Mentoring and Training

Working outside and with animals is one of the best parts of being a scientist (in my opinion) and I’ve been lucky to share that joy with several undergrads and field assistants. Together we’ve shared both fun and challenging experiences and collected mountains of data. I’m proud to have co-authored papers with both American and Ecuadorian undergraduates and scientists. In addition to dedicated field positions, I run workshops designed to teach various field biology techniques (including mist-netting, parasite identification, specimen preparation and more) to students and researchers in the Galápagos. I am committed to increasing diversity in science and making a place for students who may not think they belong in a field dominated by white, English-speaking men.

Daniela Vargas demonstrating mist-net extraction of a medium ground finch.

Daniela Vargas demonstrating mist-net extraction of a medium ground finch.

Field work is a group effort.

Field work is a group effort.

Birds that were hit by cars in the Galápagos are often salvaged and donated to the Charles Darwin Research Station and can be used to practice specimen preparation.

Birds that were hit by cars in the Galápagos are often salvaged and donated to the Charles Darwin Research Station and can be used to practice specimen preparation.

Citizen Science

In addition to working with students I run workshops designed to help tour guides and park rangers understand and communicate the threat of invasive parasites and pathogens. In these workshops we dissect old birds’ nests to identify Philornis downsi pupae and other bichos that live inside. Our hope is that the more people who know and recognize the threat that P. downsi poses to birds, the more better we can understand its distribution and invasion in the Galápagos.

Dissecting nests in a workshop in collaboration with the Charles Darwin Research Station and AGIPA (Galápagos Association of Tour Guides).

Dissecting nests in a workshop in collaboration with the Charles Darwin Research Station and AGIPA (Galápagos Association of Tour Guides).

A collection of arthropods found in one of our nests

A collection of arthropods found in one of our nests