UMSL biologist Patricia Parker was interviewed by BBC News for an article about her research into the threat of avian malaria on birds native to the Galapagos Islands. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The Galapagos Islands are well known for being the home to a large number of species unique to the islands. But the introduction of foreign parasites could push native bird species toward extinction.

“The situation is precarious,” warned Patricia Parker, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Zoological Studies and chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, in a recent interview with BBC News.

For the past decade Parker has been leading research in the Galapagos Islands on plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria.

So far the Galapagos Islands has not experienced a mass extinction of endemic birds, but Parker told the BBC she believes it could be just a matter of time before the virus claims its first species.

Click here to read the entire BBC News article.

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez