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The Galapagos Science Center is our research facility on San Cristobal Island and is the only university science facility of its kind in the archipelago.

Aerial picture of the Galapagos Science Center, located in front of Playa Mann.

The Galapagos Science Center (GSC) represents a unique facility and a special opportunity to make the world a better place by enriching our understanding of coupled human-natural systems in a world-renowned National Park, Marine Reserve, and World Heritage Site. The GSC was created as a joint effort between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and our partner, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) in Ecuador, and has become a model of international cooperation in higher education. Based on core values of trust, equality, and mutual respect, the GSC provides the infrastructure to integrate research, education, and outreach through a seamless transition between the classroom, field, and laboratory.

Our two universities constructed this facility to advance our shared goal of promoting science and education that will help protect these fragile island ecosystems and enhance the lives of their inhabitants. The goal is to then extend these learnings and promote a better understanding of ecologically sensitive and protected areas worldwide as we seek to understand complex interactions between population, health, and environment in these remarkable islands.


The 20,000 sq. ft. GSC facility houses four laboratories, each with a dedicated research focus: terrestrial ecology, marine ecology & oceanography, geospatial technologies (remote sensing & geographic information systems), and microbiology. The GSC building also has office space for visiting physical, social, and health scientists, as well as a multi-purpose space for community outreach and education events.

The site of the Galapagos Science Center is adjacent to USFQ Galapagos Extension on Playa Mann, San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador (map).  The GSC facility is being used by UNC and USFQ faculty and students conducting research in the Galapagos Archipelago, as well as by UNC students in study abroad science programs hosted next door at the USFQ extension.