The Galápagos Islands are a “living laboratory” for the study of evolution, global environmental change, and the conflicts between nature and society. Free of humans and predators for almost all of its history, these “Enchanted Islands” have developed some of the most unique life forms on the planet, highly adapted to their harsh surroundings and living in ecological isolation from the rest of the world. Today, the Galápagos Islands are in crisis. Beginning in the 1970’s, they began to draw thousands of new residents, attracted by the promise of lucrative opportunities linked to the islands’ rich marine and terrestrial ecosystems and employment opportunities in construction, fisheries, and tourism. As part of Carolina’s response to the many challenges that face the Galápagos Islands, the Galápagos Initiative was created, linking UNC at Chapel Hill and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. In this session, participants will learn more about the history of the islands and the UNC Galápagos Science Center’s research.
2015 Latin America and North Carolina Seminar, Chapel Hill, United States 24-25 March 2015