Charles Darwin Foundation
Conservation of giant tortoises from a One-Health perspective.
Galapagos tortoises are one of the most emblematic animals worldwide. Two centuries of overhunting led to the extinction of two species and reduced others to critically small population size. Galapagos tortoises play multiple roles across the archipelago: as ecosystem engineers and mega vertebrates, they help maintaining healthy ecosystems within the archipelago and may act as sentinel species; as a conservation icon, tortoises strongly contribute to the local economy through tourism. Today, hunting pressure is negligible, yet tortoises remain endangered due to climate change, invasive species, habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal trade, pollution, and the introduction of novel pathogens.
Responding to these conservation threats and to the limited scientific information on the evolutionary ecology and health status of these species, the Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Program was initiated in 2009. This multi-institutional program works primarily on four species of Galapagos tortoises on three islands (Isabela, Santa Cruz, and Española) which cover the full ecological range of these species, from dry, arid flat islands to high elevation islands with moist uploads and an island (Santa Cruz) with an extensive human population and dramatically modified habitats. The program consists of five main components: 1) movement ecology research to determine the evolutionary ecology of movement strategies; 2) reproductive ecology research to determine the effectiveness of reproductive strategies in a changing world; 3) socio-ecosystem research and the costs and benefits of tortoise-human interaction; 4) health research at the human- domestic animals- tortoise interface; and 5) education and outreach to translate research results into meaningful information for Galapagos students, conservation stakeholders, and decision makers.
Our recent work has helped to identify novel threats to tortoise conservation including the description of four novel viruses (two herpesviruses and two adenoviruses) and the detection of antimicrobial resistance genes in tortoise fecal samples. Having gone through multiple genetic bottle necks and isolated from pathogen vectors for 3 million years, Galapagos tortoises are likely ill-equipped to cope with novel infectious agents, such as the novel viruses recently described. Documenting endemic pathogens of tortoises and monitoring for introduced pathogens via the interaction between domestic animals, humans, and wildlife species (a One Health approach) will inform conservation management for both prevention measures and potentially disease control. Our research on antimicrobial resistance showed that tortoises living in more human-modified environments such as Santa Cruz Island are carrying more resistant bacteria than those from the isolated Alcedo Volcano on Isabela. These results support the hypothesis that human activities such as farming and poor sewage management can cause ecosystem modifications and pollution that may impact animal and human health. Current studies on plastic pollution are also showing an alarming threat for tortoise wellbeing as free-living tortoise near the most human-populated area of Galapagos (Puerto Ayora) are ingesting human waste including big amounts of plastic debris.
Habitat degradation and pollution driven by human activities is impacting the health of Galapagos ecosystems and in turns the health of the unique and endemic species thriving in those ecosystems. Our final goal is to use cutting-edge applied science to generate robust results that inform the Galapagos National Park Directorate and other local authorities on the ecology and health of Galapagos tortoises in response to anthropogenic change.
Authors: Nieto-Claudín, A., Deem, S.L., Guezou, A., Cabrera, F. & Blake, S.
Biosketch. Ainoa is a Spanish wildlife veterinarian from Complutense University of Madrid. Since 2016, she has been the laboratory manager of the Charles Darwin Research Station, and she is also working for the Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme as veterinarian and researcher.
She is currently conducting a health assessment of the giant tortoises to better understand their health status and its implications for the conservation of the entire ecosystem.
Charles Darwin Foundation
Bioinvasions in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
I lead two projects here at the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Marine Invasive Species Project and the Subtidal Ecological Monitoring Project. Our team is composed of William Bensted-Smith (Oceanographer), Rosita Calderón Barrera (Biologist and Collections) and Wilson Íñiguez (Biologist). We work primarily in the Galapagos Islands, but also occasionally collaborate with and work in the Malpelo and Cocos archipelagos.
The principal threats for bioinvasions are floating marine debris, fishing vessels, hull fouling and the El Niño effect. However, not everything is bad news, recently it was announced that the Galapagos Marine Reserve would be expanded and a marine corridor between it and the Cocos EEZ would be created.
