Luis E. Fernandez is a research ecologist at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, and is the director of the Carnegie Amazon Mercury Project (CAMEP), a multi-institution research initiative that examines the impacts of artisanal gold mining, mercury contamination and deforestation on natural and human ecosystems in the Peruvian Amazon. His research focuses improving understanding of the global mercury cycle, particularly emissions from the artisanal gold mining sector, and its regional and global effects on forests, ecosystems and human populations.
Previously, Luis held professional positions at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of International Affairs in Washington DC, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, USEPA’s Region 6 office in Dallas, TX , and the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Since 2009, Luis has served as a subject expert on renewable energy and biofuels under the U.S. State Department’s U.S. Specialist and Speaker Program in several countries in Latin America (Columbia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela) and Africa (Angola, Cape Verde). He has also served as a consultant to the ARCADIS Corporation on issues related to mercury dynamics in the atmosphere and hydrosphere.
His work has been recognized through multiple awards, including the U.S. Fulbright Scholars Program, the Aspen Institute, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Blue Moon Fund, the Environmental Ventures Program at Stanford University, the Amazon Conservation Association, and the U.S. EPA, who in 2009 awarded him the agency’s highest award, the U.S. EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, for his work on mercury dynamics in the Amazon Basin.
Luis’ research in the Amazon has been profiled by multiple U.S. news outlets, including Nature, Scientific American, Smithsonian, National Geographic, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, the Sacramento Bee, Ecoamericas, Mongabay.com and the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR). He is a currently Senior Fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), and serves on the advisory boards of the Amazon Aid Foundation, the Environmental Health Council, and the environmental start-up firm, OROECO.