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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.

Dr. Dennis Geist, courtesy of Darwin Foundation
Dr. Dennis Geist, courtesy of Darwin Foundation

“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

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio

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James Dawson joined Boise State Public Radio as the organization's News Director in 2017. He oversees the station's award-winning news department. Most recently, he covered state politics and government for Delaware Public Media since the station first began broadcasting in 2012 as the country's newest NPR affiliate. Those reports spanned two governors, three sessions of the Delaware General Assembly, and three consequential elections. His work has been featured on All Things Considered and NPR's newscast division. An Idaho native from north of the time zone bridge, James previously served as the public affairs reporter and interim news director for the commercial radio network Inland Northwest Broadcasting. His reporting experience included state and local government, arts and culture, crime, and agriculture. He's a proud University of Idaho graduate with a bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. When he's not in the office, you can find James fly fishing, buffing up on his photography or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.