Chontel Syfox | November 4, 2016
This fall break 14 students spent a week on the Galápagos Islands as part of the Practicum in Field Environmental Biology course. The course aimed to introduce and amplify the principles of evolutionary biology, ecology, and environmental science on the islands and afforded students the opportunity to refine their understanding of the scientific method, especially formulating hypotheses from observations and collecting data to test those hypotheses.
The Galápagos Islands are an archipelago of 19 volcanic islands, many smaller islets, and a marine reserve situated approximately 1,000 km from the South American continent. Famed for its remote location, unique ecosystem, and being the locale that influenced Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, the archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage site, dubbed “a living museum and showcase of evolution.”
Prior to the trip, students attended classes on campus in which they learned background information about the discovery and scientific exploration of the Galápagos Islands, and information pertinent to understanding the unique features of the archipelago as they influenced evolutionary and ecological theory.