Our Team

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Of our 70 full time staff members, 80% are Ecuadorian and the majority are Galapagueños (permanent residents of the Islands).

The General Assembly is CDF’s highest authority; among other activities, its members establish policies, issue regulations, elect the Board of Directors, and approve the operational plan and budget. The General Assembly is made up of honorary, institutional, active, and corresponding members.

General Assembly (87.7 KB)

The Board of Directors is comprised of eight members of the General Assembly, all of whom are elected for six-year terms. They work with the Executive Director and make decisions on behalf of the General Assembly.

Meet Our Team

Arturo Izurieta Valery, Executive Director

Arturo has experience in research, management of protected areas, and management of local issues. He has worked for more than 30 years on strategic projects and on the facilitation of relations between government authorities, indigenous people and scientific communities in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Australia, Malaysia and Central America. As the Executive Director of the CDRS he has focused on organizing strategic planning and strengthening collaboration between researchers and institutions, both national and international, as well as local groups and individuals to support science projects for conservation and sustainability in the archipelago. He oversees the operation of the CDRS, which includes fundraising, science management, building relationships with local and national authorities, community participation and promoting joint work with academic and research organizations in Ecuador and abroad.

Birgit Fessl, Coordinator of the Galapagos Land Bird Conservation Plan

Birgit has been studying land birds on the Galapagos Islands for just over 20 years and has extensive experience in bird ecology, bird monitoring and host-parasite interactions with a special focus on the impact of the invasive bird nest parasite Philornis downsi. Since 2014, and in partnership with the Galapagos National Park Directorate, CDF ornithologists and collaborating scientists, Birgit has been coordinating priority actions outlined in the Land Bird Conservation Plan that includes the evaluation of the conservation status of land birds, the identification of the principal threats that some of these species are facing, the development of management actions and a citizen science component.

Charlotte Causton, Project Coordinator of Invasive Invertebrates

Charlotte has worked with the CDRS in different projects since 1997, including terrestrial invertebrate research programs. She has extensive experience developing methods for controlling invasive insects and restoring ecosystems in areas of conservation importance. She oversaw the biological control program against the cottony cushion scale using the Australian ladybug. She is currently coordinating an international effort to control the population of the invasive Philornis downsi fly, which is threatening many endemic bird species in the Galapagos.

Claire Hobbs, Grants Manager

Claire started as Grants Manager at the CDRS in September 2016 after spending the majority of her career working in universities in the UK managing large research projects and generating research income. She also has extensive experience in international marketing and recruitment for several British universities, in addition to working in the international finance field. As Grants Manager, Claire is responsible for managing and coordinating all grant income for the CDRS which includes identifying potential funders, managing donor relationships, writing all grant proposals and managing current grants.

Ernesto Bustamante, Liaison Coordinator at Isabela Island

Ernesto is an Environmental Engineer from Peru with a Master’s degree in Environmental Management in Australia. He arrived at the CDRS at the end of 2016 to serve as a Liasion Coordinator at Isabela Island. As part of his responsibilities, he is the primary contact between the CDRS and the local institutions and represents the Foundation in meetings and other local activities, supports the execution of projects in the island, provides information regarding the CDRS to tourists and members of the community and coordinates the donation site.

Francesca Cunninghame, Project Coordinator of Mangrove Finch

Francesca has been working at the CDRS since 2009 where she leads the Mangrove Finch Project (a bi-institutional project with the Galapagos National Park Directorate in collaboration with San Diego Zoo Global, Auckland Zoo and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust). The principal focus of the project is to work towards the conservation of the critically endangered mangrove finch through research followed by intensive management of its conservation. Due to high mortality of nestlings caused by parasitism by larvae of the introduced fly Philornis downsi, since 2014 the project has conducted a head starting program (collection of eggs/young chicks from the wild, hand rearing and release of juveniles back into their natural habitat) to increase fledging success. In addition to the Mangrove Finch Project, Francesca is involved with other land bird projects on the islands.

