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Peter Houlihan

Peter Houlihan is the Executive Vice President of Biodiversity & Conservation at XPRIZE Foundation, overseeing XPRIZE Rainforest and developing future work on coral reef restoration and combating wildfires. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor at UCLA in the institute of the Environment and Sustainability, in the Center for Tropical Research and Congo Basin Institute, and an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science and Policy in Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University where he instructs international graduate level field courses in tropical ecology and conservation. Peter is passionate about working with local scientists and communities, and inspiring others to learn about our natural world. He specializes in planning and leading interdisciplinary scientific and media expeditions in understudied and threatened rainforests all over the world. He has lived and worked extensively throughout the tropics, where he has led more than 50 large scale expeditions and managed long term conservation programs, particularly in Borneo, Madagascar, the Amazon, Central America, and the Congo Basin.

Peter is also a National Geographic Explorer, Photographer with National Geographic Image Collection, and NatGeo Expeditions Expert. He is a frequent visiting scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, International Advisor to the Borneo Nature Foundation and a co-Founder and Director of BRINCC (a conservation NGO in Borneo), an Advisor to Rainforest Partnership, a Fellow of the Explorers Club, gear tester for Patagonia, and TEDx speaker. In addition, he serves on the Initiative Governing Committee of the G20’s Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP) and as an Expert Advisor on the World Economic Forum’s Uplink Trillion Trees Amazon Bioeconomy Challenges. Globally, Peter’s research, conservation work, and science communication have helped lead to the establishment of new protected areas and the documentation of species new to science. His research has spanned many facets of tropical biology and ecology, including: butterfly conservation, biodiversity monitoring, primate behavior, insect genomics, forest biogeochemistry, coral reef ecology, and pollination. As a multilingual photographer, videographer, and producer, Peter fuses conservation science with high-impact media to inform broad international audiences about our planet. On camera, Peter has appeared alongside Sir David Attenborough in a BAFTA-nominated series for the BBC, across National Geographic platforms, and in an Emmy-nominated PBS documentary. Chasing Ghosts, a recent film about his scientific research in the Florida Everglades has received many accolades as an Official Selection of numerous film festivals, including Winner of the Best Science in Nature Form + Best Ecosystem Short Form categories at the 2020 Jackson Wild Media Awards, and a Winner of the 2021 United Nations World Wildlife Day Film Showcase.