Winnie Hallwachs is an ecologist with 35+ years experience in what is today Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG) in northwestern Costa Rica. Her dissertation research studied seed hoarding by wild agoutis in the context of their individual lives, and agoutis as inheritors of formerly megafauna-dispersed fruits. In 1985, she and her husband expanded from academic field biologists into a garage startup in conservation, beginning with increasing the protected acreage of ACG’s highly endangered tropical dry forest. One of their principle current projects is a long term caterpillar inventory of the current multi-ecosystem ACG, largely conducted by parataxonomists – rural Costa Ricans who have spent much of their 25+ year careers searching for, rearing, and databasing the results. The reared moths and parasitoids are now part of the global DNA barcode library, and the parataxonomists are also photographing, videoing, and writing species pages about their work (https://www.acguanacaste.ac.cr/programa-de-parataxonomos).
Conservation, Onychorhynchus, and Female Parataxonomists