Dept of Biology
New Mexico Highlands University
1005 Diamond Ave
Las Vegas NM 87701
Phone: (505 454 3292)
Ph.D. at Dept. of Ecology
and Evolutionary Biology.
Licenciatura in Biology,
Fireman training course 1981. Cuerpo de Bomberos Universitarios de Caracas, Venezuela
High school at Liceo Francisco Espejo.
Spanish (native speaker)
Portuguese (ability to communicate).
Work and research experience
Visiting Scholar at the Ohio State University from May 2007 May 2010.
Contributing Columnist for the
Scientific Consultant for the exhibit Vicious Fishes and Other Riches of the Miami Museum of Science 2004.
Scholar at the
Field on-Air correspondent for National Geographic Television from September 2000 to the present. Work as a presenter doing documentaries about wildlife in the tropics.
Ph. D. Research, life history, ecology, and conservation of the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) in the Venezuelan Llanos. Included research on population dynamics, habitat use and mobility, diet, mating system and reproduction. Sponsored by Profauna (the Venezuelan Fish and Wildlife Service), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), CITES and the National Geographic Society. January 1992 - April 1999.
Conservation management research,
conducted graduate research in life history and conservation of the green
iguana (Iguana iguana). Included study of population
dynamics (mark and recapture), captive rearing, reproduction, and antipredator behavior.
research assistant, for the conservation and management project of the
green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) on Isla de Aves,
conducted detailed study of diet of the green iguana involving processing 360
Endangered species recovery program, assistant for the program of conservation and reintroduction of the Orinoco Crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius) in the Venezuelan Llanos. Included surveys, mark and recapture, and captive breeding. Coordinated by WCS. 1989 - 1991; 1997-1998 (part time).
consultant, for the project of conservation and management of green iguanas
research assistant for the study of reproductive success of hoatzins (Opisthocomus hoazin),
included censuses, surveys, nest monitoring, and banding of nestlings.
Government internships, Conducted conservation research and management of
1.- spectacled caiman (Cayman crocodilus), and
2.- capybaras (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris). Servicio Autonomo de Fauna Silvestre, Venezuela. November 1985 - April 1986.
department commander, campus branch at the Universidad Central de
Venezuela, 1987. Fireman from 1980 to 1987. Direction of the campus branch of the fire department during the
last year of service. Other activities while commander include: creation
and organization of community outreach activities including the first public
workshop of search and rescue (SAR) in
Associate Professor. New Mexico Highlands University 2013-present.
Assistant Professor New Mexico Highlands University 2010-2013
Assistant Professor Somerset Community College from Fall 2006-2010
Director for the School for
International Training at the Program of Comparative Ecology in
professor of Tropical Ecology at
Teaching assistant, for
General Biology at the
Teaching assistant, for
Comparative Animal Behavior at
Teaching assistant, Tropical
Biology: an Ecological approach. Organization for Tropical
High school Instructor, for courses in General Biology, Instituto Educational José Félix Ribas 1989.
Coordinator and instructor, for the college courses of First Aid Techniques, Department of Nutrition, UCV. 1984 - 1986.
Dept. of Education Director, Universidad Central de Venezuela campus fire department. Duties involved coordination and instruction of courses in first aid, fire safety and prevention 1983 - 1986.
Instructor, Public Industrial Safety course, Cuerpo de Bomberos Universitarios UCV. 1981 - 1983.
Awards and Honors
New Mexico NSF EPSCoR Infrastructure Seed Grant Program 2011
Faculty Research Grant New Mexico Highlands University 2010
Somerset Community College Wanda Bolze excellence award June 2009
Somerset Community College Wanda Bolze excellence award June 2008.
Research grant from Anaconda Investment 2007
Grant from Miami Metro Zoo Conservation and Research Fund 2004.
Best Film Award from the Animal Behavior Society 2003.
Reseacher level I in el Programa de Promoción al Investigador from the Concejo Nacional de investigaciones Cientificas de Venezuela. 2001.
CONICIT Award for the Novel Researcher. 1997.
National Geographics Film and Research Grant. 1996.
National Geographic Research and Exploration Awards. 1994.
BID-CONICIT doctoral fellowship. 1993.
Wildlife Conservation Society Doctoral Research Grant. 1993.
