



Andrea Encalada
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext .. 1443

Valeria Ochoa
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1208


Maja Celinšćak
Academic coordinator
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1472


Gabriel Trueba
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1836

Lourdes Magdalena Orejuela Escobar
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 2074

Omar Aguirre
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1206

Carolina Reyes-Puig
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1383

Carlos Jiménez
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1833

Giovani Ramón
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1383

Sonia Zapata
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1427

Cesar Zambrano
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1451

Bernardo Gutierrez
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1356

Andrea Landázuri Flores
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1374

Judith Denkinger
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1153

Antonio Leon-Reyes
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1190

Michel Vargas
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1061

Stella de la Torre
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1789

Margaret Brandt
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1184

Gonzalo Rivas
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 2217

Leo Zurita-Arthos
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1124

Jaime Chaves
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1268

Melanie Valencia
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 2104

Laia Muñoz
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1079

Diego Cisneros-Heredia
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1446

Elisa Bonaccorso
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1341

Maria de Lourdes Torres
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1746

Cristina Mateus
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1419

Esteban Suarez
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1444

Juan Manuel Guayasamin
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1340

External staff
Alina Freire-Fierro
Telephone: (06) 3700040

Blanca Patricia Ríos-Touma
Telephone: (02) 398 1000 (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 2328

Julia Salvador Maldonado
Telephone: (02) 2249763

Paulina Dalgo
Telephone: (02) 223-7377

Luis Vinueza
Telephone: n / a

Karla Estefanía Rojas
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 1286

Diego Mosquera
Tiputini Resident Administrator
Telephone: 098731682


Sofia Carvalho
Full-time professor
Telephone: (+593) 2 297 1700 ext. 2155


Project (line or lines) Coordinator or Principal Investigator

Discover Napo River (Evolutionary biology, phylogeny, and biodiversity; Ecology applied to conservation and development)

Elisa Bonaccorso

The páramos as generators of biodiversity: comparative biogeography and implications in climate change scenarios (Evolutionary biology, phylogeny, and biodiversity)

Elisa Bonaccorso & Juan Manuel Guayasamin

Characterization of the Canchalagua population (Chiton goodallii and Chiton sulcatus) on San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador, for the recommendation of management measures (Ecology applied to conservation and development) 

Margarita Brandt

Pilot study of the fauna of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) associated with populations of Alouata palliata (Primates: Atelidae) in two localities of the province of Manabí (Ecology applied to conservation and development)

Giovani Ramón
Diversity along the Napo Basin (Evolutionary biology, phylogeny, and biodiversity; Ecology applied to conservation and development) Andrea Encalada
E-fish Citizen Science 

(Evolutionary biology, phylogeny, and biodiversity; Ecology applied to conservation and development)

Andrea Encalada
Andes Amazon Dams project 

 (Ecology applied to conservation and development) 

Andrea Encalada
Rios Vivos Andinos: Region-wide collaboration for conservation of free-flowing rivers 

 (Ecology applied to conservation and development) 

Andrea Encalada

Water, Biodiversity and Global Change: from the Ecosystemic to the Productive and Social (Ecology applied to conservation and development)

Andrea Encalada
ECUGUAYCO: Towards the Construction of an EcoHidrological Classification of Streams of Ecuador (Ecology applied to conservation and development) Andrea Encalada
Monitoring of Oil activities in Ecuador: a cross-disciplinary approach between Environment, Health and People – MONOIL (Ecology applied to conservation and development) Andrea Encalada
CELLDEX- CELLulose Decomposition EXperiment in streams and riparian zones across the Earth’s major biomes (Ecology applied to conservation and development) Andrea Encalada
Dimensions: Collaborative Research: An integrative traits-based approach to predicting variation in vulnerability of tropical and temperate stream biodiversity to climate change (Ecology applied to conservation and development) Andrea Encalada
 Cristina's project with Poligrants  


Akcali, C. K., Adán Pérez-Mendoza, H., Salazar-Valenzuela, D., Kikuchi, D. W., Guayasamin, J. M., & Pfennig, D. W. (2019). Evaluating the utility of camera traps in field studies of predation. PeerJ, 7, e6487. .

