Science and Knowledge


The Science and Knowledge team facilitates and catalyses integration of science into IUCN’s programme and promotes enhanced knowledge management to support better conservation practice.

Working with IUCN’s Members, Commissions, Secretariat and partners around the world, we strive to ensure the best possible scientific basis for IUCN policy and action.

We work from Gland, Switzerland and Washington DC, USA, but are pleased to hear from you wherever you are based!

Head, Science and Knowledge ManagementTom Brooks

Chief Scientist

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Tom is an ecologist, geographer, and ornithologist by education, with a B.A. (Hons) in Geography from the University of Cambridge (1993) and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee (1998). He previously held biodiversity science positions in NatureServe, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy, as well as visiting appointments at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in the University of the Philippines Los Baños and in the Department of Geography of the University of Tasmania. His field experience is primarily from tropical forest hotspots: in Kenya, Paraguay, Indonesia and the Philippines. He served on the Executive Committee of the BP Conservation Leadership Programme (2002–2010), and co-chaired the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas/Species Survival Commission Joint Taskforce on ‘Biodiversity and Protected Areas’ 2009–2013. He has authored 210 scientific and popular articles. 

Daisy LariosDaisy Larios

Librarian and Publications Manager

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Daisy joined IUCN in June 2014 as the librarian for IUCN headquarters. Prior to coming to Gland, Switzerland, Daisy worked in Seoul, South Korea, first arriving as a 2011 Luce Scholar for the National Digital Library of Korea and then staying on to work in publishing. Daisy holds a B.A. in History from Occidental College in Los Angeles, the city she calls home, and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she worked as a Mellon Library Fellow for Swarthmore College and then as a library assistant for Drexel University.

Nicholas MacfarlaneNicholas Macfarlane

Programme Officer

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Nicholas comes to IUCN from the US National Academy of Sciences, where he was a Science and Technology Policy Fellow working on assessment of restoration monitoring efforts subsequent to the Deep Water Horizon oil spill and the cumulative impacts of stressors on marine mammals. He has a PhD in Biology and Oceanography from MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, an MSc in Technology and Policy from MIT, and a BA in Psychology and Neuroscience from Princeton. Originally from Canada, Nicholas has field experience from Florida, Spain, Honduras, Indonesia, and Ecuador, and is fluent in all three of IUCN’s official languages. Nicholas’ primary responsibility is to lead implementation of the Global Environment Facility -supported project on “The Global Environmental Commons – Solutions for a Crowded Planet”, which is contracting white papers and organising a science-policy dialogue and a high-level conference to review and make recommendations regarding the effectiveness of conservation actions. Nicholas is kindly hosted by the IUCN DC office.

Rossana MerizaldeRossana Merizalde 

Administrative Assistant

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Rossana Merizalde joined the Science and Knowledge Unit as an administrative assistant in 2016. She is a young professional with experience in protected areas, land conservation, and World Heritage Site conservation. She has been involved with the IUCN since 2013, as a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas, presenting case studies at the 2014 World Parks Congress, and collaborating with the IUCN – French Committee’s Protected Areas Programme. Rossana has also worked at a French UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Italy and Portugal collaborating with cultural landscape management case studies, and with private consultants and the United Nations Development Programme in social, environmental and natural resources management projects in her home country, Bolivia. She has a BSc in Environmental Engineering, a MSc in Natural Resources Management, and an European Joint MSc in Sustainable Development and Cultural Landscapes. In her spare she enjoys wandering in nature, cooking, playing saxophone, and dancing. Rossana is kindly hosted by the IUCN DC office.

Laurence PerianinLaurence Perianin

IPBES Liaison Officer

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Laurence joined the IUCN Secretariat in July 2014, as an IUCN-IPBES Liaison Officer, to follow-up and strengthen IUCN inputs to the Platform. Laurence is an environmental engineer, civil servant of the French Ministry of Ecology, specialised in hydrobiology. In her former position, she was working on the national implementation of the European Water Framework Directive. Her expertise is in the interface between regulation requisites, research planning and implementation needs.

S. van der PloegSarina van der Ploeg

Publications Officer

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Sarina joined IUCN as a Publications Officer in March 2017. She is responsible for providing guidance to the Union on all aspects of publishing, ensuring the high quality of our publications, and enhancing the effective dissemination of IUCN’s conservation knowledge. Prior to joining IUCN, she worked at United Nations Environment  Programme and at the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva, Switzerland. Sarina holds a Master's degree in Literature from the University of Amsterdam and has worked over 10 years as an editor and publisher at various publishing houses, where she was involved in all aspects of the publishing process. 

Peter James Stephenson

PJ Stephenson

Senior Advisor, Monitoring

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PJ is Senior Advisor, Monitoring in the IUCN Science & Knowledge Programme in Gland and chair of the new IUCN SSC Species Monitoring Specialist Group ( He works with conservation and science teams across IUCN to improve the availability of biodiversity data for use in Red List assessments. By building tools and capacity for data collection and use he is also working to improve the monitoring of conservation projects and of protected areas, KBAs and other sites of conservation importance. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of London and studying tenrecs in Madagascar for his PhD (University of Aberdeen), PJ worked for Scottish Natural Heritage in the Cairngorms, WWF in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, and Conservation International in Côte d'Ivoire. He moved on to establish and manage elephant, great ape, rhino and bushmeat programmes for WWF's Africa & Madagascar Programme. Between 2007 and 2016 he was WWF International's Director of Conservation Strategy & Performance where he drove results-based management across the network, introducing monitoring systems that measured delivery of WWF's priority programmes and global goals for the first time in the organization's history.


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