SESYNC Welcomes Dr. Andres Baeza Castro


A Castro

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is pleased to welcome our newest Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Andres Baeza Castro. At SESYNC, Andres’s research will study how cooperation behaviors are shaped in semi-desert environments by developing a socio-ecological model. Specifically, Andres’s proposed model will combine spatially-explicit semi-desert vegetation dynamics driven by rainfall variability, livestock management, and evolutionary cooperation agreements to understand how cooperation is maintained under environmental variability and desertification processes. The results should provide insight into the mechanisms needed for maintaining sustainable institutions for governance of self-organized socio-environmental systems under unpredictability.

"Theoretical studies have shown that cooperators tend to increase in number under poor environmental conditions,” Andres says. “However, it is not clear what type of strategies are more likely to emerge in areas under high environmental stress, and how these strategies influence the structure and maintenance of semi-desert ecosystems. To answer these questions, I am studying a group of 200 rural communities in the semi-desert region of Chile, in a gradient of environmental degradation and rainfall variability."

Andres received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan in summer 2013. His doctoral research focused on how changes in agricultural development, especially irrigation, influence the dynamics of malaria epidemics in the semi-desert region of Northwest India. He also holds a BSc in Natural Resources and a Professional degree in Environmental Engineering both from the University of Chile.

Andres can be contacted at or (410) 919-9145. Read more here.


The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) is a national research center funded through a National Science Foundation grant to the University of Maryland.

Located in Annapolis, MD, SESYNC is dedicated to solving society’s most challenging and complex environmental problems. We foster collaboration amongst scholars from a diverse array of the natural and social sciences (such as ecology, public health, and political science), as well as stakeholders that include resource managers, policy makers, and community members.

Socio-environmental synthesis is a research approach that accelerates the production of knowledge about the complex interactions between human and natural systems. It may result in new data products—particularly ones that address questions in new spatial or temporal contexts or scales—but may also involve evaluating textual or oral arguments, interpreting evidence, developing new applications or models, or identifying novel areas of study.

Click here to see a list of projects funded by SESYNC.