Dr. Giraldo Alayon is a Ph.D. in biological science, a researcher and curator at the Museum of Natural History in Havana, Cuba, and is well-known as the spider expert in all of the West Indies and Central American region. Dr. Alayon has published more than 150 articles about evolution and biogeography of spiders. Dr. Alayon was the president of the Cuban Zoology Society from 1995 to 2001.
Dr. Alayon has presented at conferences and taught international courses about biodiversity and evolution in Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Canada, US, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic and Cuba.
He has carried out post-doctoral research at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University; the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; the Peabody Museum at Yale University; the American Museum of Natural History in New York; the Field Museum in Chicago; Gainesville University; the Academy of Sciences in Philadelphia; the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; the Instituto de Biologa, UNAM, Mexico DF; INBIO, Costa Rica; Universidad de Costa Rica; Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo; Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Santo Domingo. He has been a visiting professor at several of these institutions. His conferences lately have a main theme: Darwin Evolution, Charles Darwin in XXI Century, impact of Darwinism on Science, Species in the Caribbean from a Darwinian Perspective, etc. are the titles of his most recent conferences.
Giraldo has been birding seriously since 1977 and has published fifteen papers related to avian biology and behavior.
As a hobby, he likes to watch birds, butterflies and dragonflies. In 2005 he started to lead birdwatching tours in Cuba.
In the 1980’s, he was in charge of the search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Cuba, with the participation of the AMNH. He is currently working on a book about the Ivory–billed Woodpecker, which he claims to have seen in eastern Cuba as recently as 1992.
Among his important contributions are four books he has written:
2006. The spiders and their relatives of St. Vincent & the Granadines. MEDO. 129 pp.
(2015) Threatened! Endangered species in Cuba. Ediciones Polimita, 317 pp.
(2017). The History of Scientific Relations between Cuba and the American Museum (AMNH): 160 years of Collecting and Collaborating (1857-2017). Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. Special Publication, 132 pp.
(2017). Diversidad Biológica de Cuba: Métodos de inventario monitoreo y colecciones biológicas. Ama, sello editorial, 501 pp.