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Alicia Pérez-Porro, PhD

Scientist - Change Maker

President of ECUSA - President of RAICEX - '500 Women Scientists' leader - Aspen Scholar 2019

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Who I Am


Marine biologist connecting the ocean, gender equality and science diplomacy for a sustainable future.

I am the President of the Association for Spanish Scientists in USA (ECUSA) and the President of the Network of Societies of Spanish Researchers Abroad (RAICEX, representing ECUSA), part of '500 Women Scientists​' leadership team, and a Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution). In 2018, I was selected to participate in the largest, all-female expedition to Antarctica as part of the Homeward Bound global initiative, and was awarded the Spanish Red Cross Gold Medal for my efforts advocating for gender equality as a key component for climate action. I am a 2019 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar and a 2018 92Y Women inPower fellow. I am also a #scicomm lover, a former professional dancer, and a mom.


Homeward Bound Project

Mother nature needs her daughters

My research

A spongy passion for the ocean

My story

Why oceans?

The ocean has always been the epicenter of my life. First, it was the backdrop of my childhood adventures growing up at the feet of the Mediterranean Sea, in Barcelona, Spain, and spending my summers at my grandparents’ beach house, in la Costa Brava. Later, an object of study while becoming a marine biologist and pursuing a doctoral degree on the genetics of marine sponges.

Why ocean-climate action?

To dive in a recently bleached coral reef due to global heating is a powerful experience. Sadly, I had that experience a couple of times while living and working in Central America, which made me very aware of the innumerable linkages between ocean and climate change. One cannot talk about climate crisis and climate action without talking about the ocean, and viceversa, but the role of ocean’s health in our planet’s health is just started to be taken into consideration recently. After my PhD, I looked to maximize my impact on the ocean through actionable science and science diplomacy and policy, advocacy, and leadership.

Why gender equality and #leadHERship?

Throughout my career as a science professional I have faced many barriers and challenges directly associated with my gender, resulting in learning how to use my voice to advocate for inclusion and diversity. Equalizing opportunities is a challenge that deserves our full attention since it has been proven that diversity improves the creativity needed to tackle big problems and that decision-making processes have better and more lasting outcomes when women are involved.


Climate change affects more women than men, and still, in ocean and climate key related sectors, women are underrepresented as skilled workers, professionals or decision-makers. Even in scientific fields where women are present, they are underrepresented in policy-making.


Interestingly, both the ocean and women, are a key part of the solutions to our current climate crisis.

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