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Our Team

José Andrés Salazar Zúñiga



José Andrés Salazar Zúñiga is a Biologist, who specializes in behavior, natural history and taxonomy of amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica. During his career he participated as a teacher assistant in various courses of the School of Biology of the University of Costa Rica, such as Zoology, Hepetología, General Biology etc. He also had participation in 2009 as an teacher assistant in the course of Tropical Biology of the University of New Mexico. Since 2010 participates in amphibian conservation workshops organized by organizations such as the University of Costa Rica, AMACZOOA, Fundazoo, WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums), IUCN, Amphibian Ark, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and Species Survival Commission. Among his most important contributions is participation to organize the Red List of amphibians of Costa Rica and conservation strategies in Mesoamerica of IUCN.

He is currently the Research Coordinator of the Veragua Foundation, Herpetology professor and an active researcher of  the herpetology department of the University of Costa Rica, where he has participated in different projects, working with recognized  herpetologists such as: Msc. Federico Bolaños, Msc. Gerardo Chavez (Cachi), among others. Professor of Biomimetic in the Veritas University (Costa Rica). Professor of the Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS) in the course: Conservation of the natural landscape From his current projects we can mention one of the first initiatives in-situ conservation of amphibians in the world, which is supported by the International Volunteer Agency, Eco-teach. He is also working on the description of new species for Costa Rica and several aspects of research involving animal behavior of amphibians such as voice communication, territoriality, and reproductive biology.

Research Projects Publications Acosta-Chaves, V & Salazar-Zuñiga, J.A2013. Diploglossus monotropis (Costarrican rainbow striped galliwasp). Predation. Herpetological Review 44 (3):508. Salazar-Zúñiga, J.A & García-Rodríguez, A. 2014. Advertisement call of Craugastor noblei: another calling species of the Craugastor gollmeri Group (Anura: Craugastoridae). Phyllomedusa 13(1):67-70. Salazar-Zúñiga, J.A & Bolaños, F. 2012. Resumen del proyecto: Re descripción de la especie Allobates talamancae (Anura: Aromobatidae) y su variación interpoblacional en Costa Rica. Revista oficial de la sociedad Mesoamericana para la biología y la conservación, 16 (2):93. In preparation (In prep) Salazar-Zúñiga J.A. & F. Bolaños.2014. Two new species of the genus Allobates (Anura: Aromobatidae) from Costa Rica and a redescription of Allobates talamancae. Chaves-Acuña W. J.A Salazar-Zuñiga & G. Chaves. 2013. Cuido paternal de la rana de vidrio de Talamanca (Hyalinobatrachium talamancae) en el caribe central Costarricense. En prep Salazar-Zúñiga J.A. W. Chaves-Acuña & J. Brenes-Andrade. Descripción del comportamiento de cortejo de Allobates talamancae (Anura:Aromobatidae). Salazar-Zúñiga J.A. W. Chaves-Acuña, A. Gutierrez, J. Gutierrez & J. Brenes-Andrade. 2013. Descripción del comportamiento agonístico de los machos de Allobates talamancae (Anura: Aromobatidae) ante la invasión de otro macho. Salazar-Zúñiga, J.A. Brenes-Andrade, J.L. Gutierrez-Vannucchi. A.C. Chaves-Acuña, W. Azuguru, N. Gutierrez, J. Abarca, J.I. Bolaños-Vives, F. Biología Reproductiva y conservación de la rana tigre Cruziohyla calcarifer.. Ongoing research Salazar-Zúñiga J.A., J. Brenes. 2013. Monitoreo de sitios de reproducción de Agalychnis lemur  (Boulenger, 1882) y Cruziohyla calcarifer  (Boulenger, 1902); para evaluar el éxito reproductivo en sitios de recolonización en la Reserva Veragua Rainforest; Las Brisas, Limón; Costa Rica. En curso Salazar-Zúñiga J.A. 2013. Distribución espacial y temporal de Allobates talamancae (Anura: Aromobatidae) y su interacción acústica inter e intra especifica en una comunidad de dendrobatoideos.

Wagner Chaves-Acuña



I am a biologist from the University of Costa Rica and I have been participating as part of the research team in Veragua Rainforest for five years already. I am particularly interested in animal behavior projects that could potentially complement the ecological criterion of conservation strategies for the Costa Rican rainforest. So far, I have developed research surveys regarding parental care in glass frogs (Centrolenidae family), as well as bioacoustical analysis in terms of Neotropical frogs’ reproductive biology. In addition to this, I am interested in experimental designs dealing with evolutionary aspects of anti-predatory strategies of territorial species. In the short-term, I pretend to study symbiotic relationships for plant-animal interactions and to determine the effect of human activities on the communication of species that use acoustic signals for reproductive and territorial aims.

Soy biólogo de la Universidad de Costa Rica y he participado como parte del equipo de investigación de Veragua Rainforest por cinco años. Estoy interesado en trabajos de comportamiento animal que puedan complementar el criterio ecológico de estrategias de conservación en el bosque lluvioso de Costa Rica. He desarrollado proyectos de investigación en relación al cuido parental de ranas de vidrio, así como análisis bioacústicos sobre la biología reproductiva de estos anuros Neotropicales. Sumado a esto, me interesa el diseño experimental que evalúe aspectos evolutivos respecto a estrategias anti-predatorias en especies territoriales. A corto plazo, pretendo desarrollar investigaciones alusivas a relaciones simbióticas con interacciones planta-animal, así como utilizar herramientas de análisis para estudiar el efecto de actividades humanas sobre la comunicación de distintas especies que utilizan señales acústicas con fines reproductivos y territoriales.