There are several ports along the coast of Latin America, with Brazil having the largest and the city of Guayaquil’s placing 7th. Biofouling has proven to be more dangerous than ballast water in regard to the risk of carrying invasive species and increases in marine traffic mean higher risks of dispersion. As the population continues to grow, the necessity for goods increases which in turn creates more opportunities for bioinvasions to occur. Within the archipelago itself we have a wide variety of marine traffic (cargo, fishing, private and tourism boats) which increases the risk of dispersion of introduced species within the Reserve.
The spread of these species is a big issue since it can lead to the extinction of several species in isolated locations. To combat this, we have teamed up with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre (SERC). Using a method of settlement plates placed along the coast in several locations we, in conjunction with work being done in the US, are able to compare our results to a very large database. Within the archipelago we have based the studies in and around the principal ports.
We recently reported, in collaboration with our partners at SERC, a dramatic increase in the number of known introduced species with invasive potential in the Reserve, raising the number to 59. In order to understand what is occurring not only in ports but across the whole archipelago we work in collaboration with the Ecological Monitoring Project, surveying the islands for three characteristic groups: mobile macroinvertebrates, fish and sessile organisms. This provides us with an early detection system through visual surveys carried out by divers. Several species have been spotted during these surveys, such as Caulerpa racemosa and Acanthaster planci among others.
In addition to this we have created an online dashboard which will be coming online in the following weeks, as well as a tracking system for cargo boats which are either present in or entering the Marine Reserve. We are also expanding our work with the development of an early detection network across the Eastern Tropical Pacific.
Q: What do you do when you find an invasive species?
A: The marine environments are more complicated than the terrestrial ones, we have a watchlist to keep an eye on them to see if they are behaving invasively, and if the answer is positive, we channel that information to the Galapagos National Park so they can manage it with eradication or other measures.
Q: How is eDNA working and helping in the ecological monitoring of invasive species?
A: We have started using eDNA with the aim of eventually being able to utilise it for early detection of invasive species in water samples.
Biosketch, Principal Investigator Marine Invasive Species Project
Inti has worked with the CDRS in different marine projects since 2010, including shark tagging, sea turtle monitoring and ecological monitoring before completing her PhD on Marine Invasive Species in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. She now leads the Marine Invasive Species Programme and the long term Subtidal Ecological Monitoring Programme as well as being the science group coordinator for the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor initiative (CMAR)
Her interests lie in understanding the current status of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and evaluate the impacts non-native species can have on marine biodiversity, ecosystem services and the health of the GMR. As part of her research she is interested in the connectivity that exists between the different Marine Protected Areas in the region, which is why she has expanded her research throughout the Eastern Tropical Pacific region.
She is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Invasive Species Specialist Group and the Galapagos Plant Specialist group as well as having on going collaborations with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), Southampton University and the University of Malaga.
María José Barragán
Charles Darwin Foundation
Past and Present of the Scientific Research in Galápagos for the Sustainability of the Islands.
Let´s have an overview of the history of science work in the Galapagos, after 62 years of the presence of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) in the Galapagos a lot of work has been done, however science in the archipelago started a while ago with expeditions in the 1920, later on between 1960s and 1980s early steps in geology, biology was taken also the Galapagos. Later on, 1900 to 2000s conservation priorities, marine reserve areas and important decisions were made. Nowadays CDF works generating information towards conservation and sustainability. Also working with the humanistic side with the community. In 2016 our agreement with Ecuadorian government was renews allowing us to continue with our mission to contribute quality knowledge. 60% of our staff are Ecuadorian, and we work entirely under the support of donations. We were also part of the studies in the tortoise restoration program, the biological control of the white thingy, and the study if the diseases in mangroves. I would like to also mention some of the good projects going on nowadays, like the control of the parasitic fly Philornis downsi, the status and ecology of landbirds the study of dynamics and population of landbirds that is also related to the Philornis project. The mangrove finch project which is the conservation of a unique species that it can only be found in Isabela Island and is also under serious threat of extinction. As well the Galapagos Verde 2050 project that works on restoration of arid areas using new technologies for better water usage for plants in order to recolonize these sites. The Flamingo project carried out in Isabela, the marine bird projects that works with penguin albatross and flightless cormorant. The Marine Invasive Species project that has been widely explain during the seminary, the Shark project that also works with connectivity to the mainland and the marine corridor, the seamount project that is a very young project but is showing result already and it’s on the go, the marine turtle project which study the impact of human activities on turtles in the archipelago. The marine coastal habitats, the fisheries project that was described this morning, and the educational and communication project it is all that is present at the CDF and also, we hold the library, archived and museum, we are a long-lived institution and hence we are also part of the galapaguenian community. Our mission is not only to produce knowledge but also to use this knowledge in application in pro of the community. An example is the interdisciplinary work that we developed here in the Galapagos for the conservation of the archipelago.