Amador, L., Soto‐Gamboa, M., & Guayasamin, J. M. (2019). Integrating alpha, beta, and phylogenetic diversity to understand anuran fauna along environmental gradients of tropical forests in western Ecuador. Ecology and Evolution. .

Atkinson, C. L., Alexiades, A. V., MacNeill, K. L., Encalada, A. C., Thomas, S. A., & Flecker, A. S. (2019). Nutrient recycling by insect and fish communities in high-elevation tropical streams. Hydrobiologia, 838(1), 13–28. .

Bremer, L. L., Farley, K. A., DeMaagd, N., Suárez, E., Cárate Tandalla, D., Vasco Tapia, S., & Mena Vásconez, P. (2019). Biodiversity outcomes of payment for ecosystem services: lessons from páramo grasslands. Biodiversity and Conservation, 28(4), 885–908.

Brito, J., Tinoco, N., Curay, J., Vargas, R., Reyes-Puig, C., Romero, V., & Pardiñas, U. F. J. (2019). Unexpected diversity in the Andes of Ecuador: phylogeny of the Thomasomys “cinereus” group and description of a new species (Rodentia, Cricetidae). Neotropical mammozoology, 26(2), 1–22.

Carvajal-Endara, S., Coloma, L. A., Morales-Mite, M. A., Guayasamin, J. M., SzéKely, P., & Duellman, W. E. (2019). Phylogenetic systematics, ecology, and conservation of marsupial frogs (Anura: Hemiphractidae) from the Andes of southern Ecuador, with descriptions of four new biphasic species. Zootaxa, 4562(1), 1.

Cordero–Rivera, A., Sanmartín–Villar, I., Sánchez Herrera, M., Rivas–Torres, A., & Encalada, A. C. (2019). Survival and longevity in neotropical damselflies (Odonata, Polythoridae). Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 293–300.

Encalada, A. C., Flecker, A. S., Poff, N. L., Suárez, E., Herrera-R, G. A., Ríos-Touma, B., … Anderson, E. P. (2019). A global perspective on tropical montane rivers. Science, 365(6458), 1124–1129.

Encalada AC, Guayasamin JM, Suárez E, Mena CF, Lessmann J, Sampedro C, Martínez P, Ochoa-Herrera V, Swing K, Celinšćak M, Schreckinger J, Vieira J, Tapia A, Serrano C, Barragán K, Andrade Alexiades A, Troya MJ. (2019) The Rivers of the Andean-Amazon Basins: Invertebrate Tools and Guide for the Effective Design of Monitoring Programs. Trama, Quito, 224 pp.

Gabela-Flores, M. V., Sanmartín-Villar, I., Rivas-Torres, A., Encalada, A. C., & Cordero-Rivera, A. (2019). Demography and territorial behavior of three species of the genus Hetaerina along three tropical stream ecosystems (Odonata: Calopterygidae).

Guayasamin, J. M., Cisneros-Heredia, D. F., Vieira, J., Kohn, S., Gavilanes, G., Lynch, R. L., … Maynard, R. J. (2019). A new glassfrog (Centrolenidae) from the Chocó-Andean Río Manduriacu Reserve, Ecuador, endangered by mining. PeerJ, 7, e6400.

Guayasamin JM, Hutter CR, Tapia EE, Culebras J, Peñafiel N, Pyron RA, et al. (2017) Diversification of the rainfrog Pristimantis ornatissimus in the lowlands and Andean foothills of Ecuador. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0172615. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172615.

Hargreaves, A. L., Suárez, E., Mehltreter, K., Myers-Smith, I., Vanderplank, S. E., Slinn, H. L., … Morales M., P. A. (2019). Seed predation increases from the Arctic to the Equator and from high to low elevations. Science Advances, 5(2), eaau4403.

Hoorn, C., Guayasamin, J. M., Ortega-Andrade, H. M., Linder, P., & Bonaccorso, E. (2019). Celebrating Alexander von Humboldt’s 250 th anniversary: Exploring bio- and geodiversity in the Andes (IBS Quito 2019). Frontiers of Biogeography, 11(2).

Jiménez-Robles O, Guayasamin JM, Ron SR, De la Riva I. Reproductive traits associated with species turnover of amphibians in Amazonia and its Andean slopes. Ecol Evol. 2017;7:2489–2500.

