Ilka Feller (Candy)

Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Candy Feller is an insect and plant ecologist studying the effects of extra nutrients from fertilizer run-off on mangrove systems over time.

The health of mangroves has ripple effects into marine food webs that use these mangroves as nurseries or feeding grounds, as well as for people who depend on mangroves for subsistence.

At the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), Candy studies the potential long-term impact of small doses of nitrogen and phosphorus used in commercial fertilizers on mangrove ecosystems.

Candy first began exploring swamps in her grandmother’s backyard as a child. Today, she has long-term experimental research sites in the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Belize, Panama, Florida and the Gulf of California, with new research sites starting in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Candy earned her Ph.D. in Ecology from Georgetown University. 

Candy is the Chair of the July 2016 Mangrove & Macrobenthos Meeting (MMM4) in St. Augustine, FL. MM4 is an international conference on mangrove ecosystems convened at 4 to 6 year intervals.