Inti Keith
Inti Keith on a dive survey at Darwin Island Author: Macarena Parra
2021

Inti Keith

Oceanographer

biodiversity in blue

meet inti

Dr. Inti Keith is a Senior Marine Biologist at the Charles Darwin Foundation. She leads the Marine Invasive Species Program and the Long-Term Subtidal Ecological Monitoring Program in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Inti has worked around the world tagging sharks, monitoring sea turtles, and surveying coral and rocky reefs. Her current interests lie in understanding the health of marine ecosystems in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and in evaluating the impacts of anthropogenic drivers on this incredibly biodiverse region, including climate change, invasive species, increasing tourism, illegal fishing, and plastic pollution.

biodiversity in blue
Nominated by: Buddy Redsecker MR'19
Class of 2021 Location Ecuador
Inti-Keith's dive team at Wolf Island
Inti-Keith's dive team at Wolf Island Author: Eduardo Rosero

Due to the confluence of warm and cold currents, the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) has a unique biophysical environment with high levels of productivity and a diversity of ecosystems with distinctive biological communities. The region’s Galapagos Islands, an archipelago that is home to one of the world’s largest multi-use marine protected reserves, are utilized by the tourism industry and small-scale fisheries as the backbone of the local economy.

Several threats and challenges confront sustainable development and conservation of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and other protected areas of the region. Despite their conservation status, the Galapagos are not immune to invasions. A wide variety of species threaten to diminish their high conservation and social value. Exploring and collecting information on ecosystem health enables us to identify the factors affecting the abundance per species of key resources.

“Exploring and collecting information on ecosystem health enables us to identify the factors affecting the abundance per species of key resources.”

- Inti Keith

Our research leads to better understanding of the region’s taxonomic and functional diversity, and the socioeconomic benefits derived from reefs. It allows us to identify thresholds beyond which populations may collapse and where important ecosystem functions and services may become eroded, and to develop ecosystem-based models to predict the ongoing and potential negative impacts of climate change and anthropogenic pressures.

An early warning system for the marine protected areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific will help prevent new cases of marine invasive species and plastic pollution during climatic events. New tools, including a manual of best practices for managing tourism to these iconic islands, will result in environmental authority working together with scientific experts from each country. I am working toward this capability.

never stop exploring

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