Mateus, C., Guerrero, C. A., Quezada, G., Lara, D., & Ochoa-Herrera, V. (2019). An Integrated Approach for Evaluating Water Quality between 2007–2015 in Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Archipelago. Water, 11(5), 937.

Maurice, L., López, F., Becerra, S., Jamhoury, H., Le Menach, K., Dévier, M.-H., … Schreck, E. (2019). Drinking water quality in areas impacted by oil activities in Ecuador: Associated health risks and social perception of human exposure. Science of The Total Environment, 690, 1203–1217.

Ramón, G. M., Pérez, R., & Jarrín, P. (2019). Francisco Campos-Rivadeneira and Roberto Levi- Castillo: Their lives and contributions to the study of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in Ecuador. Biomédica, 39, 172–198.

Reyes-Puig, J. P., Reyes-Puig, C., Ron, S., Ortega, J. A., Guayasamin, J. M., Goodrum, M., … Yánez-Muñoz, M. H. (2019). A new species of terrestrial frog of the genus Noblella Barbour, 1930 (Amphibia: Strabomantidae) from the Llanganates-Sangay Ecological Corridor, Tungurahua, Ecuador. PeerJ, 7, e7405.

Salerno, P. E., Páez-Vacas, M., Guayasamin, J. M., & Stynoski, J. L. (2019). Male principal investigators (almost) don’t publish with women in ecology and zoology. PLOS ONE, 14(6), e0218598.

Scheele, B. C., Pasmans, F., Skerratt, L. F., Berger, L., Martel, A., Beukema, W., … Canessa, S. (2019). Amphibian fungal panzootic causes catastrophic and ongoing loss of biodiversity. Science, 363(6434), 1459–1463.

Seena, S., Bärlocher, F., Sobral, O., Gessner, M. O., Dudgeon, D., McKie, B. G., … Graça, M. A. S. (2019). Biodiversity of leaf litter fungi in streams along a latitudinal gradient. Science of The Total Environment, 661, 306–315.

Suarez, E., & Zapata‐Ríos, G. (2019). Managing subsistence hunting in the changing landscape of Neotropical rain forests. Biotropica, 51(3), 282–287.

Tiegs, S. D., Costello, D. M., Isken, M. W., Woodward, G., McIntyre, P. B., Gessner, M. O., Zwart, J. A. (2019). Global patterns and drivers of ecosystem functioning in rivers and riparian zones. Science Advances, 5(1), eaav0486.

Zambrano-Romero, A., Herrera-Moreno, N., Trueba, G., Sierra-Alvarez, R., León-Reyes, A., & Ochoa-Herrera, V. (2019). Construction and operation of a low-cost anaerobic chamber for the seeding and cultivation of reducing sulfate bacteria. Advances in Science and Engineering, 11 (2).


BIOSFERA Service Laboratory offers comprehensive biological and physical-chemical analysis of environmental samples:

  • Identification of aquatic invertebrates
  • Water quality assessment
  • Physics and chemistry of rivers, lagoons, and natural springs
  • Physical and chemical wastewater


The Gordon and Betty Moore.
Country: USA.
Collaboration Type: project financing Discover Napo river.

Fulbright scholars Leah Gerber, Ph.D. and John Sabo, Ph.D. (Arizona State University).
Country: USA.
Collaboration Type: academic collaboration and research, teaching.

Wildlife Conservation Society.
Country: USA.
Collaboration Type: Discover Napo river project.

Sr3 Invent Cía. Ltda
Country: Ecuador and Switzerland.
Collaboration Type: Stockholm Junior Water Prize Of Ecuador (Sjwp - Ec).

Workshops, conferences, events

HUMBOLDT 250 International Congress;
Quito August 05-09, 2019.

Lab Meetings BIOSPHERE;
Quito March and April 2019.

Monoil Event: Environmental Monitoring, Health, Society and Oil in Ecuador;
Quito March 19, 2019.

Presentation of the Book "The rivers of the Andean-Amazon basins: tools and invertebrate guide for the design of monitoring programs";
Quito September 19, 2019.

AQUATROP Congress: Tropical Aquatic Ecosystems in the Anthropocene;
Quito July 23-26, 2018

TNC-USFQ Course: Training in Monitoring Data Management with RBIS;
Quito, October 25-27, 2017.

Workshop: Environmental Leadership Short Course;
5-8 January 2018.

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