February 2020

New Gecko Species in Galapagos

Meet three new endemic Galapagos gecko species!
Thanks to research by Tropical Herping and Galapagos Science Center under Galapagos National Park Directorate permit PC-54-18, Galápagos has two new gecko species and a third elevated from sub-species to species status! Now there are 14 known species of these little lizards in the Galapagos Islands.

Summary of PI Amanda Thompson’s study on immune development and gut microbiome in Galapagos

Introduction: GSC Researcher Amanda Thompson, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with three other collaborators, published an article about human health in Galapagos in the American Journal of Human Biology on December 28th, 2018. The title of the article is “Pathways linking caesarean delivery to early health in a dual burden context: Immune development and the gut microbiome in infants and children from Galapagos, Ecuador.” This publication is based on two studies coordinated with the Hospital Oskar Jandl and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Public Health.

Proyecto Familias Saludables San Cristóbal

En los últimos dos años, llevamos a cabo el Estudio Familias Saludables en San Cristóbal en colaboración con USFQ y financiado por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud. En este proyecto, examinamos cómo los ambientes de agua y alimentos de las Galápagos impactan la salud humana.

Genoma de hierbas y ambientes. Un enfoque basado en una hipótesis / descubrimiento que conecta el genoma con el fenoma del hábito y el comportamiento de las plantas en entornos naturales

Desentrañar las reglas de la vida requiere que comprendamos cómo la colección total de genes da forma a la forma de vida, la fisiología y el comportamiento. Aquí, adoptamos un enfoque integrador a esta pregunta al caracterizar los genomas de un conjunto de pastos fenotípicamente diversos, pero monofiléticos, de Ecuador.

El GSC desempeña un papel integral en la Comisión Interinstitucional de Galápagos para el Consumo Responsable de Plásticos

A partir del 2012, el plenario del Consejo de Gobierno del Régimen Especial de Galápagos (CGREG), la instancia gubernamental más alta de Galápagos, votó para implementar las recomendaciones de un estudio realizado por un consultor de la Dirección del Parque Nacional de Galápagos (DPNG) sobre el uso de plásticos desechables en Galápagos, con un enfoque en las fundas de plástico tipo camiseta, para proporcionar la línea de base para un plan de acción para reducir su uso (Díaz, 2011).

GSC plays an integral role in the Galapagos Inter-Institutional Commission for Responsible Plastics Use

Beginning in 2012, the plenary of the Galapagos Governing Council (CGREG), the highest government instance in Galapagos, voted to implement the recommendations from a study conducted by a consultant from the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) on the use of disposable plastics in Galapagos, with a focus on the t-shirt type plastic bags, to provide the baseline for an action plan to reduce their use (Diaz, 2011).

Healthy Families Study

Over the past two years, we have been conducting the Healthy Families Study in San Cristobal in collaboration with USFQ and funded by the National Institutes of health. In this project, we examine how the water and food environments of the Galapagos impact human health.

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In 2022, the Galapagos Science Center (GSC) and the broader UNC & USFQ Galapagos Initiative will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. We are proud to announce the World Summit on Island Sustainability scheduled to be held on June 26–30, 2022 at the Galapagos Science Center and the Community Convention Center on San Cristobal Island.

The content of the World Summit will be distributed globally through social media and results documented through papers published in a book written as part of the Galapagos Book Series by Springer Nature and edited by Steve Walsh (UNC) & Carlos Mena (USFQ) as well as Jill Stewart (UNC) and Juan Pablo Muñoz (GSC/USC). The book will be inclusive and accessible by the broader island community including scientists, managers, residents, tourists, and government and non-government organizations.

While the most obvious goal of organizing the World Summit on Island Sustainability is to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the GSC and the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, other goals will be addressed through special opportunities created as part of our operational planning of the World Summit.

For instance, we seek to elevate and highlight the Galapagos in the island conservation discourse, seeking to interact with other island networks in more obvious and conspicuous ways to benefit the Galapagos Islands, the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, and the world. We will seize the opportunity to further develop the I2N2 – International Islands Network-of-Networks. Further, we wish to highlight and emphasize multiple visions of a sustainable future for the Galapagos Islands and we cannot do this alone. Therefore, engaging the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, the Government Council of Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park, and local Galapagos authorities, including government and non-government organizations and local citizen groups, is imperative.

The Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Borrowing from Hawaii’s and Guam’s Green Growth Program and the Global Island Partnership, we wish to examine existing global programs that emphasize island sustainability and their incorporation into life, policies, and circumstances in the Galapagos Islands. We will also seek to enhance our connections with the institutional members of our International Galapagos Science Consortium and expand the Consortium through the recruitment of other member institutions. We will also work to benefit islands and their local communities by working with citizen groups as well as important NGOs who seek to improve the natural conditions in the Galapagos and diminish the impact of the human dimension on the future of Galapagos’ ecosystems.

Lastly, we will use the World Summit to benefit UNC & USFQ and our constituencies through a strong and vibrant communication plan about the World Summit, creating corporate relationships as sponsors, identifying funding goals through donors, and benefiting our study abroad program for student engagement in the Galapagos Islands. We plan to develop and issue a Galapagos Sustainability Communique after the World Summit that includes the vision and insights of all its participants for a sustainable Galapagos with applicability to global island settings.

We are eager to hear your perspective and have you join us at the World Summit on Island Sustainability!