Gustavo Jiménez-Uzcátegui, DVM, Wildlife Veterinarian and Researcher on penguins, flightless cormorants and albatross

Gustavo is a Wildlife Veterinarian and Researcher at CDRS since 2001. He works in different projects covering various topics of ecology and health of different taxa, principally with birds. In the last six years, he focused his research on diseases monitoring and population dynamics in penguins, cormorants and albatrosses. He also handles the treatment of wild animals with an anthropogenic effect and gives advice to GNPD veterinarian group. He shares his time, working on the vertebrate collection of biodiversity group at CDRS. Gustavo is a member of the Association of Veterinarians of Pichincha, Ecuador from 2002, and Member of the Working Group for the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, ACAP, since 2012.

José Marín Jarrín, Fisheries Researcher and Interim Science Coordinator

José arrived at CDRS in May 2016 as a Senior Fisheries Ecologist from Guayaquil, Ecuador, with a focus on studying the life history of several commercially important fish species, the impact of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events on artisanal fisheries catch, and the role of mangroves for the early life stages of fishes in Galapagos. Since October 2016 he has also been working as the interim Scientific Coordinator for the CDRS, as well as working to develop the first fish age and growth laboratory on the Galapagos Islands.

Heinke Jäger, Restoration Ecologist

Heinke started to work in the CDRS in 1998, first on the introduced quinine tree (Cinchona pubescens) and then on rare and endangered plant species. After receiving her PhD from Technical University Berlin, Germany, she carried out her postdoctoral research on invasive species at Brown University, USA. She is now a senior scientist at CDRS and her research is focused on investigating terrestrial plant and animal species in Galapagos. This includes the distribution, impacts and control of these species, as well as the restoration of invaded ecosystems.

Inti Keith, Scientific Investigator Marine Invasive Species Project

In 2011, Inti began work in the marine sciences area of the CDRS in the Zero Anchors Project and later in the Shark and Ecological Monitoring project. She completed her PhD and now she works on the Marine Invasive Species Project which aims to find methods to minimize the negative impacts of invasive species.

Israel Castro, Information Technology Coordinator

Israel is a permanent resident of Galapagos and manages the CDRS Information Technology (IT) Department. He started working for the CDRS in 2011 in the Systems Department giving support and maintenance to all the CDF users. He is the coordinator of the area since August 2013.

Gustavo Morejón Jaramillo, Scientific - Technical Coordinator of the Datazone

Gustavo is a biologist specialized in biodiversity monitoring and an expert on the management and programming of biodiversity databases. In October 2016, he was incorporated as the Scientific - Technical Coordinator of the Datazone (a group of scientific information and knowledge management systems). His expertise in Internet programming, databases, photography, scientific illustration and biodiversity research provides a solid background for developing and managing the scientific information system that makes it possible to access all the knowledge gained through many years of research, and the tools to process such information for ongoing research and management in the Galapagos Islands.

Jacqueline Rodríguez, Entomologist Researcher

Jacqueline came to the CDF in 2014. Currently, she works on ecological restoration and terrestrial invasive species projects, including monitoring invertebrates in the threatened Scalesia forest on Santa Cruz Island and the management of the Reference Collection of terrestrial invertebrates. Jacqueline mentioned how gratifying it is for her to be part of the staff and contribute with her work to the development of projects and science on the Galapagos Islands.

Johanna Carrión, Executive Coordinator and Interinstitutional Affairs

Johanna is a permanent resident of Galapagos. She arrived at the CDRS in 2013 and before that she was a fellow of the institution. Her work focuses on supporting the establishment and strengthening of national and international strategic alliances to strengthen the science and complementary actions carried out in the CDRS. She is also responsible for following projects established as priorities in the Strategic Plan 2016-2019.

Kelsey Bradley, Funding Development Coordinator

Kelsey arrived from Canada to Galapagos in 2010 as a volunteer on a surgical mission, and these enchanted islands truly altered the course of her career and life. Currently, she is the Donor Relations Coordinator, working with the principal researchers to complete their project and financial reports.

