BIODIVERSITY

Many of the plant and animal species on the Galapagos are not found anywhere else on earth, including 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants are endemic. With such a rich biodiversity, many species have yet to be discovered in the Galapagos. However,  many species are also being threatened with extinction due to human activities or natural hazards, putting this special biodiversity at risk.

Our projects include topics in:

Endemism, Evolution, Biobanking, Micro and Molecular Biology, Invasive Species. 

Let’s meet the impactful projects and their researchers:

RESEARCH PROJECTS

The role of oceanic islets for the protection of migratory marine species

Researcher: Alex Hearn

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Base line and trends of neglected species and habitats a quarter century after the creation of the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Researcher: Alex Hearn

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Isolation and molecular characterization of pathogenic fungi for biological control of the invasive blackberry (Rubus niveus) of the Galapagos Islands

Researchers: Antonio León Reyes, Noelia Barriga, Darío Ramírez, Corbin Jones, Beth Shank, Alexi Ann Van Ess, Sarya May Yannarell, Gabrielle Marie Grandchamp, Diego Riveros

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Natural and sexual selection on color traits and social behavior of lava lizards

Researcher: Carlos Valle

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Genomic tracking of the lineage of "the great bird" from Daphne Mayor island in the Galapagos

Researchers: Carlos Valle, Rosemary Grant, Erik Enbody, Selene Escobar Ramírez, Carl Rubin, Peter Grant, Leif Andersson

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Evolution of sperm size and sperm genes in Darwin's finches: a genetic and genomic approach

Researchers: Carlos Valle, Jan T. Lifjeld, Eduardo García del Rey, Érica Hele Leder, Selene Escobar Ramírez

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Galapagos genetic barcode, genetic exploration for the study of evolution

Researchers: Diana Pazmiño, Jaime Chaves

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Evaluation of the population status and reproductive success of the pinnipeds of the Galapagos Islands in colonies with different levels of anthropogenic impact

Researchers: Diego Páez Rosas, Gregory Lewbart, Jorge Hernández, Larissa Oliviera, Oliver Kruger, Jochen Wolf, Daniel Costa, Fernando Elorraiga

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Retrospective study of the feeding ecology of large pelagic fish present in the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Researchers: Diego Páez Rosas, Felipe Galván-Magaña, Raul Martínez-Rincón, Miguel Vences, Pelayo Salinas, Jose Marín, Xchel Moreno-Sánchez, Jorge Ramírez

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

The Galapagos pinnipeds sentinels of global warming in the archipelago

Researcher: Diego Páez Rosas

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Impact of the presence of dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and cats (Felis catus) on the island of Isabela

Researchers: Eduardo Díaz, Diego Páez Rosas, Verónica Barragán, Carlos Mena, Ivette Dueñas Bonilla

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Agroecological transition monitoring program for Galapagos soils

Researchers: Francisco Laso, Gabriela Bautista, Valeria Ochoa-Herrera, Antonio León, Miguel Mateo Dávila Játiva,  Diego Cisneros, Senay Yitbarek

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Multitemporal photographs of finches and their variation in beak size according to the area of life. Use of "Citizen Science" for the collection of baseline data and dissemination of scientific information

Researcher: Gonzalo Rivas

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Dynamics of nocturnal pollination in two congeners of Verbenaceae: (Lantana camara) supirrosa and (Lantana peduncularis) lantana de Galápagos on San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

Researchers: Hugo Valdebenito, Christoph Richter, Monika Havalka, Barbara Murck, Aaya Bahl, Henrry Vivanco, William Sturch, Erika Bollinger

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Structure and composition of the (Psidium guajava) and (Psidium galapageium) Myrtaceae communities on San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos

Researcher: Hugo Valdebenito

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Origin and phylogeography of native and introduced species in the Galapagos Islands: evolutionary synthesis of understudied species

Researcher: Jaime Chaves

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Identification of conservation strategies and population genetics of the critically endangered Galapagos petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia)

Researcher: Jaime Chaves

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Research on the behaviour, ecology and molecular analysis of the vampire finch (Geospiza difficilis septentrionalis)