Juan Ignacio Abarca Odio



I’m an advanced Biology student at University of Costa Rica and I became involved with Veragua Rainforest’s research team four years ago. My interests revolve around behavior, ecology, reproductive biology and conservation of reptiles, amphibians and cockroaches of Costa Rica. I intend to develop both in-situ and ex-situ investigations that will determine critical factors such as reproductive requirements, embrionary and larval development, diet and population dynamics (among others) of poorly studied species; with the goal of producing new modern conservation strategies. I’ve participated in investigations that propose the usage of artificial breeding sites as a fundamental element in anuran conservation; both species and community-wise. I’m also interested in investigations that propitiate the sustainable usage of natural resources by the residents of surrounding communities, in such way that they can benefit from the conservation of the forest too, so that they can join our efforts.

Soy estudiante avanzado de biología de la Universidad de Costa Rica y me integré al equipo de investigación de Veragua Rainforest hace cuatro años. Mis intereses giran en torno al comportamiento, la ecología, la biología reproductiva y la conservación de los reptiles, anfibios y cucarachas de Costa Rica. Pretendo desarrollar investigaciones tanto in-situ como ex-situ, que determinen factores críticos como requerimientos reproductivos, desarrollo embrionario y larval, dieta y dinámica poblacional (entre otros) de especies poco estudiadas, con el fin de producir nuevas y modernas estrategias de conservación. He participado en investigaciones que proponen el uso de sitios reproductivos artificiales como elemento fundamental en la conservación de anuros, tanto a nivel de especies como de comunidades. También es de mi interés la investigación que permita propiciar el uso sostenible de los recursos naturales por parte de los pobladores de las comunidades aledañas, de manera que ellos también se beneficien de la conservación del bosque y se puedan unir a nuestros esfuerzos.

Diego Salas



Diego Salas is a biologist specializing in mammals. He completed his degree at the University of Costa Rica on mammals in urban areas; as part of his thesis, he determined the population density and use of space of the raccoons on the university campus. He is a member of the Theria Association for Conservation and Research and the Costa Rican Bat Conservation Program (PCMCR). He also collaborates as a collector with the Zoology Museum of the University of Costa Rica. During his university education he participated as a volunteer assistant in Veragua Rainforest, generating information about the diversity of bats in the area. As of May 2018, he is part of the research team of the Veragua Foundation, where he leads projects on mammals. Information about the wealth of mammals on site, tent-building bats, plant phenology and its relationship with the diet of mammals in the area, are some of the projects he carries out in Veragua Rainforest.

Ramírez-Fernández, J. D., Córdoba-Alfaro, J., Salas-Solano, D., & Rodríguez-Herrera, B. (2015). Extension of the known geographic distribution of Diplomys labilis (Mammalia: Rodentia: Echimyidae): first record for Costa Rica. Check List, 11(5), 1745. Forthcoming: Salas-Solano, D. Jacaratia spinosa fruit consumption by Nyctomys sumichrasti in the Central Caribbean of Costa Rica. Salas-Solano, D. Tent use by Vampyressa nymphaea (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) in Carpotroche platyptera (Achariaceae) in Costa Rica Salas-Solano, D., Sandoval, L., Barrantes, G. & Rodríguez-Herrera, B. Richness and abundance of non-volant terrestrial mammals in an urban environment in the Neotropics. Salas-Solano, D., Alvarado, G., Sandoval, L., Barrantes, G. & Rodríguez-Herrera, B. Raccoon density, habitat use, and establishment of refuges in a neotropical urban environment, Costa Rica. Salas-Solano, D. Bravo, Y. & Calderon, M. Predation of Sylvilagus dicei and Sceloporus malachiticus by Mustela frenata in Costa Rica. Investigations in progress: Salas-Solano, D. Mammal diversity in the Costa Rican Central Caribbean.

Javier Lobon-Rovira

Wildlife Photographer and PhD student at CIBIO-InBio institution from Portugal.


Javier Lobon-Rovira is a Wildlife Photographer and PhD student at CIBIO-InBio institution from Portugal. He has assisted in an Animal Care Volunteer at Wildlife Rescue Association (Vancouver, Canada) rehabilitating wildlife and promoting the welfare of wild animals in the urban environment.

He has been working as field assistant with Moose and Wolves in Utah, and sampling fishes with electric-fishing techniques as well. While his Master's thesis, he identified a "lost population" of Iberian Lynx by anecdotal occurrence data and molecular scatology, this for a major part of my Master in Science Degree. Furthermore, he collaborated many different herpetology and conservation projects. Currently he is developing a PhD on Systematic and Evolution of Geckonids from Southern Africa, which includes description of species and identify several evolutionary hypotheses within this group.

Fabiola Chirino Fernández



Fabiola is an advanced biology student at the University of Costa Rica. She started as a poison frog project assistant in the Veragua Rainforest and from that moment on she has been passionate about the study of frog reproductive biology and conservation.

Recently, she is formulating her thesis project with the Agalychnis lemur species, which is critically endangered and in the park we have one of the last populations in the country. She is also part of the conservation project En Busca del Pez Sierra- Costa Rica and the Secret Life of Sharks, focused on ecological issues of marine species.

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