Econatura Scholarship for Research and Conservation. 1992.
Joint grant of CITES & Profauna for applied wildlife research. 1992.
Wildlife Conservation International Graduate Research Grants. 1990 -1991.
Concejo National de Ciencias y Humanidades Undergraduate Grants 1989.
Wildlife Conservation International Undergraduate Research Grant. 1988.
Biology of Amphibians 10 hours Universidade Estadual do Campinhas
Cytogenetic applied to herpetology. 10 hrs. Universidad de Los Andes, 1990.
Systematic herpetology 10hrs. Universidad de Los Andes , 1990.
Planification and Prevention for Disasters 120hrs. Cuerpo de Bomberos del Distrito Federal. 1987
Survival in Water emergencies, Grupo de Rescate Lara 96hrs. 1985.
Industrial Security Oil treatment plant EL Palito 32hrs 1984
Curricular Design for teaching effectively, Universidad José María Vargas 30hrs. 1984.
Management of Lab animals, Instituto Nacional de Higuiene Rafael Rangel. 50hrs. 1983.
Rescue and medical assistant Cuerpo de Bomberos del distritio federal 40hrs 1981.
Scuba diving (*), Centro de Actividades Sub-Acuaticas (CASA) UCV 1981
Oral Delivery, Instituto de Cooperación Educativa (INCE) 20hrs. 1980.
Meetings and Conferences (contributing).
Joint Meeting of SSAR ASIH and HL, Lawrence Kansas July 2015
Joint Meeting of SSAR ASIH and HL, Chattanooga Tennessee July 2014
Joint Meeting of SSAR ASIH and HL, Albuquerque New Mexico July 2013
7th World Herpetological Congress, August 2012, Vancouver CA
Animal Behavior Society June 2012, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Workshop for the conservation of Orinoco Crocodile Guanare. Venezuela February 2007.
Defenders of Wildlife's
Carnivores 2004. Expanding Partnerships in Carnivore Conservation.
Joint Meeting of SSAR ASIH and HL, Manaus Brazil July 2003
Joint meeting of SSAR, ASIH, and HL Kansas City, July 2002
Joint meeting of SSAR and HL Indianapolis, Indiana, July, 2001
Joint meeting of SSAR and HL Indianapolis, Indiana, July, 2001.
Invited speaker for the
Symposium on education of the Texas Herpetological Society.
Joint meeting of ASIH, SSAR
Joint meeting of ASIH, SSAR
Snake Ecology for the 21st Century.
World meeting of
WD Alaska 45th Wildlife
Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association.
Society for the Study of
Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR).
Animal Behavior Society.
Third Latin American
Society for the Study of
Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR).
Second Latin American
Other presentations and Lectures
Visiting Speaker at:
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Colorado (CoPark) 2015
Universidad Nacional de Aguas Calientes 2014
University of Tulsa, September 2012
Morehead University October 2010
Troy University, May 2010
Eastern Kentucky University October 2009
Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond. October 2007
Valencia Community College, Florida, November 2004.
Instituto Migue Lillo, Universidad de Tucuman, Argentina, September 2002.
La Sierra University, Riverside California, February 2002
Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species at
Instituto de Biología Experimental. Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas June 1997.
Visiting speaker at the
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute,
Animal Behaviour Society
Society for Conservation Biology
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Society the Study of Ichthyology and Herpetology
International Iguana society
Television and Films
The Untamed Mountain. Discovery Channel, January 1998.
Secrets of Dragons.
Anaconda. Dateline NBC, September 1998.
The Land of the Anaconda, National Geographic Explorer. September 1998. TBS.
Anacondas, Nick's quest. Channel 5 Available light and Discovery. December 1998
Anaconda: The Aquatic Jungle, Discovery Channel. May 1999.
The Crocodiles of the
Supersnake, National Geographic Television, Series Out There. Fall 2001
The trails of a Bare footed Biologist. National Geographic Television, Series, True Originals Summer 2002
Anakondas, Pro 7 Terra Nostra, Germany. July 2003
Vipers bad rap. National Geographic Television Series Snake Wranglers Fall 2003
The Ultimate Snake. National Geographic Ultimate Explorer Fall 2003
Jesus and the Snake in the Garden of Eden. National Geographic Television. Series Snake Wranglers
The lost Worlds of South America, National Geographic Ultimate Explorer.
