Special Presentation

Wednesday, March 24, 2021  |  5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Join us for a special presentation on the causes of a mangrove dieback in the Galapagos and its consequences for the Mangrove Finch.


Dr. Ilka "Candy" Feller, Emerita, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD, USA

Dr. Ilka Feller

Dr. Feller is a Senior Scientist Emerita after 20 years at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Since the only mangroves at SERC are in the growth chambers, Candy spent most of those 20 years in the tropics working on mangrove ecosystems around the world. Although retired, she still spends most of her time investigating the consequences of global change on ecological processes in mangrove forests.

Candy will present a travelogue of her recent field trip (1 March – 2 April 2020) to the Galapagos with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) to investigate a mangrove dieback on Isla Isabel, the largest island in the Galapagos Archipelago.

Candy is collaborating with a team of CDF ornithologists who are working on the Mangrove Finch, one of Charles Darwin’s original 14 finchs and an obligate mangrove resident that nests in black mangrove and feeds in red mangrove. However, the Mangrove Finch is critically endangered with less than 100 individuals remaining. The bird team is trying to save the remaining individuals and restore populations in other parts of the Galapagos. The major threats to this and other finches in the Galapagos are invasive species including a recently introduced parasitic fly, rats, feral cats, as well as habitat loss. The remaining Mangrove Finches live in two small stands of mangroves on the NE coast of Isla Isabel, where the dieback was first observed by the CDF scientists. Candy’s role in the project is to help identify what is causing the dieback and try to stop it.


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