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Charles Darwin spent only five weeks in the Galapagos, but the visit contributed immensely to his thinking about natural selection, the theory that literally rocked the world. The Tropical Conservation Semester just returned from three weeks of our own in this incredible archipelago of Ecuador, and we’ve come up with our own theory: the Galapagos are an awesome site to learn about ecology, conservation, and of course, evolution!
In April the semester program embarked (nautical puns!) on the marine biology course, combining studies of rocky and sandy shores, and oceanic plankton, on the mainland coast, with underwater teaching and research anchored (again!) in the Galapagos. We spent a week aboard two lovely yachts, touring the southern and western islands, snorkeling every day, and learning about the incredible and unique fauna, both above and below the waves.
Students completed their marine studies with two weeks on San Cristobal island where they carried out observational research on seabirds, sea lions, and near-shore fishes. As the Galapagos are also a world-famous marine reserve, the program took the opportunity to discuss the challenges facing these islands, many of which affect oceans worldwide: plastic trash, overfishing, and seaside development, to name a few. On the positive side, the residents of Galapagos certainly are aware of the enormous ecotourism value of the islands, and are just as engaged in their protection as are scientists and conservationists from outside.
Every year the Ceiba Foundation has a few spots available on the Galapagos cruise, and we invite you to join us! In 2018 we will be under sail (actually, propeller) for the last week of March. We love to invite colleagues, friends, parents of past students, and just about anyone with a desire to experience these unbelievable islands with a group of enthusiastic, curious, and delightful students. Get in touch with us if you’re interested. All aboard!