¿What about international collaboration how you manage this?
Some of the projects 28 ongoing, some of them have collaborations locally nationally and international, for example MIE works with institutions worldwide, Philornis downsi also does have collaborations around the globe, it is important to collaborate to work for conservation.
María José Obtained a PhD in Geography (Human Geography) at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada. Her undergraduate in Biological Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University and her later Master’s research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) illustrated her research interest on coastal marine ecosystems and marine protected areas (MPAs) with special attention paid to marine wildlife management. Her PhD research was inspired by the interactive governance framework, and was applied to better understand the governability of MPAs (with a case study developed in the Galapagos Marine Reserve).
After graduation, she collaborated within varied research clusters of the Too Big to Ignore (TBTI) which is a Global Research Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research. Under that initiative she conducted research and published relevant findings on small-scale fisheries. Later on, she had a postdoctoral research position at the “Development and Knowledge Sociology” Working Group at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany. During that time, she conceptualized and co-developed new research agendas, by integrating the development and knowledge sociology approach into small-scale fisheries sustainability, fishing communities’ viability, food security from the marine perspective, and marine resource governance. Recently, she has joined Charles Darwin Foundation, as the new Science Director.
She was assigned as CDF Interim Executive Director from April 2020 to February 2021.
Charles Darwin Foundation
Social ecology, evaluation and management of artisanal fisheries in Galapagos.
Somos un grupo de cientificos con diferentes disciplinas: ecólogos, biólogos, economistas, investigadoras de las ciencias sociales. Estudiamos un sistema economico en un ecosistema insular. Vemos varios ejes, ecosistémico, seguridad alimentaria y género.
Subimos con los barcos a tomar muestras, platicamos con pescadores, buceamos.
Pintamos, hacemos mindfulnes con la comunidad, transmitimos tecnología para ellos y todo esto lo hacemos para entender este sistema bien complejo.
Seleccionamos dos investigaciones interdisciplinarias dentro del proyecto.
Cambio Climático, intenta responder la pregunta ¿Cuál es la magnitud del impacto climático en Galápagos? Este impacto puede ser un número.
Escogimos dos pesquerias, el pepino de mar y la pesca de altura. Validamos modelos que nos relacionen la temperatura del mar con abundancia de especies. Determinamos, que a mayor temperarura del mar existe menor presencia de pepinos, esta diferenciado por regiones, más hacia el oeste mayor densidad. Tambien logramos validar un modelo con ecosondas, descubienon que a mayor temperatura encontramos menos peces pelágicos grandes, como el atún de cola amarilla. Tenemos dos escenarios cuando usan pesca con caña y palangre. Tomamos en cuenta la profundidad. Logramos estimar escenarios de cambio climatico, en el modelo promedio vemos que las poblaciones de pepino van a decrecer, de igual manera las poblaciones de atún van a decrecreer y probablemente migrar a zonas más profundas donde no hay acceso a través de pesca artesanal. Este impacto podría afectar la economía y sociedad de pescadores especialmente a mujeres.
Biosketch. Fisheries Project Coordinator
Jorge was born in Mexico and since 2010 has lived in Galapagos. He is a Marine Biologist with a Master’s degree in Marine and Coastal Science & Sustainable Management. He has always studied industrial and small-scale fisheries in Mexico and Ecuador of a variety of species: sharks, rays, sea cucumber, lobsters and finfishes. His research includes any component of the fisheries: biology, ecology, participatory research, markets and public policy.
His extensive experience on fisheries is the reason why, since October 2019, Jorge has lead the "Socio-ecology, Assessment and Management of Fisheries" Project at CDF. He is expanding the focus of the Project towards an interdisciplinary one, with the aim of understanding the complex socio-ecological fishery system of Galapagos and improving its management.
