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Free two-day workshop


Invasive species in the Galápagos Islands: Challenges and solutions

June 3-4 | Learning & Environmental Sciences Building | St. Paul

This event is sponsored by a mini-grant from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, the Department of Entomology (CFANS), Biology Teaching and Learning (CBS), and The Raptor Center (College of Veterinary Medicine).


Open to the public! Updates and presentations about the ongoing conservation work in the Galapagos Islands to address the problem of invasive species. These informative sessions will be relevant to scientists, graduate students, anyone interested in the preservation of this unique and incredible World Heritage Site.





Public Presentations


10 a.m.

Opening remarks (George Heimpel, Ecuadoran consul general Silvia Ontaneda)

IonE seminar room

10:15 a.m.

Sehoya Cotner: Pirates, scientists, and other scoundrels...A history of human activity in Galápagos

IonE seminar room

11 a.m.

Patricia Parker: Invasive diseases in Galápagos

IonE seminar room

11:45 a.m.

Morning Q&A, wrap-up

IonE seminar room

12 p.m.

Visit Raptor Center

IonE commons

1 p.m.

Julia Ponder: Invasive vertebrates vs. endemics: Who will be voted off the island?

IonE seminar room

1:45 p.m.

Heinke Jäger: Invasive plants in Galápagos: problems and solutions

IonE seminar room

2:30 p.m.


IonE seminar room

2:45 p.m.

Jennnifer Koop:  Effects of Philornis downsi on the endemic avifauna of the Galápagos

IonE seminar room

3:30 p.m.

Wrap-up with panel Q&A session

IonE seminar room

4 p.m.



About  our featured speakers

Julia Ponder (Director, The Raptor Center) "Invasive vertebrates vs endemics: Who will be voted off the island?"

About Julia: Dr. Ponder and The Raptor Center are partners on a conservation project to prevent extinctions and restore altered ecosystems in the Galápagos Islands by permanently removing damaging introduced rodents from key islands. Through this work, rodents have been successfully removed from eleven islands in the archipelago and the resulting recovery of multiple endemic species documented.

Jennifer Koop (University of Arizona) "Effects of Philornis downsi on the endemic avifauna of the Galápagos"

About Jen: Dr. Koop completed her PhD studying the impact of the introduced parasite, Philornis downsi, on native avifauna in Galápagos. Her current work merges her interests in host-parasite dynamics with the added perspective of ecological genetics.

Patricia Parker (University of Missouri) "TBA"

About Patty: Dr Parker is an evolutionary biologist interested in the complex relationships between animal populations and their parasites and pathogens. Whether working on birds in Galapagos, lemurs in Madagascar, monkeys in Peru, snakes in Armenia, or endangered beetles in Missouri, Dr. Parker employs a variety of approaches to understand the histories of the vertebrate lineages and how they are using their current landscape, and then does the same for their pathogens.

Sehoya Cotner (Biology Teaching and Learning) "Pirates, scientists, and other scoundrels... A history of human activity in Galápagos"

About Sehoya: Dr. Cotner's research interests focus on evolution education, but extend in several directions—evolution for the non-scientist, evolution in Galápagos, factors affecting student acceptance of evolution, and strategies for identifying student misconceptions about evolutionary biology. Dr. Cotner has lead "Biology of Galápagos" tours for several years, and recently co-authored (with Randy Moore) "Understanding Galápagos—What You'll See and What it Means" (2013).

Heinke Jäger: "Invasive plants in Galapagos: Problems and solutions"

About Heinke: Dr. Heinke Jäger is an ecologist and the director of terrestrial invasive species research at the Charles Darwin Foundation in the Galápagos. Her research has focused primarily on invasive plants and the restoration of invaded habitats.



Following the workshop on June 3, organizers will convene to discuss funding priorities and opportunities for continued work on invasives in Galápagos. This meeting is not restricted to U of MN personnel; interested participants should contact George Heimpel ( prior to June 1.




June 3 | 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

*lunch served

June 4 | 8 a.m. - noon


Learning & Environmental Sciences Building

1954 Buford Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

Parking is available in the Gortner Avenue ramp.


Open to the public!




bird and rat images