Biology Students Visit Galapagos Islands


Associate Professors of Biology Gail Drus and Amanda Martino accompanied students enrolled in the program’s Field Biology course to the Galapagos Islands over Spring Break.

During the nine-day trip, students saw firsthand the differences in ecosystems that they have been studying this semester.

As part of the course, students researched the ecology of the islands and studied unique endemic Galapagos animals. They also learned about the conservation efforts to preserve the islands before the trip.

Biology students Bailey McDougall and Cara Bintrim made the trip and both said they were in awe of the beauty of the islands and their ecosystems.

During the trip, the students learned about the different ecosystems of the region. They also made time for snorkeling, witnessing some of the marine environment in this manner.

Islands that the group visited included Plazas Island, Seymour Island, Palo Santo Island, Bartolome Island and Santa Fe Island.

“Every Island offered a completely different environment,” said Drus. “From the colorful red plants in Plazas Island to the large colonies of birds in Seymour Island to the volcanic environment in Bartolome Island to the sea lions in Santa Fe Island.”

Every island has been separated for so long that evolution has been different on each island, resulting in starkly different ecosystems despite the islands close proximity to one another.

“We were walking where (Charles) Darwin did,” said Drus.

According to Drus, one of the highlights of the trip was seeing almost 200 dolphins migrating through a channel – a sight that is incredibly rare, and for the Saint Francis group, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Another highlight was seeing a Blue-Footed Booby, a bird found only in the Galapagos Islands.

During the trip students kept field notebooks in which they recorded experiments and animal and plant sightings.