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Dr. Stesha Pasachnik is a postdoctoral research associate at the San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research and Co-chair of theIUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group. Stesha began working with iguanas in 2000, while pursuing her undergraduate biology degree at Earlham College.



At this point she was fortunate enough to be involved in Dr. John Iverson's long-term study of Cyclura cychlura inornata in the Bahamas. During herundergraduate career she also had the opportunity to study Iguana delicatissima during an NFS REU summer program through Avila College. Stesha received her PhD from the 

University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2010. Her dissertation work focused on conservation genetics of the Ctenosaura palearis complex, occurring in Honduras and Guatemala. While completing her dissertation research Stesha also started a variety of side projects throughout Central America and Mexico, many of which she is still involved in today. After completing her dissertations she moved to Roatan, Honduras, to study Ctenosaura oedirhina.


This work was made possible by a series of grants from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, The International Iguana Foundation, and USFWS. For her postdoctoral work, Stesha is now working in the Dominican Republic with Cyclura cornuta and Cyclura ricordii. Stesha believes that conservation is best approached when combining aspects of ecology, genetics, and education and outreach. Her current project in the DR brings together these three aspects to create a holistic conservation plan. Stesha also values working with students and has mentored many students in recent years. She is always interested in helping students in any way possible and looks forward to these opportunities.

Please feel free to reach out to her if you are interested in pursuing a study with iguanas or would like to gain some field experience with iguanas in the DR. 

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