ISER Caribe: Driving a new social and scientific praxis


I just discovered an important and engaging blog—ISER Caribe (thanks to Sophie Maríñez). Managed by Braulio A. Quintero, Stacey M. Williams, and Ryan Hamilton, this blog provides news about the projects of the Institute for Socio-Ecological Research (ISER). As the vision statement explains, ISER will position itself as a leading research, educational and outreach organization in Puerto Rico and in the Caribbean. I’ve been reading about some of their projects and I am already a fan!

The organizers write: “Our work will aid in the transition from centralized governmental management into community-lead stewardship of natural resources within social ecological systems. We will create and promote a healthier and sustainable way of life, by endorsing a model that is economically viable and oriented towards the preservation of the environment and the empowerment of the local people.”

Their mission statements says: “The Institute has a transdisciplinary approach to conduct research on social ecological systems through engaging government institutions academia, civil society and community organizations. Our team will study the interactions and dialectic relationships between the environment and humans in order to develop an alternate ways of managing human and natural systems. Through our collaborative actions we will build consensus that will allow us to create well-informed stewardship plans, local outreach activities and educational program.”

Here is more information on ISER’s founders:

Braulio A. Quintero is currently a Ph.D candidate at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He obtained a B.S. and a M.S. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. He has worked as a research technician in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, for the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition and for Dr. Whendee Silver at El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico.  Some of his research interests are in the politics and economics of renewable energies in Puerto Rico, economic modeling of energy systems, dynamics of economic systems and energy poverty of underserved communities.

Dr. Stacey M. Williams focused her research on different areas of reef resilience, including her dissertation work on the larval abundance and post-settlement of long-spined sea urchin Diadema antillarum. She currently is participating in a European Union funded project, Future of Reefs in a Changing Environment (FORCE). FORCE is a multidisciplinary project that uses an ecosystem approach, linking socio-ecological aspects towards managing Caribbean coral reefs in the face of climate change. In addition, she has also been involved in a number of different projects in Puerto Rico, which include benthic ecology of mesophotic reef communities.

Ryan Hamilton is a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center Dept. of Anthropology. He is an educator, community organizer, human rights activist, photographer, filmmaker and writer. He is Director of Public Programs for the Institute for Socio-Ecological Research and a board member and organizer with the Afrolatin@ forum. He has taught courses in history, anthropology and ethnic studies and given a variety of workshops on social and environmental justice, activism and social constructions of race. He is currently completing his dissertation on the processes, effects and community reactions to state driven economic development and land dispossession in Samaná, Dominican Republic.

For more information, see

See their projects at

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