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Ari Martínez

Assistant Professor

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

University of California at Santa Cruz

National Geographic Explorer 

Dr. Martinez is a Mexican-American who grew up in LA in an urban setting, received bachelor's and master's degrees from UC Santa Barbara, and a PhD from University of Florida. His research has focused on understanding how social information shared across species can influence species interactions using mixed-species flocks of birds as model study system.

Advancing Inclusive

Mentoring Program

Eliseo Parra: Behavioral Ecology

Ph.D. student, UCLA


A founding member and current collaborator with the Forest Fear Lab, Seo has been a lifelong naturalist and has over a decade of field experience in the Peruvian Amazon. He is currently studying the relative importance of alarm and safety networks in Amazonian mixed species flocks and how they are mediated by forest disturbance.

Ynez Díaz: Urban Ecology

M.S. Candidate, CSULB

A Latina from Southeast Los Angeles, Ynez is a first-generation college student who is passionate about environmental justice, and equity in the field of conservation. She studied organismal biology at CSULB as an undergraduate and has a wide interest in all fauna and flora. She enjoys looking for wildlife that exists in urban ecosystems. Her master's research looks at avian mobbing behavior at the community-level in urban areas.


Chelsey Hunts: Behavioral Ecology

M.A. Student, UCSC

Chelsey found her love of birds and the tropics during her first field job in Costa Rica working studying the spatial ecology of toucans. Since then she has worked in various biological systems and enjoys learning about a wide array of topics, from birds to coral to waste management. Her master's work focuses on the relative importance of safety information to bird communities within different forest types. 


Allene Hendersen: Behavioral Ecology

M.A. Student, UCSC

Allene is a first-generation Chilean-American UCSC master's student with years of experience working with endangered Hawaiian seabirds. Allene is now focusing on referential information in Peruvian Amazon mixed-species flocks and is very excited to tie her career in ecology to her South American roots. 


Vince Weber: Behavioral Ecology

M.A. student, UCSC

Vince’s passion for birds ignited after a semester in Costa Rica. Since receiving his bachelor’s degree from Prescott College in 2013, he has wandered the US and abroad chasing birds and doing fieldwork. Natural history education and outdoor accessibility are two of his life passions. His graduate research examines the link between anti-predator defense strategies and social structures across a diversity of neotropical birds, exploring their evolutionary relationships.



William Sweet, M.S.: Behavioral Ecology/Evolutionary Biology

Will grew up in Massachusetts and has always been an avid birder. His passion for the avian world pushed him to study biology at Wheaton College (Massachusetts). After graduating from Wheaton, Will realized his main interest was in tropical birds while working on various field projects in Costa Rica and Peru. He studied the evolutionary patterns of ant following in neotropical birds.

Benjamin Ewing, M.S.: Urban Ecology

Ben grew up in the Midwest and has had a lifelong interest in the natural world.  He studied zoology at the University of Florida, before working for several years as an avian field technician. He investigated avian mobbing responses in urban areas.   

Alessandro Bartolo, M.S.: Community Ecology

Alex is a first generation college student who didn't go on his first "real" hike until his 20s, but was quickly hooked by what the natural world had to offer. He studied avian responses to land management strategies as an undergraduate at Hampshire College and has since worked as a field technician for projects in the US, Panama, Costa Rica, and Hawai'i. For his master's work, Alex is studied the mechanisms that drive avian biodiversity patterns at large spatial scales. He also enjoys rock climbing, gardening, and activism.

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