Cataloging the Galapagos

Wildlife in the Galapagos.

The Galapagos Science Center (GSC) is a joint initiative between Carolina and Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) that has conducted extraordinary research projects in the Galapagos — but its newest project may top them all.

The GSC plans to run a new project, called Barcode Galapagos, to catalog the archipelago’s famous biodiversity through “genetic fingerprinting,” with funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Fund and the Newton Fund. Barcode Galapagos is the most ambitious citizen science project to document biological life in Galapagos, with all the data generated entirely by local people within the islands. 

This project will not only affect the islands and its community from a scientific standpoint, it will give them the tools to develop socially and economically, as well.

Given the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the Galapagos community, this project will provide training and work to approximately 50 hard-hit key workers in ecotourism, such as naturalist guides, fishermen and farmers who lost their livelihood due to the current health crisis. This will allow these members of the community to conduct vital capacity-building research that will help measure the impacts of the pandemic on biodiversity. 

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