Isaí Madriz
Author: Anand Varma
2022

Isaí Madriz

Entomologist

The foundation of the food chain

meet isaí

R. Isaí Madriz, PhD, is an early career entomologist with expertise in freshwater aquatic insects of Patagonia. Alone, using a bamboo bicycle and a pack raft, he transects remote and unexplored areas of Patagonia in search and its last pristine forests and rare insects. He seeks to understand relict groups of living fossils and to bring attention to the conservation of insects in this area of the world. Madriz writes stories about exploration, science, and vanishing insect diversity using macrophotography to showcase these six-legged jewels of Patagonia.

The foundation of the food chain
Nominated by: Joe Grabowski FI'18
Class of 2022 Location Patagonia
Author: Anand Varma

When I first became a field biologist, I took every opportunity to work with as many types of animals as possible throughout the Americas. My work spanned from rehabilitating marine animals in California, to leading forest tours in Costa Rica, to tracking pumas in Argentina. These experiences showed me the importance of insects, and the lack of understanding and appreciation of the important roles that they play in their ecosystems. I have observed how vertebrate wildlife are dependent upon, and influenced by, insects. Such observations launched me into the pursuit of a PhD in entomology and a fulfilling career.

Taxonomy is an integral unit of biology and conservation. In order to know what to save, we have to know what is there. I consider my role as a taxonomist and conservation entomologist to be important, as taxonomists are becoming very rare. I see the positive impact that my work has on many fields of science and on local and global communities.

Author: Anand Varma

“In order to know what to save, we have to know what is there.”

- Isaí Madriz
Author: Isaí Madriz

The focus of my exploratory work combines science, exploration of remote areas, and storytelling about natural history through various media. Telling stories about new species discoveries and natural history draws a global audience to the wonders of entomology and provides a compelling perspective on the lives of insects. My naturalist’s approach has resulted in scientific breakthroughs and new understandings about the many ways that insect species interact with their environments and influence life around them in the ecosystem.

I explore to discover the intricate and the unknown, in wild and wondrous places with fascinating and otherworldly creatures.

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