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There are so many reasons to love the Galapagos. Hear from some of our students and researchers why they love these precious islands and can’t wait to get back to the Galapagos to continue their research and adventures!

“Rameses loves Galapagos because he is learning through the story of Marti the Hammerhead Shark about the dangers scalloped hammerheads face on their epic migrations. Rameses was unaware of the problems our world faces with plastic pollution and other threats facing our oceans globally and he is so thankful to be learning how to better protect marine species! He has also loved meeting the local children in Galapagos as they learn together.”

Rameses, UNC Mascot and recent traveler to Galapagos


“I love Galapagos because, as a biologist, the opportunity to conduct research in the same location Darwin spawned his theories of natural selection is truly humbling. Our aim is to continue Darwin’s legacy of achieving major scientific breakthroughs in our understanding of life on Earth by studying the marine microbiome of the Galapagos Islands and how it is being impacted by climate change.”

Adrian Marchetti, Associate Professor in Marine Sciences and Center for Galapagos Studies Faculty Research Director

“I love working in the Galapagos because it’s an unmatched system to ask questions about evolution on the molecular scale, particularly with my research on antibiotic resistance in the environment. Working in the Galapagos has also made for some memorable field days, from trying to stay upright on slippery lava rocks above the point of sewage discharge to swabbing marine iguanas!”

Alyssa Grube, PhD Candidate, Environmental Sciences & Engineering, UNC Gillings School of Public Health

“My father was born in Ecuador, so I love doing research in the Galapagos because it allows me to reconnect with that culture, give back to my ancestral homeland, and provides an opportunity to improve the train wreck that is my grasp of the Spanish language.”

Will Vizuete, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

“I love Galapagos because whether it means biking up a volcano with our collaborators, or going upside down for a few water samples, the work is always exciting!”

Don Fejfar, UNC undergrad ’21 & Morehead-Cain Scholar

“I feel extremely lucky to be an earth scientist conducting my research in Galapagos, given their unique ecosystems that you cannot find anywhere else on Earth. However, the greatest benefit of working in the Galapagos and being a scientist at UNC is the support that comes from our strategic partnership with Universidad San Francisco de Quito. UNC is the only non-Ecuadorian University in the world with a research facility in the Galapagos Islands. I am very grateful for this strategic partnership and for UNC’s investment in Galapagos.”

Diego Riveros-Iregui, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professor of Geography and CGS Faculty Research Director

“I love the Galapagos because I could conduct research on top of the Galapagos Science Center with a beautiful view of the island. I also love that I could snorkel or scuba every day after class or after a day in the lab!”

Tessa Szalkowski, MS Candidate, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, UNC



“I love Galapagos for the volcano-top bike rides and swimming with rays that can dwarf even my 6’2″ frame.”
Khristopher Nicholas, PhD Candidate, Department of Nutrition and Predoctoral Trainee at Carolina Population Center
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