Charles Darwin Foundation
Terrestrial invasive species: Challenges and Solutions.
Regarding terrestrial introduced species, land use is highly related. So far, 810 introduced species have been found and of these, 40 are invasive, with 6 invasive invertebrates and 10 vertebrates. In addition to this there are at least 64 introduced pathogens and 53 marine introduced species.
Here in Galapagos, we have the unique Scalesia forests which in a way are like the Darwin’s finches of plants. Sadly, there is only 3% of the original distribution currently remaining, and on Santa Cruz most of the remaining Scalesia residing in the agricultural zone in competition with invasive species such as the blackberry. In our project we also evaluate the status of various other Scalesia species on other islands. We have studied plots where blackberry invasion is present and where it has been removed. Scalesia species’ live around 20 years and when they die the space left behind would normally lead to regeneration of saplings, however we found that in areas where blackberry is present there is zero regeneration. Due to this the Galapagos National Park is making a big effort to eradicate the blackberry plant.
We are also involved with a nursery ground planting project for Scalesia on Santa Cruz Island, which also has a component on Isabela. On the latter a restoration program is currently being undertaken due to their being an endemic species of Scalesia on the island. There we have growing sites where invasive species are eradicated and saplings are protected with fences. However, protection is not only needed against invasive species since finches also tend to eat these small plants and so a solution to scare them off as well is being devised. We have also been working with satellite imagery to determine the increase of blackberry invasion and discovered that over the past 2 years blackberry cover has doubled.
Our project also works with invertebrates found in farmland areas with the aim of identifying any potential invasive species which may be present in the Galapagos. The population of quinine, Cinchona pubescens, is also an area of study for us since it is an invasive species which is currently being killed off by another invasive species, a fungus which is attacking its roots. Finally, we also work with the introduced frog which is found in the highlands of Galapagos.
Q: What animals tend to eat Scalesia?
A: Mostly goats eat them. Tortoises also eat it but not as a main food source.
Biosketch. Restoration Ecologist
Heinke started working at 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 Galapagos species at Brown University, USA. She is now a senior scientist at CDRS and her research is focused on investigating invasive 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.
Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation
Proximity and abundance of mother trees affects recruitment.
This work is situated in the south part of Costa Rica, in wetlands. This part of the country experiences a big change in land use agriculture and deforestation. Today 28% remains as forest. This system can regenerate, there is a degree of resilience in this system. We develop the Islas project, were we had three zones natural regeneration, plantation and islands of regeneration. The method of planting in patches it is similar to natural regeneration and requires less effort. We also established our plots in areas surrounded by high density forest and less density forest, to understand the effect of the surrounded areas while regenerating.
The frugivorous bird abundance was higher in the plantation areas, follow by the island zone and control. Seedling were found more in the plantation areas and no effect of the surrounded areas was found. We tried to determine if local factors were more important in the regeneration process. We focused in the plantation treatments, we excluded on more common species and we focused in more rare species. Hence, we determine that having a mother three around a 100m its more likely to find seedlings around. For instance, if you have more mother tree in the surrounding areas you have more recruits in the plot. We also found anomalies within the species that probably can be explained by other variables as predation and so on.
We concluded also that large seeded species are more sensitive to dispersal limitation, they majority of the recruitment was explained by the presence of mother tress in the surrounding areas.
¿What about wind dispersal is that a factor in seed dispersion?
We didn’t look about wind dispersion however we know that 10% of the species are wind dispersed.
Biosketch, Executive Director
Rakan A. “(Zak”) Zahawi starts his new role as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Charles Darwin Foundation on March 1, 2021. He received a B.S. in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Zak is a tropical restoration ecologist who has worked in many areas of Latin America, including fieldwork for his master’s in northwestern Ecuador. He is committed to putting research into practice to promote conservation.
With an affinity for oceanic archipelagos, Rakan comes to CDF from the Lyon Arboretum, a research unit of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. From 2006-2016, Dr. Zahawi was Director of Las Cruces Biological Station & Wilson Botanical Garden, one of the largest and busiest in Costa Rica. There Dr. Zahawi interacted with a wide range of scientists from the Americas and Europe, giving him extensive experience in dealing with a broad range of interests and needs. Dr. Zahawi taught plant ecology and taxonomy, mentored students in developing their field research skills, and oversaw the complex logistics of running field courses at multiple sites. He advanced the mission of the Las Cruces Biological Station by improving facilities, revitalizing collections, increasing staffing, and enhancing outreach with the local community.
