Emily is a member of the Long-term Ecology Laboratory working with the Galapagos Islands project on restoring native biological diversity. Currently she is working towards finishing her D.Phil from the School of Geography and Environment, Oxford University. She has her Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, USA, in Biology and Chemistry. She received a Certificate of Conservation Ecology, specializing in botanical conservation, while finishing her B.S. Emily worked at the Missouri Botanical Gardens and Shaw Nature Reserve for several years specializing in restoration efforts of US federally listed rare plant species and education. Following her B.S. she received a Masters of Science in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford – United Kingdom. Her MSc work was titled Short-Term Impacts of Recreational Trampling on Limestone Glade Vegetation in Southeastern Missouri, USA. She is currently finishing her D.Phil working on long-term vegetation changes on the Galapagos Islands.
The Galápagos Islands represent an outstanding showcase of biodiversity and are globally valued for their importance in scientific enlightenment and ecological value. However, during the past five hundred years in which humans have been visiting the Islands, the introduction of non-native species and habitat degradation have been changing the islands' natural ecosystems. Emily's research will help address the questions of the 'doubtful natives' - species for which it is currently unknown whether they are native or introduced. To date there are 60 'doubtful natives', distributed among 27 families requiring immediate attention to aid in the conservation and restoration policies, which this study hopes to specifically categorize. Her research combines sedimentary analysis in conjunction with current vegetation community studies, to reconstruct the long-term impact of natural disturbance and human presence on the native plant communities in the Galápagos. A multi-proxy approach has been taken when analyzing the sedimentary record; plant macrofossils, testate amoebae, and fossil pollen are being investigated. The ultimate goal of the study is to provide long-term, historical baseline data in combination with modern data - information that has immediate applicability and impact to both the conservation and restoration of native biodiversity in Galápagos.
Coffey, E.E.D, Froyd, C. A., and K. J. Willis. (2010) When is an invasive not an invasive? Macrofossil evidence of doubtful native plant species in the Galápagos Islands. Ecology, (in press).
van Leeuwen, J.F.N., Froyd, C.A., van der Knaap, W.O., Coffey, E.E.D., Tye, A. and K.J. Willis. (2008) Fossil pollen as a guide to conservation in the Galápagos. Science 322:206.
E. E. Coffey, K.J. Willis and Froyd, C.A., When is an invasive not an invasive? Macrofossil evidence of doubtful native plant species in the Galápagos Islands. Ecological Society of America, Pennsylvania, United States. August 2010
E. E. Coffey, K.J. Willis and Froyd, C.A., When is an invasive not an invasive? Macrofossil evidence of doubtful native plant species in the Galápagos Islands.International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), Alberta, Canada. July 2010
E. E. Coffey, K.J. Willis and Froyd, C.A., Determination of baseline ecological conditions in the Galápagos Islands. Ecological Society of America, New Mexico, United States. August 2009