Project Staff

Maíra Ometto Bezerra

Associate Scientist

Dr. Maíra Bezerra is a freshwater scientist working with integrated watershed management through the application of the Freshwater Health Index in basins in Latin America and Africa. Her research interests include assessing nature’s vitality and provisioning of ecosystem services. Her research is based on both empirical assessment and hydrological modeling, and she is trained in surface water modeling and terrain analysis using GIS-based software including ArcGIS and SWAT. Maíra is originally from Brazil, and her doctoral degree is in Environmental Sciences from the University of Maryland.

Bruno Coutinho

Director, Knowledge Management

Dr. Bruno Coutinho is the director of knowledge management for Conservation International (CI) Brazil. Before joining CI, he was a researcher and professor in geoecology and geoprocessing at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Bruno holds a master's degree in geomorphology and a doctorate in cartography and geoprocessing. Currently, he directs the management of geodata bases and geoinformation for CI-Brazil.

Sarah Hauck

Director, Freshwater Health Index Initiative

Sarah Hauck is the director of the Freshwater Health Index initiative at Conservation International (CI). Previously, she worked as the Editorial Director for CI and has more than 20 years of experience in program management and communications. She holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a M.A. in International Affairs and International Finance from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Maria Clara de Oliveira Marques

Project Coordinator

Maria Clara Marques is a project coordinator at Conservation International Brazil, where she has coordinated the application of the FHI in the Guandu River basin and has supported new application initiatives. She is a biologist by training and received a master's degree in geography from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where she conducted research on hydrological behavior on slopes covered with forests and grasses.

Silindile Mtshali

Senior Coordinator, Freshwater Health Index

Silindile Mtshali is the senior Freshwater Health Index coordinator for the uMzimvubu Catchment in South Africa. She previously worked on a USAID-funded RESILIM O project that focused on building resilient catchments in the Olifants basin. She is also a Ph.D. hydrology candidate at the University of KwaZulu Natal through the Centre for Water Resources Research. Her interests are in collaborative restoration of ecological infrastructure using social ecological systems. Silindile holds a M.S. in Hydrology and a B.S. in environmental sciences. She enjoys hiking with friends in the North Drakensburg Mountain, Mpumalanga.

Dr. Kashif Shaad

Director, Hydroinformatics

Dr. Kashif Shaad leads the effort for developing methods and tools for indicator calculation required for Freshwater Health Index assessments. Kashif is based out of Singapore, and his research interests include building mathematical models and informatics tools for improving water management. A mechanical engineer by training, he also holds a masters in hydroinformatics and a PhD in environmental engineering. 

Dr. Nick Souter

Freshwater Manager, Greater Mekong

Dr. Nick Souter is the Mekong case study manager at Conservation International Cambodia. His areas of expertise are in conservation biology and natural resource management. Previously, he managed Fauna & Flora International’s University Capacity Building Project in partnership with the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Nick’s areas of expertise are conservation biology and natural resource management. He has a B.A. from the University of Adelaide and earned his PhD from the Flinders University of South Australia. 

Borin Un

Mekong Freshwater Coordinator

Borin Un is the coordinator for the assessment of the Freshwater Health Index in the Mekong and Tonle Sap Lake at Conservation International (CI). Before joining CI in 2016, Borin worked as a research fellow, with a focus on freshwater governance, natural resource management and livelihood development policies in Cambodia, particularly around Tonle Sap Lake. Since 2010, he has published and contributed to papers on sustainable fisheries and agricultural management around Tonle Sap Lake.

Dr. Derek Vollmer

Senior Director, Freshwater Science

Dr. Derek Vollmer is senior director for Freshwater Science at Conservation International. Prior to joining CI, he was a doctoral researcher within the Future Cities Laboratory at the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability. He holds a B.A. in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame, a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Spatial Planning from ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Weiling Wu

Program Manager

Weiling coordinates FHI assessments and promotes its application in the Dongjiang basin in China. Previously, she worked for the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office of the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection on GEF projects and biodiversity policy research as well as with the Wildlife Conservation Society to combat wildlife trafficking in south China. Weiling holds a MPhil in Conservation Leadership from the University of Cambridge, a M.S. in Sustainable Development from Uppsala University, and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Sun Yat-sen University.


Associate Scientist

Dr. Yiqing Zhang is a freshwater scientist at Conservation International based in Singapore. Her responsibility is to refine and apply the FHI in the Poyang Lake basin in China. She has more than 10 years of research experience in water and wastewater treatment. She received her PhD degree in environmental engineering from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and master’s degree of municipal engineering from Tongji University in Shanghai. She is also a musician and YouTuber, with a passion for singing, songwriting, various musical instruments and online education.