SPEAKERS Presentations

Diana Pazmiño

San Francisco University of Quito

Elasmobranch conservation in the Galapagos islands: a molecular approach.

Diana Pazmiño presented the most recent results of her research on the use of genetic tools applied to the conservation of marine fauna. Among them, results on the population structure of giant mantas, several species of rays, as well as the preliminary results of the environmental DNA project, which seeks to understand coastal biodiversity using DNA in the water.

Biosketch. Diana is a graduate of James Cook University, Australia. After completing her PhD she returned to the Galapagos and is currently a full-time professor at USFQ based in the Galapagos Campus in San Cristóbal Island. In recent years she has built a strong worldwide collaboration network to improve our understanding of elasmobranchs and how best to conserve and manage their populations.

Her main interests include:

  • Application of molecular tools in forensics research
  • Connectivity and population structure, emphasizing conservation and fisheries management applications
  • Use of eDNA to monitor marine biodiversity within the Galapagos Marine Reserve
  • Local capacity building for genetics/genomics and bioinformatics in the Galapagos.

Carlos Mena

San Francisco de Quito University

The effects of climate change and the increase in tourism on socio-ecological systems in the Galapagos archipelago.

The Galapagos Islands are one of the best-preserved national parks in the world. However, even these seemingly pristine islands face problems such as climate change, ocean debris, invasive species, and the increase of tourism, which put this archipelago at risk

Using modeling tools such as NASA's Land Data Assimilation System (LDAS), the director of the GSC, Carlos Mena, together with a team of scientists, have compiled information to create predictive models on parameters such as rainfall, temperature, floods, droughts, and water deficit. These parameters have implications for other systems such as agriculture and biodiversity conservation. This data is then compared with the population and tourist growth of the Galapagos to create possible scenarios for the future of the Galapagos. Mena and team are able to evaluate the number of natural resources that will be required to match the islands’ expansion, while taking into consideration the limitations due to the impacts of climate change.

Biosketch, Dr. Carlos Mena is a geographer interested in a wide variety of issues that emerge from the interaction between social and natural systems, including the impacts of extractive industries (oil and mining), land use and land cover in the tropics, climate change and infectious diseases, and tourism research.
Methodologically, his research uses a combination of social survey methods, remote sensing and spatial analysis, complex models (Agent Based Models), and participatory/community methods of data collection.
His work has been funded by the US Academy of Sciences, The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, NASA, The Inter-American Institute for Global Change, HIVOS, the Ecuadorian Government, USAID, and USFQ.

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