Galápagos Islands, Ecuador; Climate Change; and New Environmental Trends among Ancient Flora and Fauna [07/26/15]

Guests:

  • Dr. Dennis Geist, President, Board of Directors. Charles Darwin Foundation, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador and Program Director, Deep Earth Processes, Division of Earth Sciences, National Sciences Foundation, (In Studio)*;
  • Dr. Conley K. McMullen, Professor of Biology, James Madison University and Senior Research Associate, Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (In Studio);
  • Dr. Patricia (Patty) Parker, Governing Member, Charles Darwin Foundation and Des Lee Endowed Professor of Zoological Studies, University of Missouri–St. Louis, and Senior Scientist, Saint Louis Zoo (By Telephone)*;
  • Alicia Fougere, MS, Non-Profit Business Development Manager, Washington D.C. and (former) Executive Coordinator, Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, (In Studio).

Segment 1guest1 150726Dr. Dennis Geist, President, Board of Directors. Charles Darwin Foundation, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador and Program Director, Deep Earth Processes, Division of Earth Sciences, National Sciences Foundation, (In Studio)* Segment 2guest2 150726Dr. Conley K. McMullen, Professor of Biology, James Madison University and Senior Research Associate, Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (In Studio)
Segment 3guest3 150726Dr. Patricia (Patty) Parker, Governing Member, Charles Darwin Foundation and Des Lee Endowed Professor of Zoological Studies, University of Missouri–St. Louis, and Senior Scientist, Saint Louis Zoo (By Telephone)* Segment 4guest4 150726Alicia Fougere, MS, Non-Profit Business Development Manager, Washington D.C. and (former) Executive Coordinator, Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, (In Studio)

Program Summary:

The EmeraldPlanet weekly television programs are broadcast and distributed via Channel 10 TV in Fairfax, Virginia USA. The programs are being simulcast to 532 stations around the United States and then overseas by the Internet and C-SPAN television. The EmeraldPlanet programs are currently available in all countries and territories around the world.  The Emerald Trek and companion The Emerald Mini-Treks are identifying the 1,000 “best practices” on location from the 143 nations, 750 cities, and 50,000 communities by Internet TV, local television stations, main stream media outlets, YouTube, Facebook, The EmeraldPlanet Meetup, Twitter, among other social media networks, and all manner of print media.

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Our outstanding guests are:

  • Segment ‘1’:  Dr. Dennis Geist, President, Board of Directors. Charles Darwin Foundation, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador and Program Director, Deep Earth Processes, Division of Earth Sciences, National Sciences Foundation, (In Studio)*;
  • Segment ‘2’:  Dr. Conley K. McMullen, Professor of Biology, James Madison University and Senior Research Associate, Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (In Studio);
  • Segment ‘3’:  Dr. Patricia (Patty) Parker, Governing Member, Charles Darwin Foundation and Des Lee Endowed Professor of Zoological Studies, University of Missouri–St. Louis, and Senior Scientist, Saint Louis Zoo (By Telephone)*;
  • Segment ‘4’:  Alicia Fougere, MS, Non-Profit Business Development Manager, Washington D.C. and (former) Executive Coordinator, Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, (In Studio).

Dennis Geist is the President of the Charles Darwin Foundation, an international scientific organization dedicated to scientific research supporting conservation of the Galápagos Islands. The organization operates the Charles Darwin Research Station, a campus for scientific research on Santa Cruz Island.

The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) is unique in that it is an international organization, recognized by the Ecuadorian government, and its charter is to advise government alagencies on scientific issues related to conservation. CDF has been working in Galapagos since 1959 under an agreement with the Government of Ecuador and with a clear mission to work closely with Government Institutions, providing scientific knowledge and assistance to ensure the conservation of Galapagos.

For fifty years, CDF has worked closely with the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD), the main local government environmental authority, overseeing the safeguarding of the islands’ natural resources, providing the results of scientific research to conserve this living laboratory.

Over one hundred scientists, educators, research assistants, support staff, and volunteers from all over the world take part in this effort. The organizational staff is 90% Ecuadorian and CDF is committed to the training of Galapagos residents as future scientists for the good of the islands and the country at large.

The Foundation has a number of historical successes, including a captive breeding program for endangered tortoises, which have now been repatriated to their native habitat. The Foundation teamed with other organizations to eliminate introduced goats and pigs from the Santiago and northern Isabela Islands, one of the most successful eradications of introduced invasives anywhere on earth. It also researched and designed a successful biocontrol of an introduced insect parasite. The scientists of the CDF are now dedicating their efforts to restoration of defoliated areas, prevention of the introduction of marine organisms, and control of insidious recent invasions, especially the parasitic philornus fly and blackberry.

