Dr. Jorge R. Ortiz Zayas is an Associate Professor affiliated to the Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies (ITES) of the University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras. Dr. Ortiz Zayas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras in 1991, and a Ph.D. degree in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology from The University of Colorado-Boulder in 1998. During this period, Dr. Ortiz-Zayas served as a Hydrologist with the US Geological Survey, Water Resources Division at both the Caribbean and Colorado districts. From October 1998 to July 2003, Dr. Ortiz Zayas worked as an environmental consultant for a private firm in San Juan, where he directed the company’s environmental sciences department for over two years. He joined ITES in August 2003 and since then has been Associate Researcher with the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation of the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. He has served as a university liaison and consultant to the Office of the Puerto Rico Water Plan of the Department of Natural and Environmental. He is also member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the San Juan Bay Estuary Program. Dr. Ortiz-Zayas has also served as national representative to the Global Water Partnership and UNESCO HELP Program.
Dr. Ortiz-Zayas maintains an active research program in tropical limnology, specifically in the area of carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry with focus on the impact of human activities. He currently advises several graduate students working in projects related to nitrogen cycling in cave streams and estuarine lagoons, carbon metabolism in estuaries, and ecohydrology of dry forests. He was involved in the PR-Teaching Ecosystem Complexity Project, an NSF-granted project aimed at improving science teacher knowledge of ecology. He is the author and/or co-author of 19 peer-reviewed publications and government reports in the areas of limnology, water resources management, hydrology, and environmental sciences.