Dr Keith Bensusan
The Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
Dr Keith Bensusan
Dr Keith Bensusan has been working at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens since 2007 and became its Director in 2011.
His background is in the biological sciences and he has a broad knowledge of terrestrial natural history, most notably plants, insects and birds. He is particularly interested in the ecology and conservation of species and habitats in Gibraltar and the succulent flora of Morocco.
In addition to his work at the Botanic Gardens, he is a member of four statutory bodies in Gibraltar: the Nature Conservancy Council, the Scientific Authority, the Gibraltar Port Authority and the Development and Planning Commission. He also sits on the Gibraltar regional Committee for European Funding (JLAG) and the Council of the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS).
Dr John Cortes
Minister for Health, the Environment,
Energy and Climate Change
The Hon. Dr John Cortes MP is Minister for Health, Environment, Energy and Climate Change, HM Government of Gibraltar. Formerly he was the Director of the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens (1991-2011) and General Secretary, Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (1976-2011). His other appointments have included Justice of the Peace and President, Gibraltar Magistrates’ Association (2008-2011).
John has a BSc. (Hons) Botany and Zoology from Royal Holloway College, University of London, 1979, and a D.Phil from Magdalen College and Animal Ecology Research Group, Oxford, 1983. In 2003 he was awarded an MBE for services to ecology and conservation.
Dr Cortes’ research and publications reflect his interests in ornithology, plant and animal ecology, primatology, and conservation biology. Special interests include invasive species, reptile ecology, cliff ecology, phenology of migration, and ecology and behaviour of Barbary macaque. John has field experience in Gibraltar, Spain and North Africa (especially Morocco).
Dr Darren Fa
Director of Academic Programmes and Research
University of Gibraltar
Dr Darren Fa is currently the Director of Academic Programmes and Research at the University of Gibraltar.
After obtaining his PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of Southampton In 1998, he then moved to the Gibraltar Museum in 1999 as Education and Research Officer, and subsequently Deputy Director. He also read for a Masters Degree in Museums Studies from the University of Leicester (2004).He was principal investigator on a number of EU and EFCHED funded projects, and received several international awards as part of the Museum team. Darren has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in various international journals and book chapters both on ecological and archaeological subjects.
He is a director of the Gibraltar Museum’s Gibraltar Caves Project as well as member of the UNESCO WHS working group for the Gorham’s Cave Complex. He has also acted as a consultant for the Gibraltar Government and for UNESCO on both heritage and natural-history matters, and has written several popular books and has been regularly consulted for international media articles and television documentaries. Darren is a member of HMGoG’s Nature Conservancy Council, as well as a Registered European Commission Expert on Environment and Higher Education and Elected Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London.
Professor Clive Finlayson
Director, Institute of Life and Earth Sciences
Director, The Gibraltar Museum
Professor Finlayson is currently the Director of the University of Gibraltar’s Institute of Life and Earth Sciences and is based at the Gibraltar Museum, where he is Director, Chief Scientist and Curator. Clive has a first class Honours Degree in Zoology from the University of Liverpool and was awarded a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Oxford in 1980. In 1991 he completed his MSc in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester.
Clive is an evolutionary ecologist and his main areas of research are the biogeography of hominins, avian biogeography and evolutionary ecology. In 2001 Clive was made Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and in 2003 he was awarded MBE in H.M. the Queen’s New Year Honours. He was elected a Member at the Academia Europaea in 2010. Clive has worked as consultant for the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Paris. Currently, he is Director, Chief Scientist and Curator at The Gibraltar Museum.
Clive has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and has written a number of books, including Neanderthals and Modern Humans (Cambridge University Press), The Humans who went Extinct and the Improbable Primate (Oxford University Press) and Birds of the Strait of Gibraltar and Avian Survivors (Bloomsbury).
Dr Geraldine Finlayson
Director of Heritage and Environmental Services
The Gibraltar Museum
Dr Geraldine Finlayson, is Managing Director of the Gibraltar Museum, and World Heritage Site Coordinator of the Gorham’s Cave Complex, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Geraldine is also Adjunct Professor at Liverpool John Moores University.
