Liliana M. Dávalos


I’m an evolutionary biologist interested in the forces that shape biodiversity in time and space. At my lab, we focus on how diversity in species and traits arises, and on helping shape policy to conserve ecosystems today and into the future. Complete cv.


  1. Bullet    2013 Invited to highly selective Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium for outstanding early-career scientists

  2. Bullet    2012 Named National Academies of Sciences Education Fellow in the Life Sciences

  3. Bullet    2012 Served on one of the earliest theme identification panels convened by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)

  4. Bullet    My work has been the first to systematically and independently examine environmental impacts of illicit crop production and anti-drug policy, documenting threats to biodiversity, and quantifying indirect deforestation from coca production for the first time.

  5. Bullet    2010 (Jan) Named Professor of the Month, Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners

  6. Bullet    2009 Invited to highly selective Fifth Early Career Scientists Symposium at the University of Michigan

  7. Bullet    2007-present adviser to the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime

  8. Bullet    Discovered reverse colonization from islands to continent among mammals

  9. Bullet    Pioneered biological surveys in 1998 that led to the declaration of the national park Awka Wasi in the southeastern Andes of Colombia in 2007

  10. Bullet    1998 First modern biologist to survey the Serranía de San Lucas

  11. Bullet    Publishing in, among other outstanding journals, Biological Reviews, Conservation Biology, Environmental Science and Technology, Evolution, Genomics, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Science, and Systematic Biology

  12. Bullet    Research featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Le Figaro, The Guardian, Sueddeutsche, Nature, Science, National Geographic, Scientific AmericanThe Scientist, Discovery News, The Ecologist, Reuters, and Mongabay, among many more

  13. Bullet    Funded by, among others, the National Science Foundation, Explorers’ Club, FAHSS,  and the US Fish and Wildlife Service

Postdoctoral research

Postdoctoral    2004-2005    University of Arizona, Ochman Lab

Postdoctoral    2005-2006    American Museum of Natural History, Perkins Lab


PhD    2001-2004    Columbia University, NSF-DDIG: Historical biogeography of the Antilles: Earth history and phylogenetics of endemic Chiropteran taxa

Certificate in Environmental Policy Studies    1998-2001 Columbia University, Access to genetic resources under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

MA    1998-2000    Columbia University, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

BSc     1991-1997    Universidad del Valle (Cali, Colombia), Thesis: Molecular markers associated to resistance to the Hoja Blanca virus (HBV) in rice (Oryza sativa, L)

Download articles on deforestation published as M.D. Álvarez, access hard-to-find publications via ResearchGate, or access citations here. Visit my personal page.