More than 8,000 islands are found off the coast of Chile, including four oceanic island groups, many of which have high rates of endemism (species found nowhere else in the world). These islands also serve as important nesting sites for seabirds. However, as is the case on many islands around the world, predation by introduced invasive species threatens the survival of Chile’s endemic flora and fauna.Island Conservation is working with local partners in the region to save native
Island Conservation is working with local partners in the region to save native plant and animal populations from extinction. On Chañaral and Choros Islands, we are protecting populations of the Vulnerable Humboldt Penguin and the Endangered Peruvian Diving-petrel by removing invasive rabbits.
With support from our partners and donors, Island Conservation is also restoring islands in the Juan Fernández Archipelago. These islands host 15 resident breeding seabird species–of which 6 are globally threatened–and 131 endemic plant species–of which 96 are globally threatened. Invasive species present in the archipelago devour the island’s vegetation and directly prey on native bird species. Restoring the Juan Fernández Archipelago by removing invasive species is an outstanding opportunity for protecting numerous threatened and endemic species, such as the Critically Endangered Juan Fernández Firecrown, the Vulnerable Stejneger’s Petrel, and the Vulnerable Pink-footed Shearwater.
Irene owes her fascination of seabirds to a few seasons spent doing fieldwork on Isla Isabel and Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. After her exposure to island ecosystems, she became deeply interested in biodiversity and went on to join various research and conservation projects around the world. She later earned her PhD in behavioral ecology from the University of Bristol, UK, where her work focused on animal camouflage. On a quest for sunnier climates, she then went on to pursue her love of nature by winning a research and conservation fellowship at the Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies in Bahía Kino, Mexico, where she focused on waterbird ecology. Her passion for conservation, field skills, demonstrated grant-writing capabilities, and strong partnership experience are all assets that Irene brings to IC’s projects. Irene is enthusiastic about nature and is often found exploring the outdoors; when not out and about, she enjoys a good read, preparing food with friends, and spending time behind the camera.
Erin earned her MS and PhD from the University of Washington, Seattle. She brings more than ten years of endangered species and conservation experience working on islands throughout the Pacific. Her research has focused on examining ecological and genetic relationships of critically endangered island birds to guide management actions in systems threatened by invasive mammals and plants. Evidence of her work includes collaboration with the Chilean National Park Service in implementing and comanaging Chile’s first habitat-restoration program within a national park—a program that is now in its eighth year. Erin’s experiences living and working on remote, inhabited islands make her an invaluable member in advancing restoration action on islands with permanent human communities.
Maddy received her AB cum laude in biology and Romance languages from Bowdoin College. After graduating, she taught English at an engineering school in Nantes, France. Maddy spent her summers working seasonal field jobs in remote areas of Mexico, Maine, and the Canadian Maritimes. After deciding to pursue ecology full time, she spent a number of months working in Mauritius to protect the Endangered Pink Pigeon from the threat of invasive species. Maddy’s combined passions for unique species, islands, and foreign languages make her an invaluable component of the Island Conservation team. Maddy loves to get out and observe plants and animals in the wild while camping, hiking, or kayaking. When confined to more urban settings, she enjoys biking, baking, and making a strong cup of tea.
Sara was born and raised in the Juan Fernández archipelago. Since 2001, Sara has spent much of her free time working in the field on Robinson Crusoe Island in invasive plant control, endemic Juan Fernández Firecrown conservation and restoration, and hummingbird nest sighting and monitoring. After witnessing firsthand the problem of invasive species in the archipelago and seeing that it is possible to protect endemic island species, Sara realized that she could better benefit threatened species by fully dedicating her time, skills, and experience to field work in the archipelago, the land of her birth. Since joining Island Conservation in 2013, she has been working on the control of invasive species and monitoring of native and endemic species in the archipelago, recently participating in a monitoring trip to the Galápagos. When Sara is not looking for hummingbird nests, she enjoys playing volleyball and running and looks forward to the rare occasions when her son—a member of the Chilean navy—can return to the island for a visit.
Paulina is a Chilean veterinarian with a background in Human-Wildlife conflict research and conservation planning. Her undergrad thesis from the Universidad Mayor in Chile analyzed the conflict between wild carnivores and rural farmers. Paulina went on to complement this line of research with a Master’s in Environmental Conservation. She focused on facilitation and conflict management in conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, developing her final project in analyzing Wildlife Presence in Agroecosystems in Coastal Ecuador. Paulina comes to IC with experience on invasive mink work from southern Chile, and stakeholder facilitation and consensus building on a variety of conservation projects in marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Diego studied engineering in natural renewable resources at the University of Chile. He is currently finishing his thesis about the different pathways in private-sector activities for exotic-species introduction in the Juan Fernández archipelago and the willingness of these enterprises to collaborate in biosecurity. In 2012, Diego was selected as a fellow Fellow for the project “How to engage people to take action for biodiversity” at the Do School in Hamburg, Germany. Within this project, he worked with twelve other fellows from around the world with a passion for conservation and met famous primatologist Jane Goodall. Back in Chile, he was chosen as one of the 100 young leaders of 2012 by El Sabado magazine. Diego has also worked in environmental consulting for governmental and private agencies and was a key part of the initiative “Let´s Rescue Juan Fernández” to raise awareness about the island’s biodiversity and main threats. Diego loves working in an international environment, helping to protect species, and exploring creative ways to raise awareness about the value of biodiversity. He enjoys nature, does aerial acrobatics (amateur still!) in trapeze and silk, and loves drinking coffee.