The Galapagos Science Center, in collaboration with the Galapagos National Park, have hosted for 3 consecutive years a round of science and conservation seminars named Galapagos Summer Seminar Series. The main objectives of the seminars have been to:

• Examine key elements of the social, terrestrial, and marine subsystems of the Galapagos Islands and their linked and integrative effects

• Describe data measurement and analysis approaches across the social, natural, spatial, and computation sciences

• Identify knowledge gaps to scientific understanding and island sustainability

• Engage scientists and managers from institutions including to share ideas and project needs, goals, designs, analyses, and expected outcomes with the broader Galapagos community

• Open to the public to share information about planned or on-going research, education, and community engagement projects on San Cristobal Island and throughout the Galapagos Islands The seminars have had a wide range of topics, which are included in the list below:

“Water Quality in the Galapagos Islands” – Jill Stewart (UNC)

“Supporting Local Food Systems: New Geographies of Conservation and Production in Galapagos” – Elizabeth Havice & Gabriela Valdivia (UNC), Wendy Wolford (Cornell University).

“Sea Turtles of San Cristobal Island” – Judith Denkinger (USFQ)

“Mapping & Modeling Human-Environment Interactions in the Galapagos Islands” –

Steve Walsh (UNC) & Carlos Mena (USFQ)

“Participatory Remote Sensing of Invasion in the Galapagos Island Highlands” – Laura Brewington (UNC)

“Tourism in the Galapagos Islands” – Ron Rindfuss (UNC) & Diego Quiroga (USFQ)

“Ecological Status of the Galapagos Sea Lions: Current Research and Future Prospects” – Diego Paez (Galapagos National Park)

“Impacts of Land Use Change on Ecosystem Structure and Dynamics” – Stella de la Torre (USFQ)

“Learning What’s New: Linking Invasive Species Management to Environmental Education in the Galapagos Islands” – Paolo Bocci (UNC)

“Escenarios Futuros en Galápagos: Turismo, Consumo y Estabilidad Ecológica” – Carlos Mena (USFQ)

“Relación entre disponibilidad de hábitat y estructura de la producción pesquera costera” Joel Fodrie (UNC)

“Un estudio interdisciplinario de la calidad de agua en las Islas Galápagos” – Shannon Steel, Katie Overbey & Bill Gerhard (UNC)

“Manejo integrado de ecosistemas costeros” – Luis Vinueza (USFQ)

“Efectos en la salud por la mala calidad de agua y sobre-nutrición entre las madres y niños que viven en San Cristóbal” – Kelly Houck (UNC) y Gyssell Zapata (USFQ)

“Plan de Manejo de Lobo Marino” – Carlos Ortega y Maryuri Yépez (GNP)

“Estudio preliminar de la diversidad genética de la guayaba en San Cristóbal” – Maria de Lourdes Torres (USFQ)

“Avances en investigación acuática de tortugas marinas en Galápagos: Demografía, salud, uso de hábitat y distribución” – Juan Pablo Muñoz (USFQ)

“Plastics and Me: How to Consume Disposable Plastic with Responsibility and Take Care of the Galapagos” – (Ashleigh Klingman, Consejo de Gobierno); a Forum

Organized by the Interagency Commission for Galapagos Disposable Plastics in Celebration of International Environment Day

“Impacts of Climate Change on Marine Systems in Galapagos” – Luis Vinueza (USFQ)

“Exploring the Relationship of Infections and Municipal Water Quality on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos” – Kelly Houck, Jill Stewart & Peggy Bentley (UNC)

“Role of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the Surveillance Sciences” – Joe Eyerman

(Research Triangle Institute – International, North Carolina)

“Feeding Habits of Introduced Black Rats in Nesting Colonies of Galapagos Petrel on

San Cristobal Island, Galapagos” – Marjorie Riofrío-Lazo and Diego Páez-Rosas (USFQ)

“The Oceans are full of our Plastic, Galapagos is not an Exception – Juan Pablo Muñoz and Daniela Alarcón (USFQ)

“Marine Microbes in the Face of Ocean Acidification and El Nino Events” – Nataly Guevara, (University of Bremen)

The GSC has hosted two separate Science Fairs in San Cristóbal. The fairs were organized by the Ministry of Education and hosted by the Galapagos Science Center, its goal was to promote science in schools as well as engaging students in conservation and sustainability practices. The GSC also rewarded the winners by taking them to field research activities along the archipelago, which for the students was a unique experience to get involved in scientific projects.

Working together with Casa de la Cultura de Galapagos (Culture Organization of Galapagos) and the Galapagos National Park, the Galapagos Science Center actively participated for three consecutive years with more than 30 grade school children. The GSC hosted 2 different groups for three years, giving them the opportunity to work on laboratories and perform easy experiments that will awaken their scientific cuorisity.

The objective of this project is to establish a long-term Water Quality Monitoring Program on the island of San Cristobal, Galapagos. The quality of 18 water samples is currently been analyzed based on physical-chemical and microbiological parameters at the Water Quality Laboratory built for this purpose at Galapagos Science Center (GSC).

This Program will encourage and strengthen the participation of academics from the Galapagos Science Center, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill), the community and local institutions.

The establishment of this Participatory Program represents a tangible contribution to the

long-term sustainability of water resources in San Cristobal.

An action plan of participation of community and local institutions would be generated to assure the long-term sustainability of the project. Finally, the water quality information generated could be employed by decision makers to improve management practices of water resources in order to protect the unique environment of the Galápagos Islands and the wellbeing of the population.

One of the main goals of the

With this purpose, the Galapagos Science Center has awarded nine students so far with a grant to cover their research in

All the thesis and projects aim towards a better understanding of the relations between the environment and population. Clean energy mechanisms, and extension of information on marine and terrestrial species, were some of the topics that the students developed.

Once in Galapagos and during their fieldwork phase, the students were able to use the modern laboratories and equipment at the GSC, but most importantly, they were able to see first-hand the consequences of their actions in nature.

The GSC, to meet its objective of contributing to the conservation of the Galapagos Islands, provides the financial and logistical support to conduct Master Thesis in Applied Ecology of the San Francisco University of Quito. During 2015, three thesis projects were carried out.

Thanks to the collaboration between USFQ and UNC, several students have benefited and enriched their academic experience participating in a 6-week program aimed at developing research skills. The students have the option of choosing a research project of their liking conducted at the GSC by USFQ professors as well as creating opportunities for continuing further research at UNC.

The students are paired with local students to heighten the collaboration with the community of San Cristobal, while learning each other´s culture. This program has been active since 2013, and each year an increasing number of professors and researchers have joined the program to give students more opportunities to learn through active participation, and preparing them for the future. Some of the projects the projects that the students have involved in are:

Sea Turtles Catalog Sea turtles are among the most endangered marine species because of the by-catch and warming oceans. In the Galápagos Islands there are four species of sea turtles, of which the green turtle and hawksbill turtles are commonly seen in bays like Carola and Loberia near USFQ-GAIAS. In 2008, a program began for the conservation of sea turtles in the island. Through photo-identification and observations in the water, so far 200 turtles were identified because of individual patterns of facial scales and markings on the carapace. Students´ fieldwork was conducted in water at the two sites (Loberia and Carola), in which direct observation of the sea was made. Students observed and record the number of turtles and their location, and took pictures of the shell and the two sides of the face. Students maintained the photo-identification catalog of turtles by entering the information and photos, and analyzing population parameters, residency, and habitat use.