Researcher: Jaime Chaves

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Exploring evolution in the Galapagos through genomics

Researcher: Jaime Chaves

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Searching endemic rodent species considered extinct in Santa Cruz, Santiago, and San Cristóbal, and conservation status of the endemic mouse of Santiago

Researchers: Carlos Carrión, Paul Taillie, Daniel Armijos, Ana Carrión Bonilla

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Taxonomy of Marine Algae in the Galapagos Islands

Researcher: Margarita Brandt y John Bruno

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Understanding the demography, diet and population structure of the shark, from the sharks obtained from the FER MARY

Researcher: John Bruno

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Photograph of Galapagos reptiles and amphibians for the Reptiles of Ecuador and Amphibians of Ecuador field guides

Researcher: Juan Manuel Guayasamín

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Population genetics, diversification, hybridization and ecology of marine and land iguanas of the Galapagos islands as a mechanism to facilitate their conservation

Researcher: Juan Manuel Guayasamín

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Applied genetics and chemistry: how can sharks seized from the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 ship contribute to the conservation of Pacific shark populations?

Researcher: Juan Manuel Guayasamín

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Understanding the population structure of Yellow Fin Tuna in the eastern Pacific

Researcher: Laia Muñoz

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Demographic, ecological and hybridization threats analysis of two endemic Solanum species in the Galapagos Islands

Researchers: Leonie C. Moyle, María de Lourdes Torres, Matt Gibson, Timothy Biewer

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Assessment of the genomic status of populations of two endemic Solanum species in the Galapagos Islands

Researcher: María de Lourdes Torres

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Study of the evolutionary genetics of the Galapagos carpenter bee (Xylocopa darwini)

Researcher: María de Lourdes Torres

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Determination of the genetic diversity of the invasive blackberry (Rubus Niveus) using DNA sequencing associated with RAD restriction sites as a base line for the conservation of plants biodiversity of the Galapagos islands

Researcher: María de Lourdes Torres

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Genomic study of native and endemic grasses of the Galapagos Islands and the continent

Researcher: María de Lourdes Torres

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Preliminary determination of the genetic diversity of guayabillo (Psidium galapageium) and guava (Psidium guajava) in Isabela and San Cristóbal Islands, Galapagos, and comparison of guava diversity with samples collected in three provinces of continental Ecuador

Researcher: María de Lourdes Torres

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Researchers: Marjorie Riofrío-Lazo, Diego Paez Rosas, Günther Reck, Francisco Arreguín, Manuel Zetina

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Habitat use and monitoring of migratory movements of the oceanic manta ray (Mobula birostris) population in the Galapagos Islands

Researcher: Michel Guerrero

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Contribution of herbivorous fish to rocky reef assemblages in different upwelling conditions

Researchers: Mike Kingsford, Juan Manuel Álava

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Study of the microbiome associated with species of the genus Scalesia in Galapagos

Researchers: Pieter Marinus Johannes Van‘t Hof

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Digital Archaeology and Virtual Reality at the Muro de las Lágrimas site (1940-1959)

Researcher: Fernando J. Astudillo

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Identification of movement patterns, habitat use, diet patterns and epidemiological factors associated with the positive diagnosis of (Mycoplasma spp) and (Toxoplasma spp) in cats on San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos

Researcher: Jaime Grijalva

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Sampling and categorization of endemic and introduced forest species for sustainable use in architecture in the Galapagos Islands

Researcher: María Isabel Paz

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Understanding the effects of marine debris on seabirds in Galapagos

Researcher: Alice Skehel

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Germination and establishment of (Tribulus cistoides) Zygophyllaceae in the Galapagos Islands

Researchers: Angélica Bonaccorso, Sofía Carvajal Endar, Nicole Alejandra Chico-Ortiz

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Galapagos sea urchins as an introductory system to scientific research for Ecuadorian students and their monitoring as potential sentinels of changes in marine-coastal communities around Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal

Researcher: Carlos Valle

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Snakes and geckos of San Cristóbal and Isabela Islands, Galapagos

Researchers: Diego Cisneros, Carmen Emilia Peñaherrera Romero, Juan José Guadalupe López, María de Lourdes Torres Proaño, Carolina Pilar Reyes Puig, Miguel Mateo Dávila Játiva

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Land birds of San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos: Natural history, distribution and population state

Researchers: Diego Cisneros, Carmen Emilia Peñaherrera Romero, Juan José Guadalupe López, María de Lourdes Torres Proaño, Carolina Pilar Reyes Puig, Miguel Mateo Dávila Játiva

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Understanding the evolutionary relationships of the Galapagos plants

Researcher: Gonzalo Rivas

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Understanding the health of wildlife in the Galapagos

Researcher: Gregory Lewbart, Juan Pablo Muñoz-Pérez

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Assessment of the health status of the giant tortoises of the Cerro Colorado Galapaguera, prior to the release and repatriation processes

Researchers: Gregory Lewbart, Juan Pablo Muñoz-Pérez, Diego Páez-Rosas

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Wildlife health and disease monitoring of marine invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds and marine mammals of the Galapagos

Researchers: Gregory Lewbart, Kenneth J. Lohmann, Maximilian Hirschfeld

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Study of the floral origin, quality parameters, chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of (Brachygastra lecheguana) honey wasp from the Galapagos Islands

researcher: José Miguel Álvarez

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Behavioural ecology of lava lizards Tropiduridae - Microlophus from Ecuador, and comparison between continental and island communities

Researcher: Juan Manuel Guayasamín

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Conservation status of coral communities in the San Cristobal Island with emphasis to Pitt Point

Researcher: Judith Denkinger

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Understanding the biology of fish species of commercial interest in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, their reproductive aspects, spawning areas, geochemical aspects and heavy metal contamination within the food chain

Researchers: Laia Muñoz, Carlos A. Valle, Steven Emslie, Jaime Ocampo, Diego Quiroga, Francisco Rubianes, Peter Grewe, María de Lourdes Torres

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Detailed delimitation of the nesting area of ​​the Galápagos petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia) using Geographic Information Systems techniques on San Cristobal Island

Researchers: Leo Zurita, Jonathan Guillén, Marcelo Landivar 

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Status and growth of hermatypic corals at Punta Pitt, San Cristóbal and other sites in the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Researchers: Margarita Brandt, John Bruno

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Characterization of the canchalagua population (Chiton goodalli) and (Chiton sulcatus) on San Cristóbal Island, Galápagos, Ecuador, for the recommendation of non-genetic management measures

Researcher: Margarita Brandt 

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Connectivity patterns of various marine species in Ecuador

Researchers: Margarita Brandt, Jaime Chaves, Juan Manuel Álava, Michael Kingsford

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Spatiotemporal dynamics of the marine ecosystem of the southeast of the Galapagos archipelago

Researcher: Marjorie Riofrío-Lazo, Francisco Arreguín Sánchez, Gunter Reck, Diego Páez Rosas, Manuel J. Zetina, Andrew W. Trites

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Trophic ecology, population dynamics and impact assessment of introduced small mammals in priority conservation areas on San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos

Researchers: Marjorie Riofrío-Lazo, Diego Paez Rosas, Günther Reck, Francisco Arreguín, Manuel Zetina

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Distribution, demography, population size and population connectivity of two species of the family Heterodontidae (Heterondontus quoyi) and (Heterodontus mexicanus) in the Galapagos Islands

Researchers: Maximilian Hirschfeld, Cynthia Awruch, Sean Canfield, Jaime Chaves, Diana Pazmiño, Jenifer Suarez, Juan García, Alex Hearn

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Ecology and conservation of Galapagos land snails

Researcher: Stella de la Torres

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Mapping and modeling invasive species in the Galapagos Islands

Researcher: Steve Walsh

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Spatial foraging behavior and energy expenditure landscapes of the Galapagos penguin and cormorant, and their relationship to climate change

Researcher: Susana Cárdenas

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

Hybridization and introgression in endemic and invasive plants in the Galapagos Islands

Researchers: Todd Vision, Bryan Reatini, Hugo Valdebenito, María de Lourdes Torres

Main Research Area: Biodiversity

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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!