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In this clip from Episode 1 of the series, Monty and his family enjoy the Galapagos Science Center’s annual Shark Day, which educates children and the community about sharks, marine biology, and conservation. Then, UNC graduate student Lauren Goodman brings the family along on a research expedition to monitor shark nurseries, teaching them about the drone technology used to find shark communities as well as protocols for measuring and tagging sharks in the Galapagos.

Microplastics and Manta Rays

In Episode 2 of the series, GSC researcher JP Muñoz teaches Tam about the dangers that microplastics pose for wildlife species on the islands. Then JP brings Tam on a week-long expedition to Cabo Marshall, off Isabela Island, where he and Dr. Kathy Townsend investigate how microplastics affect the health of manta rays and other marine life.

Water Sampling for Microplastics

Tam’s marine expedition continues, and the team takes water samples from manta ray environments to test for microplastics.

Flightless Cormorants

In Episode 3, JP Muñoz takes Tam on a research expedition to investigate plastics pollution at flightless cormorant nesting sites. There, JP and Tam observe that cormorant nests are built with both organic material and plastics and human trash. JP collects the nests to determine how much plastic the cormorants are using to build, and how much is too much to sustain healthy nesting, growth, and development for these birds.

In the lab at the GSC

The family spends the day in the labs at the GSC, where they dissect the cormorant nests that JP and Tam found in the field. Dr. Kathy Townsend then discusses how colored microplastics can absorb heat and raise the temperature of sand, endangering sea turtle habitats.