Today, conservation research must go beyond biology to include the interaction and interdependence between natural processes and human development. The Directorate of the Galapagos National Park is the institution responsible for regulating research in the natural protected areas, and establishes the criteria for this..
Science for Galapagos
The sciences in the Galapagos live a paradox. On the one hand, there is a growing consertion among planners, academics and Glag-stalepeople social actors that we need new knowledge about the society, history and ecosystems of the archipelago if we are to support the construction of a sustainable society. On the other hand, and at the same time, we must recognize that we have an important body of research and information gathered over several centuries, to the point that the Galapagos Islands are perhaps the most studied region of Ecuador.
Since the creation of PNG as a protected area in 1959, research in the Galapagos has a myriad of achievements for conservation, since only through scientific knowledge can criteria be defined for the sustainable use of the goods and services of the natural capital of the Galapagos, and at the same time styal the conservation of biodiversity.
Despite this, research carried out in the archipelago has clearly been skewed certain aspects of the biophysical sciences and certain species and taxonomic groups in particular, very few applied-type and to address the links between nature, society and the economy.
Thus, in the field of the nature sciences, work focused on taxonomy and biogeography, evolutionary evolution and conservation biology have clearly dominated with a clear bias towards higher organisms my others than other species such as the fungi or the traljos received have a comparatively sparse attention.
In the case of the social sciences, on the other hand, works of geography and history predominate, although very notable works on fishing in magazines.
This approach has allowed us to have a thorough and very valuable knowledge today about certain aspects (e.g. biology and ecology of emblematic species, management of exotic species), while other social or ecological processes essential to the sustainability remain virtually unexplored (e.g. water cycle, nutrient cycles, functional diversity, housing, etc.).
The Galapagos National Park Directorate Research Program
With a new research model for the Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park Directorate aims to promote and coordinate a scientific policy that helps to respond efficiently to the challenges demanded by the changes that have occurred in the archipelago during the last decade, which make urgent the need to diversify the knowledge required for good decision-making.
Given the complexity of the natural systems and the socio-economic and cultural plots involved in solving the problems of conservation of the natural capital of the Galapagos, it is necessary that the management of the archipelago is firmly grounded in the scientific knowledge about island and marine ecosystems, and especially on the relationships established between them and the human systems that exploit them and technological innovation.
The Galapagos National Park Directorate establishes three priority levels for the selection and implementation of scientific and technological research projects in protected areas:
1. Applied research, i.e. aimed at solving conservation and sustainable development problems.
2. Basic Research, the development of which can only be carried out in the insular or marine ecosystems of the Galapagos, without another alternative archipelago, and have a minimal impact on species or the natural system.
3. The Research of Excellence, one that, although able to be carried out in another archipelago, by the high prestige of its principal investigator or the research team, serve to make known to Galapagos internationally as a laboratory of quality for the progress of global decline.
In addition, interdisciplinary projects are promoted for both the studies of natural systems as well as socioeconomic and between the nature and socio-technological sciences through the analysis of socio-ecosystems.
Priority areas of research
The prioritization of research areas and lines is based on three fundamental criteria:
New questions arising from analyzing the current problems of the Galapagos from a systemic and integrative view, particularly those focused on knowledge of the links and interactions between the social subsystem and the natural subsystem.
Aspects that, although they have already been partially studied, for their critical role in the functioning and dynamics of the archipelago, need to be known in greater detail or monitored in the long term.
Areas in which there are large information gaps that are essential to understand the structure and functioning of the social subsystems and the natural subsystem.
Combining these criteria, priority lines of research are defined, grouped around three main objectives:
OBJECTIVE I: To improve our knowledge of the structure, functioning and dynamics of The Gal-Slag society
Although social research is recent in the Galapagos, the knowledge and information we have about Galapagueña society and its dynamics is not insignificant: it is an important set of useful knowledge and hypotheses. However, there are a large number of important information gaps, both in the dynamics of cultural values and beliefs, as well as in institutional, political and economic issues, crucial aspects to being able to understand the structure and the functioning of the Gal-Slain society.
OBJECTIVE II: To improve our knowledge of the structure and functioning of The Natural Systems of the Galapagos
Biological and ecological studies in the Galapagos are abundant and constitute a valuable collection of sustainability-oriented policy-making. However, it is notorious that biological studies on charismatic or threatened species or groups have received much greater attention than studies on the physical environment (water, soils, currents) and that systemic studies that analyse ecological relationships between the different components and their role in the functioning of ecosystems.
OBJECTIVE III: To advance knowledge of links and interactions between the natural system and the social system in the Galapagos
Much of the applied research done in the Galapagos has focused on analyzing the impact of human activities on the natural system, as well as studying the links of social problems with management practices and the threats that weigh about ecosystems. However, the lack of interdisciplinary approaches combining knowledge of the social and biophysical sciences, simultaneously examining the dynamics and reciprocal interactions between social systems and the natural system, is notorious.
Requirements for Research in Galapagos
Any researcher or research group that wishes to conduct a scientific investigation in the National Park or Galapagos Marine Reserve must submit the research proposal in the following steps:
- The proposal must be submitted in the format specified in the Manual for Visiting Scientists of the GNP (also see below on this page), at least six months before the estimated date for starting work.
- The proposal will be submitted with a letter addressed to the Director of the DGNP, which requests a review of the proposal and issue of the research permit. These two documents can be emailed to the following addresses:
- If your project is approved, the Director of the GNP will grant a research permit, which will be valid up to one year. The decision will be based on the criteria of scientific advisers of the GNP, and GNP technical staff.
- Since July 29, 2008, by Ministerial Agreement published in Official Register No. 391, the GNP charges for right to research, which has a cost of $1000.00 (one-thousand dollars). This value may be canceled in the Collections Office of the GNP, or by deposit at Banco Pacifico into the DGNP account No. 352765-4.
- If you want to do research for more than one year, you may apply for a permit extension, for which a report should be submitted with the results obtained to date, and an updated proposal with a the letter to the Director of the GNP in requesting an extension of the permit.
- For projects being developed on board of a public or private scientific vessel, the researcher whose project has been authorized must adhere to the provisions of the Special Regulations for Tourism in Protected Natural Areas (RETANP) and the Administrative Statutes of the Galapagos National Park.Before submitting your proposal please analyze the provisions on Access to Genetic Resources in Decisions 391, 414 and 415 of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and make sure it is complying with all requirements.If your project is approved, a research permit will be granted by the Director of the GNP, which will be valid up to a maximum of one year. The decision will be based on the criteria of scientific advisers of the GNP, and GNP technical staff.Since July 29, 2008, by Ministerial Agreement published in Official Register No. 391, the GNP charges for right to research, which has a cost of $1000.00 (one-thousand dollars) and export of scientific samples, at a cost $100.00 (one hundred dollars per export).Your proposal should have at least the following:
General Information Project title: Include the complete title of your project Author(s): Include names of principal investigator and any additional participants. Please indicate the academic title of each. Funding source: Clearly indicate names of financial institutions that are financing your project. Address: Indicate the complete and current address of the principal investigator, including email. Conceptual framework: Relate your project here with ecological theory, the theoretical field of research in which it is part of. Write it in a very concrete sentence. Rational and background: They are the justifications and explanations (preliminary observations, literature or assumptions) that suggest realizing the project. Objectives: Describe the general and specific objective (s) for the investigation. Question(s): Summarize what will be of the investigation (in question form). Remember that all research should be developed in order to answer question(s) raised for the project. Hypothesis: The tentative explanation of the phenomenon of research. Expected results: Summarize what results you expect to obtain and which will necessarily indicate the utility for future management of the ecosystem, or object or species studied. Methodology and Design Design: How to answer your questions? What experimental design used. Be explicit. Methodology(s): Include detailed information about the methods to be implemented (including number of animals to be handled, number of samples to collect, etc.), places, organisms, proposed dates for the study both in the field and laboratory (if any) and analysis and writing of the results.Remember that a high percentage of approval of your project depends on the clarity and accuracy in describing its methodology both in the field or laboratory. Sample size: Determine the sample size for your project. Quantity collected: Include accurate and detailed information about any attempt to collect, its purpose adequately justified, presentation and/or future storage in Galapagos, all the samples and their constituent material are part of the genetic heritage of the Ecuadorian State.Remember that only those collections that are of vital importance to the survival of the species will be accepted. Special distribution: Describe in which islands and places specifically, you wish to develop your research. Temporal distribution: At what times or seasons do you need to do your research? How often do need to take your samples? Also, remember that you must include the total duration of the project, i.e. how long it will take to get the final results of your investigation. Remember, you will need to renew your license annually. Report in Spanish: Remember that the official language of Ecuador is Spanish, in order that your proposal can become a resource document for Ecuadorian students.It is imperative and mandatory that if your proposal is not in Spanish, with a very good and detailed summary in this language, your proposal will not be processed.. Bibliography Include details of all citations in your proposal. Signature of responsibility: For your document to be valid and processed, it must be accompanied by a letter of interest signed by you and the director of its research center, or in its absence, have the signature(s) at the end of the document.
Additionally, you must attach a copy of the curriculum vitae of all personnel involved, including a list of their publications.
Projects on course during 2009
The projects detailed below are those that have been approved for execution during the year 2009 in the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve.
We also have information regarding the projects made in the years 2008 and 2007.
|Socio-environmental investigation for the viable development and the conservation of Galapagos – Diego Quiroga||Sociology-Conservation|
|Balancing Conservation and Eco-tourism – Conservation assessment of the Galapagos Islands – Carlos Medina||Ecoturism|
|Diving Ontogeny of the Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) and competition with the Galapagos Fur Seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) – Fritz Trillmich||Ecology|
|Demography and Structure of sea lion colonies –|
|Ontogeny, regulation, and ecology of the immunity of the Galapago Sea Lion – Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse||Ecology|
|Impact of the native and introduced ectoparasites in Darwin’s finches – Sarah Huber and Dale Clayton||Ecology|
|Trophic ecology of the pinnipeds of the Galapagos Islands: Regional and temporal analysis – Diego Páez Rosas||Ecology-Marine Biology|
|Study of the Galapagos Hawk – Patricia Parker||Sociology-Conservation|
|Monitoring terrestrial and marine-coastal visitor sites on the islands of San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz and Isabela – Gunter Reck||Sociology-Conservation|
|Study of aviary immunology and diseases: census of immunological parameters and infections in the birds of Santa Cruz, Isabela, Santa Fe and Santiago Islands – Martin Wikelski||Ecology-Evolution|
|Ecology of the population of Darwin´s Finches on Daphne Island – Peter y Rosemary Grant||Ecology-Evolution|
|Study of the flexibility in the behavior of Darwin´s Finches, and the importance of the use of tools for the Woodpecker Finch –|
|A contribution to the study of the evolutionary, biogeographical and systematic ecology of the terrestrial arthropods of the Galapagos Archipelago (Ecuador) with emphasis on spiders and Carabid coleopters – León Baert||Evolutionary Ecology -Taxonomy|
|Ecology of the movement of the Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus) – Martin Wikelski||Ecology-Ornithology|
|Genetic bases for the development of Darwin’s Finches beaks – Arkhat Abzhanov||Evolution|
|Study of the biodiversity of galapagos fish and “anfihalino” crustaceans – Philippe Béarez y Philippe Keith||Taxonomic|
|Hydro-oceanographic and environmental characterization of the Coastal Margin – Santiago Coral||Oceanography|
|Deep coring project at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean – Timothy Herbert||Oceonagrafía-Climatología|
|Study of inbreeding and susceptibility to diseases in Galapagos mockingbirds – Lucas Keller||Ornithology- Evolution|
|Program for the monitoring of marine birds in Galapagos –|
|Dynamics of the transmission of the avian smallpox virus in the Galapagos Islands/History of the colonization and selective pressure of pathogens in two species of flycatchers in Galapagos/Host-parasite dynamics in the communities of seabirds of Galapagos – Patricia Parker||Ornithology-Ecology|
|Human colonization and environmental changes in the Galapagos Islands, Remote Islands of the East Pacific Ocean – Simon Heberle y Cynthia Froy||Paleoecology|
|Patterns of the Striped Marlins movement in the Galapagos Reserve – Michael L. Domeier||Fishing|
|Taxonomy and Phylogenetics within the Phoenicopteriforms –|
Michael Wink y Adelhaid Studer Thiersch
|Increas the continuous GPS network that moniotrs the Sierra Negra Volcano – William Chadwick||Vulcanology|
Avoiding the introduction of invasive species
The constant demand for information and the urgent need for increased research in the management of the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve make it necessary to establish a Field Protocol, thus contributing to the conservation and restoration of the integrity and biodiversity of the archipelago.
Increase in research and management activities in Galapagos raises the possibility of impact on its ecosystems.
This calls for rules of behavior in the field to minimize impact on the area visited.
Therefore, all person, natural or legal, who conduct management and research activities in the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve, should use the protocols presented here.
The Human influence
The populated centers of Galapagos bear the constant human influence that causes, among other problems, the introduction of exotic species that have endangered the biodiversity of the islands.
From these towns transport and shipping operations are conducted to other islands of the archipelago and thus become the main vehicles for dispersal of introduced species between the inhabited islands and from there towards the uninhabited ones.
At the same time, there is more traffic and activity between the islands, which increases the risk of spreading introduced species, the endemic and native.
Some aggressive introduced species have already invaded the uninhabited islands, for example, its been proven that many invasive introduced species have been brought accidentally to uninhabited islands, as is the case of fire ants, aggressive insects accidentally introduced to Marchena.
Eliminating these organisms takes years of effort, financial and technological resources. All the people going from one island to another, or between areas of the same island are a risk for spreading pests, weeds and diseases potentially harmful. This can occur in several ways, including:
- seeds of weed stuck to your clothes, in the mud or soil adhering to shoes,
- through the intestine,
- ants accidentally transported in suitcases and other equipment or collected by the landing gear of helicopters.
The perspective of the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park
In Galapagos, as with the rest of the archipelagos in the world, the introduction of exotic species – especially of invasive species, which generate major changes in the structure and functioning of their ecosystems – is undoubtedly, the greatest factor pressure that threatens the biological integrity of ecosystems, especially inland.
For this reason, the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park, through its Management Plan considers the problem of controlling invasive species highly complex; scientifically, technically and above all socially.
Knowing this, it is recognized that complete eradication of the more than 1,100 species of exotic plants and animals recorded in the archipelago is currently impossible. However, to address the problem, the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park sets total control as its course of action.
On the one hand, the aim is to stop the introduction of new invasive species and, secondly, to try to eradicate or minimize the effect of those that make a greater impact on ecosystems and biodiversity.
Total control seeks to maintain the geographic isolation of the species native to the archipelago. In that context this protocol is a tool to prevent the spread of introduced species, native and endemic among the different islands and even within different areas of an island.
Seven Protocols in one document
The Directorate of the Galapagos National Park , through the document entitled “PROTOCOLS FOR FIELD TRIPS AND CAMPING IN THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS” offers the following protocols:
- Protocol for management and research activities in the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve, overnight on land
- Protocol for management and research activities in the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve, overnight on board a vessel
- Protocol for management and research activities in the Galapagos Marine Reserve
- Protocol for short-term field trips in the Galapagos National Park’s inhabited islands
- Protocol for the transport of living organisms within and between the Galapagos Islands
- Protocol for handling and transport of scientific specimens within the Galapagos Islands
- Protocol for the transport of scientific specimens to the Galapagos Islands
- Taking anything from the islands, except for photographs is not permitted. For its unique nature, plants, animals and rocks must remain in their place so there is no alteration.
- Each island in the archipelago is unique for its flora, fauna and landscapes. Any introduction of foreign organisms like animals, seeds, plants and insects cause serious problems. The collaboration of visitors is very important to prevent this from happening.
- Galapagos animals should not be touched or petted for their safety and because they can quickly lose their tameness and change their behavior.
- The endemic and native fauna of Galapagos has its natural way of feeding; therefore they should not be given any food for the damages it may cause.
- The life cycles of seabirds (courtship, reproduction, nesting, breeding) cannot be disturbed. The birds will leave their nests if you disturb or follow them. This may cause their eggs or chicks to fall to the ground and be exposed to inclement weather. Seabirds should be observed at a distance not less than two meters.
- During visits to the islands, bringing pets or other animals alien to the archipelago is prohibited, except to perform management services. Introduced animals cause serious impacts to the flora and fauna endemic to Galapagos.
- To keep the islands in the most optimal possible natural state, bringing any living organism from the mainland and their transfer between islands is prohibited. These living organisms referred to are; plants, seeds, insects, pests and diseases, all dangerous to the fragile island ecosystem.
- No fishing is allowed on board vessels registered exclusively for tourism activities.
- Do not throw garbage at visiting sites, in the sea or in the vicinity of the islands. Waste of any kind interferes with natural processes and subtract the charm of the islands unique landscape. Animal species are also affected by this action: the sea lions take cans that are disposed of on the sea floor and play with them hurting their noses. Such as plastic that may be consumed by marine turtles and placing them at risk of death from an intestinal blockage.
- You can’t write names and phrases of any kind on rocks, walls, trees or other. This practice of bad manners and rudeness also damages the landscape. Remember, your immortality is not more important than the unique nature of the islands.
- It is not permissible to light fires or smoke within the areas of the park. A fire can start with a match or a cigarette not completely put out. Through negligence in the years 1985 and 1994, Isabela Island suffered great fires.
- If you want to camp in authorized tourist sites, you must apply for a permit from the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park.
- Professional filming requires special authorizations from the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park.
In the camp
- Remember that visitor behavior must be correct to avoid incidents with other people, whether tourists or guides, aboard ships or ashore.
- Every visitor, regardless of the reason for their presence in the islands, must set an example of responsibility and good behavior. This implies a commitment not to participate in activities outside those taking place in the archipelago. Monitoring activities and work in the presence of guides or tourists in the areas designated as visitor sites, should not be carried out.
- Swimming is only allowed in areas designated for that purpose.
- If necessary, you should present yourself to every naturalist guide who arrives to visit the place to explain the work being done and offer to share information with tourists.
Aboard the ship
- The person responsible for the trip must ensure compliance with established travel plans and that there are security measures on board the vessel and of the materials and equipment in their charge. If at the time of sailing, the boat does not meet the minimum conditions for safety and health, the trip must be canceled immediately.
- The person responsible for the trip shall present himself to the captain and must ensure all through the way that the captain and his crew respect DGNP Protocols.
- For travel on a tourist boat, you must be careful not to interfere with normal activities of the crew and tourists.
- If you are offered food, it can be accepted, if and when, it is as permitted under the Protocol for field activities in the National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve.
IS STRICTLY PHOHIBITED
- Interfering with the natural selection process. This means that natural predation of hatchlings emerging from native and endemic animals are a normal occurrence.
- Cigarette smoking, alcohol or any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance in the research sites.
- Fishing or collecting animals for food, let alone to take as souvenirs or to keep them in camps as ornaments or pets. This provision only allow for an exception that relates to management actions.
- Consumption of food on the beach at any time neither inside the tents. Use the kitchen area of the camp for that.
- Bringing speakers, televisions and/or guitars to the study sites. Only headphones can be used with audio players (iPod, Discman etc.).
- Walking around naked or wearing inappropriate clothing in authorized areas to carry out research activities.
Consequences of non-compliance
All these general provisions, and others listed in “Protocols for field trips and camping in the Galapagos Islands, downloadable from this page are mandatory for research and management in protected natural areas of the Galapagos.
The staff of the Technical Department of the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park reserves the right to make unannounced visits to the camps to monitor the application of these rules.
Non-compliance will result in immediate suspension of your trip and/or work schedule and could also lead to the cancellation or denial of permission for future work. In this respect there are clear provisions in the Law of the Special Regime for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Province of Galapagos (LOREG) and its Regulations and the Law of Forestry and Conservation of Natural Areas and Wildlife, provisions set out below:
According to the LOREG
According to the provisions of Article 69 of the LOREG, those who destroy or impair the protected areas, drop litter or debris in the bays, beaches or shores, discharge waste water or objects that seriously deteriorate the ecosystem or remove aggregate or stone materials from protected areas without respective authorization shall be punished with imprisonment from one month to one year, a fine of ten to one thousand x the minimum wage and confiscation of the products, as applicable and provided that no such sanction has been applied by administrative authority.
According to the Regulations of the LOREG
The document states in paragraph 8 of Article 102, which constitutes an adminis-trative infringement, activities that cause the destruction of natural resources, unless they are offenses under the law. The penalty in this case is a fine of ten to one hundred x the minimum living wage.
According to the Law of Forestry and Conservation of Natural Areas and Wildlife
The law in reference, in Article 75, prohibits contamination of the natural environment; land, water or air, and attempts against wildlife – land, water or air, existing in the management entity.
Finally, in Article 89 of said treatment law sanctions a fine of one to ten x the minimum living wage to any person who violates one or any of the prohibitions contained in Article 75 of this legal document.
Any person or institution that needs to transport scientific samples or equipment for analysis or study outside the Galapagos Islands must meet the following requirements:
- Apply for the appropriate authorization in advance with a minimum of three working days before the date set for the transfer.
- The request should be directed to the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park, and will be delivered to the Archive and Receiving office of the GNP in Santa Cruz.
It will indicate whether the samples collected were under a previously authorized investigation or samples collected within a development project, such as with state institutions.
- The letter should contain the following information necessary to issue the permit: means of transport or persons taking the samples, nationality, institution responsible for the project, place (laboratory, university, etc.) where the samples will be analyzed, persons responsible for the project and date in which samples will be transported.
- Since July 29, 2008, by Ministerial Agreement published in the Official Register No. 391, the GNP charges for permits to transport samples (exports).If these are obtained as part of a research project, the export permit has a cost of $100.00 (one hundred U.S. dollars).If samples are taken within a development project carried out by institutions or individuals, the value is $5 (five dollars).These payments may be made at the collections office (Process of Financial Management) of the DGNP, or by deposit at Banco del Pacifico into the DGNP account No. 352765-4.
- The permit is valid for one month, if for some reason the license expires before being used, a new permit may be requested, in a letter to the Director of the GNP.
- Once you have obtained permission to export, the samples will be reviewed and stamped by the staff of the Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development of the GNP.