I am so excited to announce that my lab was awarded a grant from the National Geographic Research and Exploration Committee for work on reconstructing the invasion route of a parasitic nest fly to the Galapagos Islands. This work is in collaboration with Dr. George Heimpel at the University of Minnesota and Charlotte Causton at the Charles Darwin Foundation.The recent introduction of Philornsi downsi now threatens the survival of many native bird species in the Galapgos, including several species of Darwin's finches. Fly larvae live in the nests of finches and consume blood from the nestlings and adult females, who sit on the nest. Our work has shown that this parasite can cause massive mortality, ranging from 60-100% of infested nestlings. Information pertaining to the source of this parasite’s introduction from the mainland to the islands and then progressively through the islands is necessary to design effective management policy and practices. We will collect flies from several mainland South American sites as well as from each of the major islands within the Galapagos archipelago. We will use a population genetics approach to describe the invasion history of P. downsi from the mainland to the Galapagos. Furthermore, we will determine the degree to which flies can move between islands by estimating gene flow. This information will inform conservation strategies aimed at reducing the prevalence of this fly on the islands, preventing future introductions, and ultimately, protecting this truly unique group of birds.