Co-Founder and Director

Cassiopea Carrier Doneys graduated with a master’s in Environmental Management and a master's in Ecology from Université de Sherbrooke in Canada. She has a bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs and International Relations from Université Laval. A PADI Divemaster and LEED Green Associate, she founded the Takata Research Center after her studies, driven by the goal of safeguarding Mahahual's marine biodiversity and coastal ecosystems. Since 2016, she has been developing new projects, coordinating a diverse team of biologists, social researchers, managers, interns, and volunteers. Cassiopea ensures that project developments aligns with the organization’s mission and visio.She believes the conservation of nature cannot be achieved without a change in societal behaviors and makes sure continuous efforts are put in to develop Mahahual into a sustainable coastal town.

Project Supervisor

Nadia Sandoval Laurrabaquio Alvarado is a Marine biologist from the Marine and Limnology Sciences Institute, National Autonomous University of Mexico, specialized in genetics and genomics of fishes, principally sharks. She has a rich professional background, participating in national and international conferences and workshops. She is actively involved in planning, supervising, and coordinating scientific and environmental projects, including the Mahahual Coral Restoration Program and Coral Reef Monitoring. In addition, she contributes to the coordination of volunteers, students, and community groups, offering courses at MARES, such as Coral Biology and Restoration Workshops, Reef Monitoring Training, and the Coastal Ecology Program.

Project Supervisor

Dr Itzel Zamora Vilchis attained her bachelor's degree with honors at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), her PhD degree at the School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Australia and a Postdoctoral degree at the Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico. She also has obtained a diploma in Scientific Diving Leadership at UNAM. Itzel worked as a Research fellow at Quintana Roo University, leading the Molecular Biology Lab for the study of the Mexican Caribbean Megafauna. She has published a variety of scientific papers, book chapters and divulgatory articles. She has supervised bachelor and postgraduate theses and has taught a variety of subjects all related to ecology and conservation. She also worked as a lecturer at Washington University of Health and Science. In her role at MARES, she leads conservation projects such as Mangrove and Coral Restoration, Coral and Benthos Monitoring, and Environmental Education, while also supervising students and teaching courses like Reef Monitoring, Coastal Ecology, and Coral Restoration.

Scientific collaborator

Dr Geovana Maria Leon-Pech has a PhD in marine ecology from CICESE, Ensenada, México. She has an M.Sc. from CINVESTAV, Mérida, México and a B.Sc. from Instituto Tecnológico, Conkal, México. She completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Rhode Island, USA. Her expertise lies in population genetics, ecology, and biology in coral reef ecosystems, with a focus on genetic structure and diversity of marine populations. Geovana has initiated collaborations in coral restoration projects, integrating genetic diversity studies in restored populations and environmental DNA studies. As a Divemaster, she has contributed to coral reef ecology projects in the Pacific and the Mexican Caribbean, aligning her work at MARES with other academic and environmental institutions.

Scientific Collaborator

Dr Andres Larrea has a PhD in environmental sciences from the Institut de Sciences de l’Environnement at Université du Québec à Montréal. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Université de Montréal and a PADI Dive Instructor, Dr. Larrea focuses on environmental conservation in the Magdalen Islands archipelago, Quebec. He coordinates a political ecology research project at Université du Québec à Montréal and created MARES' Coastal Ecology Program for diving professionals, directing the Habitat Cartography Project.

Scientific Collaborator

Dr Clara Malbos has a PhD in anthropology at the CESSMA laboratory at the University of Paris in France. Starting with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at the University of Montreal, she pursued a master’s degree in tourism anthropology at the University of Paris Descartes. Clara completed internships with Takata, focusing on the social perception of the environment. Her research explores the relationship between environmental protection and citizen involvement, with her current work delving into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the residents of Mahahual. Additionally, she oversees the environmental social perception program at MARES. Beyond her academic endeavors, Clara works as an anthropologist for a tour agency in Costa Rica, contributing to the development of tourism in rural and indigenous communities in the country.

Communication Specialist

Elena Azor Uroz is a graduate in International Business from Maastricht University, where she specialized in Emerging Markets. She has experience in marketing strategies and a focus on social media expertise. Her professional background includes managing her own clothing brand's social media presence. Elena focused her academic journey in business and sustainability, writing her Bachelor thesis on the impact of tourism on environmental degradation. With a passion for sustainability and storytelling, she utilizes marketing strategies to showcase MARES Center's results, advocating for marine conservation and sustainability.

Co-Founder & Public Relations officer

Pablo Calderon Cadiz has been working closely with MARES since its beginning. His background as an entrepreneur and as a professional actor makes him a person with a special talent when it comes to open new doors and share the values we carry. He worked in business development for our sister company Takata Experience for the past years during which he was able to find and execute amazing collaborations as well as making the company grow until where it is now. Pablo is a PADI Staff Instructor and has been involved in the ever growing conservation projects at MARES, overviewing many collaborations, logistical matters, funding opportunities and cultivating relationships with important partners over the years.