Macarena Parra Díaz, Marine Turtles Researcher

Macarena worked first at CDRS as a field volunteer on sea turtle monitoring in 2006 and as assistant in the same project in 2007. She later joined the vertebrate program and supported as a curator in the CDRS marine collections. In 2009 she joined the institution as the head of the sea turtle program, coordinating the green turtle nesting monitoring for five years. Currently, she works in the establishment and development of projects focused on the identification of threats and anthropogenic impacts for the green turtle within the Galapagos Marine Reserve with the aim of making an early detection of these threats and to be able to advise the management authorities on the creation of measures that ensure the protection and conservation of the species in the archipelago.

Marta Romoleroux, Responsible for the Volunteers, Fellows, Visiting Scientists and Collaborators Program

Marta es residente permanente de Galápagos y se incorporó en la ECCD en el 2016. Desde entonces brinda a los voluntarios, becarios, científicos visitantes y colaboradores apoyo logístico, migratorio y seguimiento de los permisos de investigación científica en las Islas Galápagos.

Mauricio Santos, Operations Coordinator

Mauricio is a permanent resident and joined the CDRS in February 2017. In recent years he worked for the company Mamut Andino managing the area of logistics and operations. He was involved in large scale projects such as the Coca Codo Sinclair Hydroelectric and the Baba Transfer, among others.

Paola Díaz Freire, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator

Paola came back to the Galapagos in mid-2015 after 12 years of working in Australia and the Middle East. She worked for the CDRS in Communications between 1999 and 2004. She has an Environmental Science degree and a Master’s in Communications and Public Relations from the University of Westminster in the United Kingdom. She is responsible for the management and running of the Communications Area.

Paola Herrera O., Human Resources Coordinator

Originally from Quito, Paola studied Human Resources Administration and was integrated as part of the staff at the end of 2012. Her main motivation to work in Galapagos was the fact of contributing day by day with a grain of sand in the area and in favor of conservation. She mentioned that for her it is undoubtedly a privilege to work in a unique natural environment day to day with the staff of the CDRS.

Patricia Jaramillo Díaz, Leader of the “Galápagos Verde 2050” Proje

Patricia is a biologist who arrived in the Galapagos in 1996 as a fellow, and was later integrated as part of the staff of the CDRS. For more than a decade, she has been the Curator of the CDRS Herbarium and has developed applied research projects on threatened flora and ecological restoration. She was a Professor of Botany of the Universidad Central del Ecuador-Galapagos, currently leads the project "Galapagos Verde 2050" and is the general coordinator of the Natural History collections of the CDRS.

Patricia Lehar, CDRS Librarian

Patricia is an information management professional working in libraries, archives, records management, and information technology, administering programs in government, manufacturing and business environments. As a computer scientist, she worked as a systems programmer, database administrator and enterprise systems consultant. Upon concluding her 15 year information technology career, she earned a Master’s of Library and Information Science and has worked subsequently as a librarian, archivist and records specialist. Since starting as the CDRS librarian in May 2016, her work has focused on providing information access.

Patricia Martí Puig, Senior Marine Ecologist

Patricia arrived at the CDRS in January 2017 as a Senior Ecologist from Barcelona, Spain, to lead the Seamounts project and the subtidal ecological monitoring of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. With a Doctorate in Biodiversity and Evolution, she has previously worked in several aspects for marine conservation, including ecology, genetics, Marine Protected Areas and scientific awareness in different sectors (NGO, private sector and academia). Her professional interest is to translate scientific knowledge for a sustainable use of marine resources. More info: www.patypuig.com

Pelayo Salinas de León, Marine Research Coordinator

Pelayo has led the research projects in fisheries and sharks of the CDRS since August 2012. Prior to working in Galapagos, he completed his PhD in marine biology at the University of Wellington in New Zealand and developed several research projects in Indonesia and Cuba. Working in Galapagos has been his dream since he was a child and he mentioned the good fortune he has to be able to coordinate lines of research that are useful for the sustainable management of resources of socio-economic importance in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

Stefan Loosveld, Institutional Promotion Coordinator

Stefan arrived at the CDRS in July 2016. He worked for 15 years as a Hotel Manager on board Cruises Ships in the Galapagos Islands. As an Economist, he is in charge of coordinating our donations point and the CDRS Exhibition Hall. Since February 2017, he also coordinates the accommodation area for volunteers, scientists and our Frankfurt building.