She has been an active researcher for over thirty years, during which time she has authored or co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, and has presented over thirty papers at international conferences.
She was awarded her PhD by Anglia Ruskin University for her thesis “Climate, Vegetation and Biodiversity – A Multiscale Study of the South of the Iberian Peninsula.” and her main areas of interest are spatio-temporal distribution patterns of vegetation and animals, and the relationships between climate, vegetation, landscape features and biodiversity – focusing mainly on the Iberian Peninsula within the Quaternary. She is currently also working on the cultural influences on the development of the Gibraltarian ‘cuisine’, Gibraltar’s submerged/underwater cultural heritage and underwater archaeology. She also recently completed her MSc at the University of Leicester in Museum Studies, and currently serves on HM Government of Gibraltar’s Climate Change Forum, Urban Renewal Committee, and the MOD Conservation Forum. In 2006 she was granted the Gibraltar Award in HM the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Dr Rhian Guillem
Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
Dr Rhian Guillem works at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens as part of the Technical Team. Her background is in the biological sciences with a PhD in the chemotaxonomy of ants from the University of Sheffield. She is primarily an entomologist who specialises in the study of the taxonomy and faunistics of European and Mediterranean ants, in particular the myrmecofauna of Morocco and the area around the Strait of Gibraltar.
Her main research involves assessing the taxonomic status of Mediterranean ant species using surface chemistry (chemotaxonomy). She is also an active member of the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS), working under the Invertebrates section.
Dr Alex Menez
Head of Pathology
Gibraltar Health Authority
Dr Alex Menez has been a naturalist all his life. His main interests are ecology, evolution and the history of natural history. His undergraduate research was on the subtidal marine molluscs of Gibraltar. Alex then went on to do his PhD on the ecology of land molluscs in southern Iberia, focusing on biogeography and habitat structure interactions on diversity. Alex trained in biomedical science, has a Masters in Enterprise Management and is head of the Department of Pathology in the Gibraltar Health Authority.
He is a Chartered Biologist, a Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London, and a member of the Nature Conservancy Council and the CITES Scientific Authority. A member of the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS) GONHS for more than 25 years, he joined Council as Head of the Invertebrates Section in 2012.
Alex is an Honorary Fellow of the Gibraltar Museum and is President of the Gibraltar Scientific Society which was reconvened in 2015 after a hiatus of over 150 years, on the 180th anniversary of its first formation in 1835.
Dr Terence Ocaña
St. Joseph’s Middle School
Dr Terence Ocaña graduated from St Mary’s College, University of Surrey in 1990 with a first class honours degree in Biology and Education (with Qualified Teacher Status). Latterly he completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Management in Education.
Terence’s undergraduate thesis on the Ecology and Life History Dynamics of the false limpet Siphonaria pectinata in Gibraltar’s rocky shores was the starting point for his Doctoral Research which he successfully completed in 1997. Dr Ocaña has published a number of papers based on his doctoral thesis in The Journal of Molluscan Studies and The Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, amongst others. Dr Ocaña has continued to pursue collaborative research projects focussed on Patella ferruginea and has taken part in a number of local, regional and international Marine Biology conferences.
Dr Liesl Torres
Chief Executive Officer
Department of the Environment
Dr Liesl Torres is a Graduate of the University of Reading and Doctor of Philosophy at Imperial College, University of London. She has sixteen years work experience in a wide array of fields within the umbrella of environmental management. Liesl spent four years as an environmental consultant, working on contaminated land, environmental risk monitoring and sustainable development projects within Europe as well as internationally.
During the past ten years, she was worked for Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar at the Department of the Environment being the first full time scientist employed by Government in this field. She is now the CEO of the Department of the Environment. Under Liesl’s direction the mandate of the Department is to achieve a high quality environment by providing effective environmental protection; addressing the threat of climate change; protecting and enhancing our natural environment; developing sustainable waste management practices; promoting energy efficiency and sustainable energy generation as well as ensuring that Gibraltar’s development respects the delicate balance between environment, economy and society.