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Descendants United for Nature, Adaptation, and Sustainability

Meet the Team

Utilizing geoarchaeology, archaeomalacology, and marine ecology techniques, the Rivera-Collazo research group focuses on the effects that human activity has over island ecosystems through time, as well as how people have responded to climatic and environmental change in the past. Taking an applied approach, the team works with local communities in the quest for understanding the current and expected impacts of climate change, including threats to coastal heritage.

"What I’ve learned through archaeology is that we are stronger than we think."

— Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo

The Rivera-Collazo Research Group
Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo

Principal Investigator

Isabel Rivera-Collazo is an Assistant Professor of Ecological, Biological and Human Adaptations to Climate Change at the Department of Anthropology and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology of University College London, specializing on human ecodynamics, landscape reconstruction, and human adaptations to climate and environmental change on islands and coastal/marine contexts. Dr. Rivera-Collazo is also a Research Fellow of the Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CATEC) and the Laboratory for Environmental Archaeology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.

Mariela Declet-Perez

DUNAS Project Lead

Mariela Declet-Perez is an environmental and maritime archaeologist currently pursuing her PhD at the University of California - San Diego. Her research explores human ecodynamics with an emphasis in human adaptation to catastrophic events (e.i hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes). She uses techniques from paleoclimatology, geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology and integrates current local knowledge of local communities to create a reconstruction of past marine ecosystems and climate conditions. She is currently a researcher in the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology, Geoarchaeology Lab at UCSD, and the Laboratory for Environmental Archaeology at the University of Puerto Rico.  She has a BS from the University of Puerto Rico – Humacao in Marine Biology, and a MA from Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe in Caribbean Archaeology.

Rodriguez EA Headshot.jpg
Eric Rodriguez

Affiliated Researcher

Eric is a maritime archaeologist currently pursuing his PhD at the University of California - San Diego. His research explores human adaptation and settlement on coastal wetland environments in the Caribbean using community engagement, geographic information systems,and a variety of remote sensing and geoarchaeological techniques. He is a student researcher with the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology and is actively listed on the Register of Professional Archaeologists. Before starting his PhD program in 2018, he spent the last seven years working as an archaeologist and environmental GIS consultant in the Americas, Italy, Great Britain, Lebanon, and Japan.

Héctor M. Rivera-Claudio

Chief Citizen Scientist​ 

Hector M. Rivera-Claudio has a BBA from the University of Puerto Rico, with Management and Accounting Mayors. He is a retired accountant and volunteer in the Citizen Scientist Program of Para La Naturaleza in various fields since February 2010. He has been part of the core volunteers in the archaeology programme since October 2013. He firmly believes that as we get closer to nature and pursue its preservation, we naturally develop a more spiritual consciousness.

Alma Lilia Collazo Frau

Alma has a BA in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, and certificates in Neurolinguistic Programming and TAPAS Acupressure techniques. She worked for many years in food technology research at the University of Puerto Rico Experimental Station, and then shifted towards focusing on raising her four children (Alma, Edgardo, Isabel and Ana), which she finds to be her most significant accomplishment in life. She also was a ballet dancer, a painter, a science teacher, an agroecological farmer, a wood-working artisan and a homeschooling teacher. After her children grew up, she returned to work for the Foundation for the Integration and Strengthening of the Family, and the Neurolinguistic Programming Institute of Puerto Rico, with her husband Edgar Rivera Rosario, Neurolinguist. Through the Foundation they gave counseling, trainings and workshops for anger management and healthy relationships to the police force and to Puerto Rican schools. Alma is very proud of her Puerto Rican heritage, and is highly proud of the work and the achievements of her children. She is now retired in Tecate, Mexico, and collaborates with DUNAS in Spanish translation of all materials. 

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