UMSL biologist Patricia Parker has been elected as a governing member of the Charles Darwin Foundation. (Photo by August Jennewein)

For nearly 15 years, biologist Patricia Parker has traveled to the Galapagos Islands to conduct research on birds, specifically examining the disease of the birds of the islands. Recently, she was elected a governing member of the Charles Darwin Foundation, whose mission is to conserve the environment and biodiversity in the Galapagos.

“I am extremely honored and proud” of the recognition, said Parker, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Zoological Studies and chair of the Department of Biology at University of Missouri–St. Louis. The honor recognizes her sustained commitment to working with the CDF and Galapagos National Park to understand and seek mitigation for disease threats to Galapagos wildlife.

“I now have a much stronger voice in matters of funding priorities and other decisions of interest to the mission of the CDF,” Parker said.

The foundation itself is an international science advisory group that is headquartered in Belgium. It makes funding decisions about science initiatives in the islands and runs the 80-staff-member Charles Darwin Research Station, which is located in the Galapagos. The foundation has a set of 30 governing members, some of which are institutions such as the government of Ecuador, the government of Belgium and representatives of other governing entities external to the foundation itself. The remainder consists of individuals with a history of work on behalf of Galapagos, like Parker.

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez