Our Team

Our team during the CDF Open House 2018

The Charles Darwin Foundation is an international institution with roots firmly planted in Ecuadorian soil.  We provide opportunities for local residents, while also promoting the international collaboration and knowledge-sharing that is so valuable for research and conservation efforts. Our staff is 76% Ecuadorian, taking into account that 54% are from Galápagos. Find out more about us below.

Strategic Staff

Rakan A. Zahawi

Executive Director

Rakan A. “(Zak”) Zahawi starts his new role as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Charles Darwin Foundation on March 1, 2021....

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Ambre Tanty-Lamothe

Director of Marketing and Communications

Ambre is passionate about storytelling and the Galapagos. She joined CDF in September 2022 as Director of Marketing and...

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Andrea Muñoz

Principal Investigator in Conservation Sustainability Studies

Andrea Muñoz Barriga has a PhD in Natural Resources in the area of Human Geography from the Sustainability Department at...

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Birgit Fessl

Coordinator of the Galapagos Land Bird Conservation Plan

Birgit has been studying land birds on the Galapagos Islands for just over 20 years and has extensive experience in bird ecology, bird monitoring and...

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Charlotte Causton

Project Coordinator of Invasive Invertebrates

Charlotte has worked with the CDRS in different projects since 1997, including terrestrial invertebrate research programs.

She has extensive...

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Fanny Villegas Hernández

Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

Fanny has a bachelor's degree in Psychology with extensive experience in occupational and clinical psychology. She has worked...

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Fernanda Loayza

Environmental Education and Community Outreach Coordinator

Fernanda leads all environmental education and community outreach efforts for the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF). Based in...

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Francesca Cunninghame

Mangrove Finch Project leader

Francesca was born and raised in New Zealand. She has been actively involved in bird conservation and research most of her life, joining the Ornithological...

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Francisco Martínez

Information Technology Coordinator

Francisco has been involved with technological development in Galapagos since early 2001, collaborating and participating in...

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Gabriel Vianna

Co-Principal Investigator of the Shark Ecology Project

Gabriel joined the CDF in 2022 as Co-Principal Investigator of the Shark Ecology Project. Gabriel has a Master’s degree...

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Gustavo Jiménez-Uzcátegui

DVM, Wildlife Veterinarian and Researcher on Sea Birds

He is a Senior Researcher, and has been working at the CDRS since 2001. His research has focused on diseases monitoring since...

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Heinke Jäger

Restoration Ecologist

After working eight years in agricultural research at the University in Kiel, Germany, Heinke studied biology at the...

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Inti Keith

Principal Investigator Marine Invasive Species Project

Inti has worked with the CDRS in different marine projects since 2010, including shark tagging, sea turtle monitoring and ecological monitoring before...

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Johanna Carrión

Executive Coordinator and Interinstitutional Affairs

Johanna is a permanent resident of Galapagos. She arrived at the CDRS in 2013 and before that she was a fellow of the institution.

Her work focuses...

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Jorge Ramírez

Fisheries Project Coordinator

Jorge was born in Mexico and since 2010 has lived in Galapagos, Ecuador. He is a Marine Biologist with a Masters in Marine and...

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Julio Delgado

Operations Coordinator

My name is Julio Delgado from San Cristobal Island. I came to CDF in March 1999 as a volunteer in the marine biology area, BIOMAR, in the Fisheries...

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Macarena Parra Díaz

Marine Turtles Researcher

Macarena worked first at CDRS as a field volunteer on sea turtle monitoring in 2006 and as assistant in the same project in 2007.

She later joined...

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María José Barragán P.

Science Director

María José Obtained a PhD in Geography (Human Geography) at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St....

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Marta Romoleroux

Responsible for the Volunteers, Fellows, Visiting Scientists and Collaborators Program

Marta is a permanent resident of Galapagos and joined the CDRS in 2016.

Since then, she has provided volunteers, fellows, visiting scientists and...

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Patricia Jaramillo Díaz

Senior Researcher of the Galapagos Verde 2050 Ecological Restoration Program - Botany

Patricia is an Ecuadorian researcher who came to Galapagos in 1996 to work on her PhD thesis about the “human impact on native, endemic and introduced...

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Patrick Moldowan

Principal Investigator

Patrick is a Canadian wildlife biologist. In 2023, he completed his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University...

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Pelayo Salinas de León

Co- Principal investigator

Pelayo has led the research projects in fisheries and sharks of the CDRS since August 2012.

Prior to working in Galapagos, he completed his PhD in...

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Phil van Haarlem

Chief Financial Officer

Phil van Haarlem was born in Leiden, the Netherlands and holds a degree in Dutch Law from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam....

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Renee Monroe

Chief Philanthropy Officer

Renee Monroe joined the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) as Chief Philanthropy Officer in May 2018. She first visited and became...

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Stefan Loosveld

Institutional Promotion Coordinator

Stefan arrived at the CDRS in July 2016. He worked for 15 years as a Hotel Manager on board Cruises Ships in the Galapagos Islands.

As an Economist,...

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The mission of the Charles Darwin Foundation and its Research Station is to tackle the greatest threats and challenges to Galapagos through scientific research and conservation action, in order to safeguard one of the world’s most important natural treasures.

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Av. Charles Darwin s/n, Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador
(593) 5 2526-146 / 2527-013 Ext 101
Quito Office
Francisco Andrade Marín
E6-122 y Av. Eloy Alfaro
+593 (2) 2 231 174

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association internationale sans but lucratif (AISBL), has its registered office at 54 Avenue Louise, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

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