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Steve Walsh headshot

Founding Emeritus Director, Center for Galapagos Studies, UNC-CH
Emeritus Founding Co- Director, Galapagos Science Center, San Cristobal Island, Ecuador
Lyle V. Jones Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Geography, UNC-CH
Research Professor, Geography, UNC-CH
GSC Advisory Board, Member

Dr. Walsh is the Founding Director of the Galapagos Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  in association with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito; Dedicated (May 2011) the Galapagos Science Center, San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador – a facility for research, education, and community outreach and engagement programs in the Galapagos Islands; Galapagos Science Center is approximately 20,000 square feet in size, maintains a staff of 15 professionals, and contains a Microbiology & Genetics Lab, Terrestrial Ecology Lab, Marine Ecology Lab, and Spatial Analysis & Modeling Lab, in addition to faculty, staff, and student offices, conference room, community classroom, and equipment storage and outside terrace space for field experiments and teaching opportunities.

Through an extensive and intensive program of integrated and interdisciplinary research, the primary goals of the Galapagos Initiative are to understand the complex nature of population-environment interactions, challenges related to resource conservation and economic development, global interconnections, science, education, and knowledge transfer programs that benefit UNC-Chapel Hill, our collaborators, and the global community, inform policy and management through investigative and integrative science, develop, and translate research technologies to industry and government, and develop insights and understandings to address the cross-cutting challenges that face science, society, and the Galapagos Islands. In addition, the Galapagos Initiative has created a global template for the study of other conflicted and challenged places around the globe located in and around protected areas and in the many diverse environments in which social and ecological sustainability is at risk.

Founder of the International Islands Network-of-Networks (I2N2), designed to create a network-of-networks focused on global island ecosystems and the threats to sustainability, is being developed to catalyze linkages among existing and nascent networks to integrate researchers across disciplines, institutions, and nations to examine the risk to global oceanic islands from social-ecological-biophysical stressors and climate change on island sustainability

Invited Project Scientist, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute for Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) (2012-2013); Distinguished Teaching Award for Post- Baccalaureate Instruction, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2008); Awarded Honors for Lifetime Achievement, Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (2007); Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006); Edward J. Taaffe Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Geography, Ohio State University (2004); Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, University of Iowa (2002); Elected President (2003-2005), Vice-President (2000-2002), and Secretary (1992-1994), Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers; Awarded National Research Honors for Distinguished Scholarship, Association of American Geographers (2001); Awarded Research Honors, Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (1999); Awarded Outstanding Contributions Award and Medal from the Remote Sensing Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (1997); Named the Amos H. Hawley Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1993-96); Served as Director, Spatial Analysis Unit, Carolina Population Center (1992-97), and faculty advisor to the Spatial Analysis Unit (2000-present); Elected Chair of the Geographic Information Systems (1998-2000) and Remote Sensing (1994-1996) Specialty Groups of the Association of American Geographers.

Served on the Editorial Boards of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, GeoCarto International, Plant Ecology, Journal of Geography, The Professional Geographer & Southeastern Geographer; Served on the Dissertation Improvement Panel for the Geography and Regional Science Division of the National Science Foundation (1997-1999); Member of Review Panels, National Institutes of Health (2001, 2005); Member, Committee of Visitors, National Science Foundation (2003).

Launched a Book Series on the Galapagos Islands, with Springer Nature, Series Editors (S.J. Walsh & C.F. Mena); Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands (2012):

  1. Science and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands: Frameworks & Perspectives (2013), Stephen J. Walsh & Carlos F. Mena, Guest Editors
  2. Evolution from the Galapagos: Two Centuries after Darwin (2013), Gabriel Trueba & Carlos Montufar, Guest Editors
  3. The Galapagos Marine Reserve: A Dynamic Social-Ecological System (2014), Judith Denkinger & Luis Vinueza, Guest Editors
  4. Darwin, Darwinism and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands (2017), Diego Quiroga & Anna Sevilla, Guest Editors
  5. Sustainable Energy Mix in Fragile Environments – Frameworks and Perspectives (2018), Mary E. Tyler, Guest Editor
  6. Disease Ecology: Galapagos Birds & their Parasites (2018), Patricia G. Parker, Guest Editor
  7. Understanding Invasive Species in the Galapagos Islands: From the Molecular to the Landscape (2018), Maria de Lourdes Torres & Carlos F. Mena, Guest Editor
  8. Urban Galapagos – Transition to Sustainability in Complex Adaptive Systems (2019), Thomas Kvan & Justyna Karakiewicz, Guest Editors
  9. Land Cover/Land Use Change on Islands: Threats to Sustainability (2020), Stephen J. Walsh, Diego Riveros-Iregui, Javier Arce-Nazario, Philip H. Page, Guest Editors
  10. Water, Food, and Human Health in the Galapagos, Ecuador (2022), Amanda L. Thompson, Valeria Ochoa-Herrera, Enrique Teran, Guest Editors
  11. Island Ecosystems: Challenges to Sustainability (2023), Stephen J. Walsh, Carlos F. Mena, Jill R. Stewart, Juan Pablo Munoz Perez, Guest Editors

Research Projects