Faculty and Staff

Ma. Rafaela Retamal Díaz, PhD

Ma. Rafaela Retamal Díaz, PhD

Resident Lecturer in Political and Social Dimensions of Conservation
Puerto Natales, Chile
B.S. in Biology
Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile
M.Sc., in Integrated Watershed Management
Tropical Agricultural Center of Research and Education (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica
PhD in Environmental Sciences
Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile
SFS 3081: Political and Social Dimensions of Conservation
SFS 3282: Patagonian Winter
SFS 4910: Directed Research
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Faculty Profile

Dr. Rafaela Retamal completed her undergraduate in Biology at the University of Concepción, Chile in 2001. She traveled to Costa Rica and attended CATIE (the Tropical Agricultural Research and Teaching Center), where she got her M.Sc. in Integrated Management of Hydrographic Basins in 2006. She returned to Chile and received her Doctorate in 2015 from the University of Concepción in Environmental Sciences, focusing on Continental Aquatic Systems. Dr. Retamal has researched erosion modeling in lake basins, payments for ecosystem services, and perceptions on water management. She has advised on environmental impact assessments and environmental sustainability.
Recently, she founded ECOSOR Chile, a consulting company whose mission is to support moving tourism towards sustainability and turning global change into opportunities through nature-based solutions (NbS). She directed the recent public exhibition “Planeta Agua: Entre Ríos y Fiordos,” a science dissemination project covering freshwater systems in Chilean Patagonia and was the scientific advisor for the documentary “Patagonia: Todo es uno”. Today, she is dedicated to supporting initiatives in art, culture, and heritage that promote a transformation from a culture of law to a culture of knowledge. She is working to conserve wetlands and aquatic ecosystems, focusing primarily on Patagonia, which must be considered as a socioecological laboratory.

Academics & Research

Research Interests

  • Water and wetlands governance
  • Environmental policy
  • Socioecology

Professional Activities

Socioecology and Ethnoecology Chilean Society (SOSOET): member and part of Financial commision.

Red de Investigadoras, partner.

Asociación Gremial de Mujeres Líderes de Copia (AG MLC), partner.

Premios Verdes, Technical Committee



Metodología para valorar la oferta de servicios ecosistémicos asociados al agua para consumo humano Copán Ruinas, Honduras.

Retamal, R; Madrigal, R; Alpizar, F; Jimenez, F. 2008. Serie técnica Programa Focuencas II: Innovación, aprendizaje, y Comunicación para la Cogestión Adaptativa de Cuencas. ASDI-CATIE. Turrialba, Costa Rica. 53 p.

Biomonitoring of antioxidante and oxidative stress responses in Perinereis gualpensis (Polychaeta: Nereididae) in Chilean estuarine regions under different anthropogenic pressure.

Díaz-Jaramillo M, Ribas J. L, Lund L, Ventura J, Baptista P, da Rocha A, Retamal M.R, Bertrán C, Barra R & Monserrat J.M. 2010. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 73 (4): 515–523.

Percepción al cambio climático y la gestión del agua: aportes de las estrategias metodológicas cualitativas para su entendimiento.

Retamal, Ma. Rafaela, Rojas, Jorge; Parra, Oscar. 2011. Ambiente & Sociedade 14(1):175-194

Sustainable water governance in Chile: from a fragmented management system to an integrated one?

Retamal, M.R., Melo, O., Arumi, J.L. In: Rivera (2012). Chile: Environmental, Political and Social Issues. Nova Science Publishers. 33-68 p

Water Users Organizations in Chile.

Melo, O., Retamal, M.R. In: Rivera (2012). Chile: Environmental, Political and Social Issues. Nova Science Publishers. 1-32 p.

Gobernanza del agua y cambio climático: fortalezas y debilidades del actual sistema de gestión del agua en Chile.

Retamal, M. R., Andreoli, A., Arumi, J., Rojas, J., & Parra, O. 2013. Análisis interno. Interciencia, 38(1), 8-16.

Invasive Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica Houtt.) and related knotweeds as catalysts for streambank erosion

Colleran, B; Lacy, SN; Retamal, MR. 2020 River Research and Applications, 37(9): 1962-1969

Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Ronse Decr. in southern Chilean Patagonia and its local environmental governance implications

Lacy, SN; Retamal Diaz, MR; Colleran, B. 2021. ”Gayana Botanica, 78(2): 191-195.

Guía área de influencia en humedales en el Sistema de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental.

Retamal Díaz, M.R., et al. 2023. Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental (SEA) Online Guia-AI-Humedales-SEIA-2023.pdf (sea.gob.cl)

Guía para la predicción y evaluación de impacto ambiental en humedales en el Sistema de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental.

Retamal Díaz, M.R., et al. 2023. Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental (SEA) Online: Guia-EVA-Humedales_2023.pdf (sea.gob.cl)

Grants and Awards

2022 – Ciencias Públicas: “Patagonia: Todo es uno”

Scientific advisor

2021 – Ciencias Públicas: “Planeta Agua: Entre ríos y fiordos”

Project leader