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Diego Cardeñosa

Diego Cardeñosa

I was born in Colombia, a country with many challenges but blessed with coasts on both Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and home of the second largest biodiversity in the world. Early in life I knew that I wanted to become a scientist and protect the biodiversity that surrounded me as I grew up. Sharks have always been my life-long passion, but unfortunately, they are facing a global conservation crisis. Therefore, my research focuses on using field-based and genetic approaches to answer conservation-relevant questions. I majored in Biology as an undergrad and MSc student and conducted a PhD in Marine Sciences at Stony Brook University. My current research, as a Distinguished Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Florida International University, focuses on determining the species composition of the international shark trade, the identification of supply chains at highest risk of illicit trade, and the development and implementation of rapid, portable, and inexpensive in-port DNA protocols to enhance the detection of illicit wildlife trade by law enforcement officers in major wildlife trade hubs in Asia, Europe and South America. My conservation work resulted in the DIJIN medal in 2022, the highest award given by Colombia’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation and INTERPOL to civilians, and in the Samuel H. Gruber Award by the American Elasmobranch Society in 2019. In addition, I work closely with countries in South America to reduce shark bycatch and create programs to protect the most threatened species in remote and previously unexplored places in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea.

Language spoke: English


Photo credit: The Explorers Club