Following Darwin’s Path: Researchers Recreate 1830s Expedition

Scientists Recreate Historic 1830s Expedition in Darwin’s Footsteps

PUERTO AYORA, Ecuador — Last year, a group of scientists and environmentalists embarked on a journey to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, following in the footsteps of English naturalist Charles Darwin’s historic 1831 expedition.

Upon their arrival, they discovered significant differences in the islands compared to Darwin’s time in 1835. The Galapagos is now a protected area, part of a marine reserve, and classified as a World Heritage Site. However, the region faces various threats such as pollution, illegal fishing, and climate change.

One notable participant in the expedition was botanist Sarah Darwin, the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin. She emphasized the importance of current conservation efforts on the islands, carrying a copy of her ancestor’s work “On the Origin of Species.”

The expedition on the “Oosterschelde,” a century-old refurbished schooner, started last August and traveled through several countries before reaching the Galapagos Islands. The journey aimed to raise awareness about environmental issues and conduct scientific research.

During their time in the Galapagos, the team worked with local researchers to address invasive species and protect endemic wildlife. A study by the Charles Darwin Foundation revealed that giant turtles in the area were ingesting harmful materials, with nearly 90% of the waste consumed being plastic.

After departing from the Galapagos, the Oosterschelde continued its global tour, with stops planned in Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. The expedition serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by fragile ecosystems like the Galapagos Islands.

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