Maria José is the Science Director for the Charles Darwin Foundation. María José Obtained a PhD in Geography (Human Geography) at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada. Her undergraduate in Biological Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University and her later Master’s research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) illustrated her research interest on coastal marine ecosystems and marine protected areas (MPAs) with special attention paid to marine wildlife management. Her PhD research was inspired by the interactive governance framework, and was applied to better understand the governability of MPAs (with a case study developed in the Galapagos Marine Reserve).

After graduation, she collaborated within varied research clusters of the Too Big to Ignore (TBTI) which is a Global Research Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research. Under that initiative she conducted research and published relevant findings on small-scale fisheries. Later on, she had a postdoctoral research position at the “Development and Knowledge Sociology” Working Group at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany. During that time, she conceptualized and co-developed new research agendas, by integrating the development and knowledge sociology approach into small-scale fisheries sustainability, fishing communities’ viability, food security from the marine perspective, and marine resource governance. In early 2018 she joined Charles Darwin Foundation, as the Science Director.

She was assigned as CDF Interim Executive Director from April 2020 to February 2021.