Dr. Zahawi has a long history of public education and capacity building—starting with outreach lectures for his research, and later as director where he oversaw the development of an environmental education and outreach program. He is an Associate Researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Adjunct Faculty at Duke University, North Carolina.
Charles Darwin Foundation
The flip side of conservation in Galapagos: how are fishers’ livelihoods impacted by fishing gear restrictions and no-take zones?
Incorporating a social-ecological system approach into natural protected areas management is a challenging endeavor. In the Galapagos islands, previous studies regarding key conservation measures, such as fishing gear restrictions and a new network of no-fishing zones, ignore the socioeconomic impact of these policies on fishers’ livelihoods. To fill this gap in the literature, we estimate the socioeconomic implications that small-scale fishers would face in the form of loss in productivity and opportunity costs if the two measures were fully enforced. We show that a longline ban represents a burden of US$ 4.3 million per year, while implementation of no-fishing zones implies losses of US$ 1.6 million per year. Altogether, these burdens are equivalent to 2.4% of Galapagos’ GDP. This paper contributes to incorporating a social-ecological approach in the Galapagos islands, by informing managers so that they can balance the associated costs to the social side of the system and the benefits from conserving the ecological component. We discuss alternatives to implement these policies considering the impact on fishers’ livelihoods and specific challenges of the archipelago, such as conserving marine biodiversity, ensuring food security and an economic recovery from COVID-19 pandemic.
César Viteri is an economist by training. He got his PhD in Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA, USA). His research focus is in environmental and natural resource economics. Viteri is an expert on marine and coastal economics where he applies very sophisticated economic methodologies, such as contingent valuation, choice experiment, and behavioral eonomics for performing cost benefit evaluations and public policy assessments. He is also an expert on small scale fisheries management, fisheries value chain analysis and innovation. He is interested on food security, climate change economics, gender, fisheries economics, and blue economy.
Particle Tracking Models and Bioinvasions.
Our objective is to minimise the effect of invasive species and so far we have been able to identify 59 new introduced species in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Some of these are widespread whereas others are localised. Work is currently being done to map and link the spread of such species around the islands to aid with the detection of the biggest culprits of distribution within the GMR, be it currents, hull fouling or human transportation. In combination with modelling work being done, this will be an effective way to predict and mitigate the future spread of species which have either recently arrived or are at risk of arriving.
Plastic debris often washes up along the shores of Galapagos, brought here via the surface South-Equatorial and Panama Currents. In order to create a more complete database and collect as many samples as possible, the Charles Darwin Foundation partnered with organisations already undertaking beach clean-ups around the islands, such as the Galapagos National Park, Conservation International-Ecuador, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic and Galapagos Conservation Trust, as well as engaging with Naturalist and Dive Guide Associations and the general public. As of 2019, over 1400 samples have been collected throughout the archipelago and more than 11,200 individual organisms found, representing 8 groups. Sadly, more recent samples have not been taken because of COVID-19. Through this study we found that 25% of all plastic found across Galapagos coastlines is colonised by at least one plant or animal, and although only one non-native species has been found, the enormous quantity of life found attached to the debris shows it is a high potential vector for introduction.
There are four main currents which interact with the Galapagos Islands: Cromwell, Humboldt, Panama and South-Equatorial Current (SEC). The Cromwell and Humboldt bring cold water, 13°C and 15°C respectively, and nutrients to the islands through upwelling. The Cromwell Current, also known as the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC), is created by the strong trade winds along the equator pushing water to the west, creating an uneven sea-level. This forces water down and to east on the other side of the Pacific, creating the EUC. In the northern region, the Panama current flows down mainly affecting the northernmost islands of Darwin and Wolf, where most pelagic life is found. During the EL Niño phenomenon the trade winds weaken leading to warmer temperatures in the archipelago due to a weaker EUC.
