Our Community

At GSC we feel privileged to form part of the San Cristobal Island Community and seek to contribute to a sustainable development and increased awareness of the local community on several levels.

© Archipiélago Films

© Archipiélago Films

© Archipiélago Films

© Archipiélago Films

Strong Institutional Partnerships

© Ashleigh Klingman

© Ashleigh Klingman

GSC´s closest ally is the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) with whom our researchers and students develop most of their research projects.  For five consecutive years now, GSC has teamed up with the GNPD Ecosystems to organize an annual research expedition around the islands to monitor populations of endemic creatures and survey potential anthropological hazards, such as plastics and the effects of climate change.

Read more about the Annual Research Expedition in the section below. Read more about GSC’s role in the interinstitucional plastics commission by clicking the link below.

In addition to the natural sciences, GSC has a growing body of researchers intrigued with the social sciences and what knowledge related to health, land use, agriculture and lifelong education can be shared among island communities.

GSC continues to explore how our research can most benefit the regional Oskar Jandl Hospital, Galapagos Governing Council, San Cristobal Municipality and Galapagos K-12 District of Education.

Read more about the Health Families Project in our News tab

Golden Rays, Tuneles, Isabela Island, Miguel Vences, PhD, 2019

Annual Research Expeditions

In October 2014, the Galapagos Science Center (GSC),working collaboratively with the Galapagos National Park (DPNG), implemented an annual marine monitoring program to assess oceanographic conditions and the ecological status of endemic species throughout the archipelago. These research expeditions were conducted on-board the DPNG’s oceanographic control and vigilance vessels. The objective of this collaboration is to monitor the effects of social-ecological and environmental impacts on marine conditions, such as, climate change, El Nino event, and invasive species, on Galapagos’ most emblematic plants and animals.

Over the last few years, the research expeditions included data collections on oceanographic conditions, sea lions, birds and marine iguanas, snakes, finches, endemic plants and plastic pollution. Scientists present some of their results at GSC´s Annual Symposium held at the Community Convention Center. Knowing more about the effects of climate change will help the DPNG directors adapt their Protected Areas Management Plan to better conserve Galapagos’ unique flora and fauna for future generations.

Participating researchers come from GSC, USFQ, UNC and DPNG. Three of the participating projects are:

  • Adrian Marchetti, UNC Professor of Marine Sciences, and his team of oceanographers collect temperature and light intensity data, as well as chlorophyll and plankton samples, to measure the primary production of the Galapagos Marine Reserve´s trophic web.
  • Diego Páez-Rosas, USFQ Professor of Marine Sciences, and his team analyze sea lion and fur seal demographics to assess how population dynamics relate to ecological conditions, using trophic markers as behavior monitors.
  • Gonzalo Rivas, USFQ Professor of Life and Environmental Sciences, and his team monitor endemic plants and animals through drone technologies to achieve a more precise calculation of their populations and conservation status.
  • Juan Pablo-Muñoz, GSC researcher, and his team conduct a thematic study using new technologies to determine the marine pollution levels and its impact on biodiversity. It is specifically looking for the presence of microplastics in the marine environment.

With GSC’s support, the DPNG has collected five years of data on Galapagos’ emblematic species. This is just one of the many ways that GSC supports research and conservation in the Galapagos´ protected areas.

An interdisciplinary and international research team working together for conservation in the Galapagos ©Juan Pablo Muñoz

The team of scientists uses the latest technologies to monitor emblematic species from on board the DPNG´s Sierra Negra control and vigilance vessel. ©Juan Pablo Muñoz

Community Outreach

Annual Research and Conservation​ Symposium

Four years ago, GNPD San Cristobal Technical Office representative Maryuri Yepez, and GSC´s former Science Coordinator, Juan Pablo Muñoz, co-created our annual symposium as a space for our local, national and international researchers to come together to share science with one another and the local community.

