Maria José Gonzalez-Bernat is the scientific advisor for AIDA's Marine Biodiversity and Coastal Protection program. She works from Guatemala City. María José is a biologist with a Masters in Marine Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and a Ph.D. in Governnace from the University of Western Australia. She has experience in the conservation and management of marine ecosystems, climate change, marine-coastal governance and policies, as well as the effective management of marine protected areas. She has worked with non-profit organizations and in Guatemala's public sector, primarily in research and issues related to marine protected areas.