Abel Valdivia

Lead Marine Conservation Scientist, Oceans

Abel Valdivia
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Dr. Abel Valdivia is a marine conservation scientist in the area-based conservation sub-team of the Oceans team at WWF where he leads the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning program across multiple projects, scales and seascapes to assess interventions related to fisheries, area-based, and market-based conservation. Abel is interested in applying sound science to evaluating the outcomes of conservation interventions in coastal ecosystems and human communities affected by climate change. His expertise includes marine ecology, coral reefs, mangroves, small-scale fisheries, area-based conservation, monitoring and evaluation of marine conservation interventions, and spatial and data analysis using R.

Originally from Habana, Cuba, Abel has over 15 years of experience monitoring coral reefs across the Caribbean, evaluating the effectiveness of marine protected areas, advocating for the protection of endangered marine species and their habitats through environmental law and science, and developing user-friendly tools to collect, store and visualize data for decision-making. Abel completed his PhD in Marine Ecology and Conservation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying how human impacts and climate change affect reef fish assemblages across the Caribbean. He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife and two little kids. He is an avid hiker and landscape photographer.

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Lead Marine Conservation Scientist


  • PhD, Marine Ecology and Conservation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill