Why UGalapagos?

The UGalapagosBio program, offered by the Biology Department, focuses on unique environments:  the Amazon Tropical Forest, the Andes, and particularly the Galapagos islands.  In the Galapagos, the flora, fauna and people are emblematic of biological and social processes that act universally, but are most evident in this harsh environment that has molded living beings.  The people are subject to third-world pressures and politics and the demands of an environment that has limited resources, most of which need to be imported.  Students live with families, both in Quito and in the Galapagos.  The islands’ severe natural selection pressures have produced emblematic species that are both intriguing and accessible.  On the islands, the reptiles and birds ignore humans:  You can stand as close as six feet away from them and watch as they live their lives, feeding, mating, raising their young.  You can easily discriminate and study ecosystems, from a mangrove fringe to a low arid zone of desert-like plants, an intermediate zone of arid forests and at higher elevations humid zones of tropical grasslands and forests.  This accessibility enhances learning, so that lectures merge directly into field work and back to analysis, assessment and writing.  The Galapagos is an open laboratory for critical thinking.

The Biology department offers a full term of UGalapagos courses that are taught sequentially and focus on terrestrial ecosystems.  It is hosted by  The University of San Francisco Quito, Galapagos Extension which has campuses in Quito and on the Galapagos Island of San Cristobal.  The classes, while demanding, leave students time for socializing, surfing and snorkeling with seals, marine iguanas, diving birds and penguins.