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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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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Edgardo Civallero

Library, Archives & Museum Coordinator

Edgardo Civallero has a degree in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Córdoba (Argentina). With previous training in Marine...

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Ernesto Bustamante

Liaison Coordinator at Isabela Island

Ernesto is an Environmental Engineer from Peru with a Master’s degree in Environmental Management in Australia.

He arrived at the CDRS at the...

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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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Galo Del Hierro

Human Resources Coordinator

With more than 10 years of professional experience in Human Resources, Galo Del Hierro has worked in various organisations including Engineering in Business...

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Gustavo Jiménez-Uzcátegui

DVM, Wildlife Veterinarian and Researcher on Sea Birds

Gustavo is a Wildlife Veterinarian and Researcher at CDRS since 2001.

He works in different projects covering various topics of ecology and health...

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Heinke Jäger

Restoration Ecologist

Heinke started working at CDRS in 1998, first on the introduced quinine tree (Cinchona pubescens) and then on rare and endangered plant...

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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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Isabel Grijalva

Communications Coordinator

Maria Isabel has a degree in Interactivity and Multimedia with a specialization in Communication Design from San Francisco University of Quito - Ecuador,...

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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. He is a Marine Biologist with a Master’s degree in Marine and Coastal Science &...

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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

Science Director

María José Obtained a PhD in Geography (Human Geography) at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada. Her undergraduate...

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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

Leader of the Galapagos Verde 2050 Project and General Coordinator of the Natural History Collections

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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Pelayo Salinas de León

Marine Research Coordinator

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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Renee Monroe

Chief Philantropy Officer

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

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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 “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Chaussée de la Hulpe 177 Bte 20 (rez) - 1170, Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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