Through research, we provide timely information in order to help protect, manage and maintain the unique ecosystems and conservation of Galapagos.

Decades ago, the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, through the Charles Darwin Scientific Station, has developed research to provide scientific evidence and to support decision making in the Galapagos Islands. At the beginning, the science was developed by mainly paying attention to the natural systems of this Archipelago. Later, the priorities and urgencies of knowledge determined that the research format in Galapagos needed to be adjusted, into a more inclusive approach. It was highlighted that the human dimensions needed to be addressed, in order to better understand and identify alternatives to deal with the challenges to the conservation and sustainability in Galapagos.

Since the Cooperation Agreement with the Ecuadorian State was renewed in 2016, a change was introduced at conceiving and developing our scientific endeavors. Then, a conceptual, methodological, and shifting of principles took place, and a reformulation in our research objectives and priorities was promoted. It was thus the starting point, at re-setting the research initiatives at CDRS towards a more holistic and integrative approach. Then, we identified the urgency to give the social systems the same treatment and the same interest, as research objectives, as those given to the natural systems. After that reflection, the research initiatives, it was planned, will integrate, as much as possible, a component integrating the role human beings play in the conservation and desired sustainability for Galapagos Islands.


From now onwards, the science that CDRS will perform, will face many critical aspects. The human population increase in the Archipelago, the steady increase in tourists, the demand for goods and services by the local inhabitants, the increasing usage of resources, among others, are arguments to claim that a wider and more solid research agenda is needed at the CDRS. It becomes explicit that, it is necessary to open doors that have remained closed, and to look out of the disciplinary borders. Only through diverse and integrative perspectives will it be possible to better understand the problems and adapt to the changes we all face.

Our Active Research Projects in Galapagos

Currently, we manage over 24 projects and they are led by a committed team of scientists and supported by resourceful administrative staff.

Many fieldwork conditions are extreme and include intense heat, tricky boat maneuvering, or treks through thorny blackberry thickets. Our incredible team at the Charles Darwin Research Station is passionate about the work it does and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure Galapagos is preserved for future generations.

Conservation of Threatened Populations of Small Land Birds

There are 28 small endemic landbirds in the Galapagos Islands, including the iconic Darwin finches (17 species) and charismatic mockingbirds (4 species). In spite of extensive studies on the evolution of Darwin’s finches and other birds, surprisingly little is known about how many birds are found on each island and whether populations are healthy.

Recent studies indicate that some bird populations are undergoing severe declines, in particular on the inhabited islands. Studies are underway to understand what is the cause of this decline. The reasons are multiple and include nestling mortality caused by the invasive parasitic fly Philornis downsi (the most serious threat), reduced food availability caused by habitat degradation, predation by invasive species (e.g. rats and cats and the Smooth-billed Ani), and introduced diseases.

To reverse these declines as quickly as possible, the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) formed the Landbird Conservation Program in 2014. This program counts on the help of Galapagos residents, visitors, and researchers from around the world and is investigating multiple options simultaneously for the protection of these iconic bird species.


The mission of the Charles Darwin Foundation and its Research Station is to tackle the greatest threats and challenges to Galapagos through scientific research and conservation action, in order to safeguard one of the world’s most important natural treasures.

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Av. Charles Darwin s/n, Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador
(593) 5 2526-146 / 2527-013 Ext 101
Quito Office
Francisco Andrade Marín
E6-122 y Av. Eloy Alfaro
+593 (2) 2 231 174

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association internationale sans but lucratif (AISBL), has its registered office at 54 Avenue Louise, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

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