At Carolina, we have an unparalleled opportunity to ask complicated questions about our ecosystems and the human elements we find there in a ‘living laboratory’ where so much of what we know about the biological origins of life began: the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.
As we learned from Charles Darwin more than a century-and-a-half ago, the Galapagos Islands are the ideal place to study the delicate balance between promoting the health of human populations and conserving the world’s natural treasures. Now buffeted by rising ocean temperatures, extreme weather events, a rise in ocean levels, increasing tourism, burgeoning resident populations and invasive species, these iconic Islands represent both the world’s greatest vulnerability and also its greatest opportunity for study.
These global challenges require an interdisciplinary, problem-solving approach, and UNC-Chapel Hill is uniquely positioned for success as a leader in multidisciplinary research that engages natural, social, spatial and computational sciences. UNC-Chapel Hill has already made significant investments, partnering with the leading university in Ecuador to create the Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island. This is the only institution of its kind in the Galapagos Archipelago and is unlikely to be duplicated by any other research institution.
We are poised to make a dramatic leap forward in our understanding of the Galapagos and how to mitigate the dual challenges of environmental change and human impact on the natural world. Our initiative is at a turning point, just emerging from the start-up phase, and could be quickly scaled-up, given additional investment. Those who join us in this investment have an opportunity to support the kind of discovery that transcends nations and waters, to allow a student to see a new world that opens her/his mind to new questions, to place faculty researchers in the path of transformative knowledge few will have the chance to find, and to collect the kind of social and ecological data scientists and conservationists may use to preserve the precious assets of our natural world.
We invite you to join us on our journey of discovery to not only save the Galapagos, but the world.
To learn more about the Center for Galapagos Studies, visit our website today!
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