Gabriela Ibarguchi, Ph.D.

Conservation Program Manager

Dr. Gabriela Ibarguchi serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Conservation Program Manager in Recovery Ecology.  Her role includes building and coordinating research, monitoring, and management activities for at-risk water bird species, with a focus on threatened western snowy plovers and endangered California least terns. Gabriela’s interests include conservation, biogeography, ecology, and evolution.  In particular, she seeks to understand the issues that affect species inhabiting harsh environments. Her research interests include working with communities to mitigate the effects of disturbance, promoting habitat conservation and connectivity, and investigating the complex ecological effects of climate change.

Working with key partners, including Naval Base Coronado and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Gabriela and her team provide guidance on the research, management, and outreach components of the least tern and snowy plover program.  Using an ecosystem approach, the team investigates and manages the drivers influencing reproductive success, survival, health, and habitat quality.  Their work also provides useful information relevant to other species sharing these habitats. Together, the team is exploring habitat restoration and social attraction for nesting success, analyzing year-round distributions, and examining potential factors influencing meta-population dynamics.

Gabriela earned her bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution and Population Genetics at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, with honors.  She earned her master’s degree working with Arctic seabirds and her doctorate studying the seedsnipes of the Andes and Patagonia from Queen’s University, Ontario. She has taught courses in biology and environmental sciences, and she conducts collaborative research with the Arctic Institute of North America (University of Calgary), Environment Canada, and the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program of the Arctic Council.  Gardens, hiking, photography, and drawing are her favorite ways of recharging.