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Our founder

Idelisa Bonnelly de Calventi


FUNDEMAR is an organization dedicated to promoting the sustainable use of coastal marine ecosystems and resources through research, education, and support for the development of conservation projects. It has a multidisciplinary technical team of biologists, ecologists and educators capable of carrying out actions and projects with scientific rigor as well as a network of local and international volunteers with a vocation for service, who make their knowledge, resources and efforts available to the organization in support of the organization's objectives.

Since its foundation in 1991  by Professor Idelisa Bonnelly, FUNDEMAR has consolidated strategic alliances with national and international organizations.

FUNDEMAR has the ability to influence and mobilize actions and opinions on key aspects of its mission such as: conservation of ecosystems and coastal marine resources at the national level and their protection in alliance with local communities.



Rita Sellares

Executive Director

BS. marine biology and marine science

MASTER in environmental management

Rita is part of the founding team of the existing program, she started as a volunteer in 2005 for the protection of dolphins in Bayahibe. In 2009, she led the establishment of the FUNDEMAR research center and in 2011 the development and establishment of the reef conservation program, becoming executive director in 2015.


Yulissa Reyes

Director's Assistant

Yulissa, a native of Bayahibe, began her dedication to the conservation of local environmental resources at the age of 10 and in 2015 she became a FUNDEMAR staff member where she performs various functions from administrative activities to coordination and participation in the institution's marine activities.


Andreina Valdez

Program Coordinator

Biology student Autonomous University of Santo Domingo

Since 2017, Andreina has participated in FUNDEMAR activities as a volunteer with commitment and dedication. Her training with leading coral reef research institutions has given her vast experience in coral restoration issues. In addition to leading the collection of scientific data, Andreina supervises and coordinates various FUNDEMAR programs.


Maria villalpando


BS. biology with a focus on ecology, evolution and behavior

Maria joined FUNDEMAR as a volunteer in 2017. Thanks to her passion for the sea and conservation together with her high level of commitment, she joined the team in 2018, where she now concentrates on advancing and sharing marine research focused on coral restoration efforts.


Juan R. Adrien

Technical Assistant

Juan Roberto, a local fisherman, is a captain and reef restoration technician. His dedication and dedication to FUNDEMAR projects have been key to scale up our marine conservation efforts.

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Michael A. Del Rosario

Technical Assistant

Michael, a native of Bayahibe, has constantly participated in environmental conservation activities since he was a child. Now, he joins the FUNDEMAR team and trains as a reef restoration technician.


Rachel Plekaniec

Marine Mammal Program Coordinator

Technician in Biological and Biochemical Analysis

Rachel begins her collaboration with FUNDEMAR as a volunteer in the summer of 2020. Her experience and passion for caring for marine mammals positioned her as a field leader in the manatee reintroduction project of Juanita, Pepe and Lupita. In addition to monitoring their health and status, Rachel participates in FUNDEMAR's marine research and activities for the conservation of coastal-marine ecosystems. 


Sergio Guendulain


MSc. marine science and limnology

With more than 8 years of experience in research focused on scleractinian corals, Sergio joins FUNDEMAR as a consultant and key specialist technician in sexual reproduction of corals and larval rearing. In addition to advancing current FUNDEMAR research, Sergio studies the recovery of ecological and structural functions in coral restoration in his PhD studies.


Michael A. Del Rosario

Technical Assistant

Michael, a native of Bayahibe, has constantly participated in environmental conservation activities since he was a child. Now, he joins the FUNDEMAR team and trains as a reef restoration technician.


Alido Báez

Marine Operations Coordinator

Alido, a native of Bayahibe and a fisherman by profession, is part of the founding team of the existing FUNDEMAR program. Since 2006, he has been key to the development of the marine conservation programs, leading the monitoring of marine mammals and the restoration of reefs, thanks to his innate ability and his great knowledge of the area.


Aldo Croquer

Scientific Advisor

TNC Marine Conservation Program Manager

PhD Biology of organisms

Aldo Croquer is a marine ecologist who has dedicated 25 years of his life to the study of coral reefs. Former professor at the Simon Bolivar University and the Experimental Ecology Laboratory, he has vast experience in publishing research related to the ecology of coral reefs, coral diseases, bleaching and monitoring programs for health indicators of these ecosystems. With more than 22 undergraduate and postgraduate students, he has dedicated a large part of his career to the training of new generations of marine ecologists.

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