 In 2019 GSC and the GNPD hosted more than 45 diverse researchers, including professors from Australia and a local high school student from Isabela Island. More than 300 people participated with over 65 questions answered.

A researcher presents in the Annual Symposium.

© Archipiélago Films

Group photo of researchers and participants.

© Archipiélago Films

GSC Co-Directors and GNPD Local Office Director

address the public at the 4th Annual Symposium.

© Archipiélago Films

GSC Co-Director and UNC Professor Steve Walsh presents in the annual symposiums about his internationally-recognized research about island communities

© GSC Photo Bank

GSC Board Member and UNC Professor Amanda Thompson presents in the annual symposiums about her international comparative human health research.

© GSC Photo Bank

GSC Board Member and UNC Professor Adrian Marchetti presents in the annual symposiums about his research obtained in part from the GSC-DPNG annual research expeditions.

© GSC Photo Bank

Weekly Radio Shows and Colloquiums

GSC is actively building a Communication and Education Department to expand the ways we share science, through education and community outreach. Our main mediums of communication are our social media (Facebook and Instagram), weekly colloquium, radio show and regular events.

Weekly radio show

© Ashleigh Klingman

GSC hosts a weekly 30 minute radio show through Radio Encantada 101.9 FM with coverage of the three main inhabited islands: San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela. The program is structured along the three pillars; the first section informs about GSC inter-disciplinary research, the second section shares news and information related to education through science, and the third section communicates the results from community outreach activities. The goal is to communicate science in a format that is more attractive to the local community members who prefer radio to written publications.

You can listen to our podcasts of each show on the News page of this website.

Weekly colloquium

© Archipiélago Films

GSC hosts a weekly colloquium every Thursday evening thanks to the generous participation of our researchers and community partners. Participants range from local University students, Galapagos National Park certified naturalist guides, community members, visiting faculty and international students. The goal is to communicate science in a forum context in which citizens can ask questions and make suggestions based on their empirical and specific knowledge.

You can watch review summaries of the presentations on our News page of this website

Connecting with Nature Outreach Program

In 2019 GSC began the “Connecting with Nature Program” to more effectively communicate the research that GSC does to the general public; this year the focus is on sharing the advances of shark research in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean.

The program follows an engagement pathway of four levels:

1. Aware: Younger community members can become aware through reading a magical realism story about the migration path of “Marti, the Hammerhead Shark.”

Teacher Jackline Mayorga and her students read the “Marti the Hammerhead Shark” book and created recycled collages to share the message with their families and San Cristobal community.”

© Archipiélago Films

2. Active: These young community members and others can learn specific steps they can take to protect sharks and advocate for them through monthly Family Science Hours the first Saturday of every month on the Playa Mann with a local GSC researcher.

GSC Researcher Yasuni Chiriboga shares her research on baby shark nurseries with the San Cristobal community.

© Archipiélago Films

3. Empowered: The USFQ Galapagos Campus students can participate in shark and other active research projects with our staff and researchers through the GSC Join Science! program.

Read more in the “Our Educators” tab in the GSC Education Programs section

USFQ-Galapagos Extension students accompany GSC researchers in the field and the lab to hone their skills as the future Galapagos scientists.

© Ashleigh Klingman

4. Committed: Adult community members can become Shark Heros by using GSC citizen science applications to help track shark and other megafauna marine life to help scientists to continue to learn more about these magnificent creatures.

From left- Leidy Apolo, Alex Hearn, Maria José Aguirre and sons, Lucia Salinas, Isis Lara, Kevin Cabrera, Vilma Camacho and Ashleigh Klingman pose after the Shark Heros of 2019 are announced.

© Archipiélago Films

GSC thanks GCT for their support of this program.

Annual Activities for Local Children

In addition, GSC proudly hosts the annual Shark Day and Summer Day Camp activities. Both of these activities now form part of the “Connecting with Nature Program.”

Thanks to our partners