Juan Carlos was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and at a very young age moved to Bogota and later to Cartagena de Indias in the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, where he finished high school. He received in 1997 a first class BSc degree in Biology from Universidad de Los Andes and afterwards worked as field ornithologist during five years for the Bogota's Ornithology Association and the National Centre for Coffee Research, participating in field research in several regions of Colombia.
During 2002–2005, Juan Carlos was Darwin Fellow of Project BioMap, a unique international collaborative scientific initiative between natural history museums and conservation institutions, that aimed to repatriate information about Colombian birds specimens placed in natural history museums around the world. As part of this project, Juan Carlos visited several of the finest US natural history archives where he checked
information on about 50,000 Colombian bird specimens and in 2004 received a merit MSc degree in Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Management from King’s College London, where he started work in bird diversity modelling under Dr. Mark Mulligan supervision.
After completing his MSc degree, Juan Carlos went back to Colombia and worked for ProAves Foundation and the Applied Biology Program at the Nueva Granada Military University. Whilst there, led the development and management of more than 15 different projects in some 10 threatened species for the country, mostly birds, and lectured introductory courses on field ornithology techniques and evolution to undergraduate students.
Back in the UK in 2006, Juan Carlos began a PhD in Geography at King’s College London with Dr. Mark Mulligan, degree that he completed in early 2011. His thesis entitled “Avifaunal distribution in Colombia: current diversity and potential refugia under climate change” made use of the massive georeferenced database of Colombian bird specimens compiled by Project BioMap and GIS to model bird diversity in the country. As main results from his research, we learnt regarding uncertainty in georeferencing and bird diversity mapping, and about the potential impacts of climate change during the 21st century for the whole avifauna in the country.
His long–term plan is to continue work from the UK along with conservation institutions such as ProAves Foundation and assist in the conservation of the global natural heritage through sound conservation science. His personal interests include spending time with his family, archery, hiking and birdwatching.