Diversity of Fishes
Profile: Xenia Freilich
Ms. Xenia Freilich
Ms. Xenia Freilich

While pursuing her baccalaureate from the University of Costa Rica, which she finished in 1988, Costa Rican native Xenia Freilich conducted research on the distribution and breeding habits of the Pacific coast sea turtles as part of the Sea Turtle Research Program. Xenia was involved in this research from 1982 until 1992. The team she worked with found and verified two previously unknown nesting sites of the threatened sea turtle Chelonia agassizii. Xenia and the five other members of her team compiled a report of their findings for the Sea Turtle Research Program. Before their discovery, this species was unknown on Costa Rican beaches.

But that was a few years ago, and several thousand miles away. Xenia moved to New York City and enrolled in graduate school at City College of New York. She supports her studies by working in the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Ichthyology. Xenia is the departmental scientific assistant, a full-time position that involves several ongoing research projects. One of her major tasks is processing all specimen-loan requests from in-house scientists and colleagues around the world. Each loaned specimen must be checked by Xenia to verify that all of its parts are present and accounted for, and to check that the country to which she is sending it participates in the Committee on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and complies to standards established by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other treatises recognized by governing bodies globally.