Serpent Handlers, the mystery of the
Monster Quests. Giant Killer snake. History Channel 2008
Anacondas; Queen of serpents National Geographic Television February 2010.
Frankie: Menace or Healer. Tropical Wildlife llc.
Titanoboa: Monster Snake. Smithsonian Channel. 2012
Essays and Opinion articles
Rivas, J. A. 2008 Displacement
Behavior and Stockholm Syndrome in the
Rivas, J. A., 2007, What is the path to Socialism Revolution or Evolution?: The Axis of Logic, v. July http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_24876.shtml
Rivas, J. A., 2007,
Environmental Conservation and Socialism. A Conservationist Manifesto
Rivas, J. A., 2007, What is wrong with Pain Killers, NPR, the Democractic Party and Conservation Biologists?: The Axis of Logic, v. October http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_25333.shtml
Rivas, J. A. (2007). "The immigration problem: What problem? Whose problem?" The Axis of Logic August http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_25139.shtml
Rivas, J. A., 2006, Understanding the
minds of the neocons: Oil wars, attacks on the Venezuelan revolution
and the corruption of
Rivas, J. A. 2005. Comparing
Rivas, J. Muñoz, M, Burghardt, G. and J Thorbjarnarson 2007. Sexual size dimorphism and mating system of the Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus). pp: 312-325 In: R. W. Henderson, R. and Powell, G. W. (eds.), Biology of Boas, Pythons, and Related Taxa. Eagle Mountain Publishing Company, Eagle Mountain.
Rivas, J. A., M. d. C. Muñoz, J. B. Thorbjarnarson, G. M. Burghardt, W. Holmstrom, and P. Calle. 2007. Natural History of the green anacondas (Eunectes murinus) in the Venezuelan llanos. pp: 128-138-415. In: R. W. Henderson, and R. Powell, (eds.), Biology of Boas, Pythons, and Related Taxa. Eagle Mountain Publishing Company, Eagle Mountain.
Rivas, J. A. and Levin, L. 2004. Sex differential antipredator behavior in juvenile green iguanas, Iguana iguana: evidences for fraternal care. pp: 119-126. In Behavior, Diversity, and Conservation of Iguanas (Alberts, A. C., R. L. Carter, W. K. Hayes, and E. P. Martins, Eds.) University of California Press, Berkeley.
Rivas, J. A. and G. M. Burghardt (2002) Crotalomorphism: A Metaphor to Understand Anthropomorphism by Omission. pp: 9-17. In The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition (eds) Bekoff, M. A. Colin and G. M. Burghardt (click here for PDF)
Dunbar, J. P. Zarelli, M., Martin, S. A., Gandola, R. Kavanagh, K. A. Walsh, F. M. and Rivas, J. A. 2015 Trunk vertebrae osteomyelitis in a spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus). Herpetological Bulletin 134: 15-18.
Rivas, J. A. 2007. La conservación ambiental en el socialismo del siglo XXI: ensayo para un manifiesto conservacionista. Aporrea April available on line at http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/a29018.html English version at: http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_25003.shtml
Calle, P. P.. Rivas J. A. Muñoz, M. C. Thorbjarnarson, J. B. Holmstrom, W. and W. B. Karesh. 2001. Infectious Disease serologic survey in free-ranging Venezuelan anacondas (Eunectes murinus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 32(3): 320-323 (PDF file)
Rivas, J. A. 2001. Feasibility and efficiency of transmitter force-feeding in studying the reproductive biology of large snakes. Herpetological Natural History. 8(1): 93-95. Herpetological Natural History. 8(1): 93-95.
Calle, P., Rivas, J., Muñoz M., Thorbjarnarson, J., Dierenfeld, E. Holmstrom, W. Braselton, E. and Karesh W. 1994. Health assessment of free-ranging anacondas (Eunectes murinus) in Venezuela. Jour. Zoo. Wildl. Med. 25: 53-62.
Rivas, J. 1990. Dieta de la iguana verde (Iguana iguana) en los llanos centrales de Venezuela durante la estación seca. Unpublished thesis presented to the Universidad Central de Venezuela . 96p. 1990. Caracas, Venezuela.