The west side of the archipelago famous for its cold and nutrient rich waters. Upwelling here is created through a combination of topographically induced upwelling from the collision of the EUC and Galapagos Islands west boundary and localised wind-driven upwelling. In the topographical upwelling the EUC hits the western side of the islands and waters are forced upwards and around. In the wind-driven upwelling the blocking of the SEC by the islands creates density fronts around western side. The interaction of meridional wind shear with these fronts deepens the surface mixed layer and develops submesoscale instability. This in turn, promotes the upwelling of deep waters toward the surface through along-isopycnal flows. It is important to model and attempt to predict due the upwelling which occurs due to the effects on wildlife and the potential for invasive species colonisation and dominance.
In 2014 researchers from the Coastal Fluid Dynamic Group of North Carolina State University collaborated with the CDF with the objective of creating a ROMS model of current, temperature and salinity data at a high resolution within the GMR, and at a lower resolution across the whole ETP under two climate change scenarios. The model has outputs between 2020 and 2040 and then 2080 to 2100 so can be used to predict oceanographic conditions well into the future. The model overall allows for the analysis of changing transport and connectivity between the GMR and the rest of the ETP, leading to the possible new vectors for the introduction of species. Within the GMR itself it can show the effects of climate change on ocean conditions, such as rising temperatures and changing currents.
Outputs from the model show that the effect of warm Panama current is very strong on both northern and far northern bioregions. Whereas there are clearly lower temperatures in the western region due to upwelling. However, there is a clear increase in temperature across the archipelago over the years, particularly in the more extreme climate scenario.
One currently applied use of these model outputs is the creation of particle tracking models. These use the ocean current data to move virtual particles around over a time period. They are very useful for creating predictions of the possible spread of introduced species which are still limited to specific regions, e.g., the spaghetti bryozoan, or those which are yet to reach the GMR, such as the snowflake octocoral. It can also be used to find possible coral recruitment sites, connectivity between populations on different island and even the movement of marine debris. During the setup one can choose depth at which the particles are released in the water column, how long the particles/larvae live in the water column before settling, and in more advanced models whether they move up and down in the water column, either diurnally or with the tides. Once the particles have been tracked this can be collated with environmental and substrate data to see if the final locations of particles coincide with favourable conditions for settling if they are larvae.
Another project working with ocean modelling in Galapagos but focused specifically on plastic debris is a collaborative project with Utrecht University and the National Park. The overall aim is to create a plastic pollution free Galapagos through identifying the major sources of pollution, risks to wildlife and solutions to decrease the impacts of plastic waste in the region. These technologies and approaches will then be shared to support similar efforts on island nations and archipelagos worldwide. In order to determine the likely sources of plastic debris entering the Galapagos, researchers performed various model runs using virtual particles. This was then coupled with physical drop zones to help validate and calibrate model outputs. So far, they have found that the sources are localised and limited to nearby fishing regions and Central and South American coastlines, particularly northern Peru, and southern Ecuador.
The future aim is to incorporate Machine Learning and Neural Networks, particularly for particle tracking predictions and statistical observations. Will also look to work with other established particle tracking models
Q: Can you elaborate how you chose where you put the drifters?
A: This was done by Utrecht University who ran their model thousands of times in order to select the best positions.
William Bensted-Smith ha estado con el Proyecto de Especies Invasoras Marinas desde noviembre 2019 y se enfoca principalmente en el lado oceanográfico físico de aquello. Su trabajo se centra en modelar la propagación de especies introducidas en la Reserva Marina de Galápagos a través de modelos de rastreo de partículas de sus larvas o semillas y analizar las posibles rutas de introducción de alto más alto riesgo debido a los movimientos de las corrientes en el Pacifico Este Tropical. Además de esto, está involucrado en el Monitoreo Ecológico Submareal de la Reserva Marina.
Completó su licenciatura en Física en la Universidad de Exeter en 2018 y continuó sus estudios con una maestría en Oceanografía Física en la Universidad de Bangor el siguiente año. Su tesis de maestría se basó en recrear la propagación histórica de una especie de percebe invasora en el Mar de Irlanda utilizando un modelo de rastreo de partículas, de la cual las habilidades aprendidas han demostrado ser muy útiles en su campo de trabajo actual.