UI Professor Is New President of Darwin Foundation
As the new president of the Charles Darwin Foundation, University of Idaho professor Dennis Geist looks to build on Darwin’s evolutionary theory, while also promoting conservation in a remote corner of the world.
Geist first visited the Galapagos Islands --where Darwin initially observed natural selection -- in 1981.
After joining the Charles Darwin Foundation, which oversees all research in the area, he began exploring how our planet may play a role in evolution.
Most oceanic islands are volcanic including the Galapagos, which Geist believes could be a catalyst for creating new species.
“As the volcano emerges above the sea, it will start to become colonized by organisms," Geist explains. "And those organisms, there will be a unique mixture of organisms and it’s a unique habitat.”
After becoming the foundation’s president in January, Geist now also focuses on maintaining conservation efforts on the islands, where invasive species greatly threaten native plants and animals.
He believes rigorous initiatives by the Ecuadorian government to combat these issues led to many organizations delisting the area as in need of protection.
Geist hopes this success can serve as an example to other unique habitats also facing destruction.
On the Web:
Charles Darwin Foundation
Dr. Dennis Geist
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