Dr. Geist is current a Program Manager for Deep Earth Processes at the United States National Science Foundation. He is on leave from the University of Idaho, where he is a professor of volcanology and Colgate University, where he is a Research Associate in geology. He has been performing field-based research on Galapagos volcanoes for 33 years, as well as working on volcanoes in Greenland, Iceland, Antarctica, and Yellowstone.

Dr. McMullen received his B.S. (Biology) from Eastern Mennonite College, his M.S. (Biology) from JMU, and his Ph.D. (Botany) from the University of Maryland at College Park. 

James Madison University (also known as JMU, Madison, or James Madison) is a public coeducational research university located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States. Founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, the institution was renamed Madison College in 1938, in honor of President James Madison, and named James Madison University in 1977.The university is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, with the campus quadrangle located on South Main Street in Harrisonburg. 

At JMU, Dr. McMullen teaches Organisms and four upper division plant courses, is director of the herbarium, serves on the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum Advisory Board, and chairs the Arboretum Botanical Committee. His research interests are focused on the eastern U.S. and the Galápagos Islands (floristics, systematics, pollination biology). He has spoken widely and authored numerous scientific papers on these topics, including his book Flowering Plants of the Galápagos. 

He has served on the Flora Advisory Board for the Flora of Virginia Project, is a member of the Virginia Flora Committee, and for many years has been a group leader at the West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage. He is a Life Member of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, and the Virginia Academy of Science. He has served ASB as Secretary, and as a member of the Executive Committee and the Graduate Student Support Award Committee; served SABS as President, and as a member of the Executive Council, Public Interest Committee, Bartholomew Award Committee, Core Student Award Committee, and Planning Committee; and served VAS as Secretary and Vice President. 

He is also a member of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the Botanical Society of America. Additionally, he is an Honorary Research Associate of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a member of the Science Advisory Board of Galápagos Conservancy, an elected Fellow of The Linnean Society of London, and an elected Governing Member of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galápagos Islands. He is a founding member of the Society of Herbarium Curators, a member of the SHC Executive Board, and editor of the Society’s newsletter, The Vasculum.

Patricia (Patty) Parker is an elected Governing Member of the Charles Darwin Foundation. She is the Des Lee Endowed Professor of Zoological Studies at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and Senior Scientist at the Saint Louis Zoo.  She has worked on conservation issues in the Galapagos Islands for almost 25 years and for the last 15 years has led a 4-institution collaboration focused on the threats posed by the arrival of new diseases to the native birds on the Galapagos Islands.  This collaboration builds upon the strengths of the partner institutions:  (1) The Charles Darwin Foundation with its scientific staff residing on the islands, logistical support, and research station; (2) The Galapagos National Park with its overarching commitment to conservation in Galapagos, field support and regulatory oversight; (3) The University of Missouri – St. Louis with its investment in tropical ecology and conservation and strengths in genetics and evolutionary studies; and (4) The Saint Louis Zoo, with its commitment to worldwide conservation, field veterinary expertise, and funding support.

The primary aim of this group is to protect Galapagos from novel pathogens and prevent the kinds of disease-related extinctions that have occurred in Hawaii – there have been no extinctions of birds in Galapagos. To date, we have discovered parasites and pathogens that have been on the islands as long as the birds themselves, those that seem to have come in with one bird species and jumped to another, and parasites and pathogens that are far more recent arrivals, likely related to human activities.  This last category is the most worrisome and includes the avian pox virus and the Plasmodium malarial parasite, the two pathogens thought to be responsible for the extinctions in Hawaii. We are focusing now on understanding the transmission dynamics of the malarial parasite to see whether it can be eradicated.

Alicia Fougere is a non-profit business development manager in Washington DC, where she is also a member of the Washington DC Rotary Club. As a former exchange student to Argentina, Alicia’s passion for global social responsibility started at a young age.  She continued this in her studies, with a Bachelors and Masters degree in International Development.

While studying in London, Alicia met Swen Lorenz, who later recruited her to work with him in the Galapagos Islands. She was the Executive Coordinator at the Charles Darwin Research Station in 2012 and 2013. She worked closely with Swen, the Executive Director, as part of the Executive Team, working on strategic and operational initiatives, as well as on outreach projects for donors.

Program overview


As you may know EmeraldPlanet is a worldwide non-profit organization dedicated to identifying at least 1,000 ‘best practices’ for sustainable environmental and economic development. Our efforts are to link those having such “best practices” with those needing the technologies, processes, services, and products to be outstanding ecological stewards of their resources. Please support The Emerald Planet Television and The Emerald Trek through your generous donations of US$25, US$50, or US$100. Click the donations button to make your contributions now
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