Quito and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador | Webster University

Quito and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Spring Break 2019 - Evolution Lab ( BIOL 3600)

Program Description 
"Nothing in biology makes sense, except in light of evolution" ~Theodosius Dobzhansky. During this program, students take a journey to the land that inspired Darwin's Theory of Evolution: The Galápagos Islands.  Students will learn first-hand how evolution drives patterns of biodiversity through this semester-long course punctuated with a spring break trip to the Galápagos Islands. Before the trip, students will develop their knowledge of key evolutionary theories and design an observational research study. While in the Galápagos, field trips will provide invaluable experiences with the organisms and patterns described by those theories. During these outings, students will evaluate evidence of natural selection, macroevolution, and sexual selection while snorkeling with sea lions and marine turtles, observing Darwin's finches and Galápagos tortoises, and hiking to cliffs with marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies. Students will explore conservation issues by comparing the biology of two islands and visiting a sustainable farm. Finally, students will collect data for their research projects, and upon return to the main campus, they will analyze those data and present their results to their peers and the broader community.

Students navigating the rocky terrain of Quito

Program Highlights

  • Learn evolution by exploring the biology of the iconic Galápagos Islands. 
  •  Conduct an observational field study exploring an evolutionary topic using local plants and/or animals.
  • Compare the marine and terrestrial biology of two islands: San Cristóbal and Española.

Course Dates: January 14 - May 10, 2019
Travel Dates: March 8 - March 16, 2019

BIOL 3600: Evolution Lab - 3 credits hour

Professor: Nicole Miller Struttman
This course provides a general assessment of the different disciplines in the evolutionary field and helps students develop an understanding of the principles used by evolutionary biologists to create new knowledge. In this course, we will develop skills in hypothesis-driven science and will become familiar with basic experimental design and statistical tests used in evolutionary biology. This course examines mechanisms of evolution, the development of evolutionary theory, explores mechanisms of speciation, and studies various data that contribute to the current understanding of biological evolution that yields the present-day diversity of life. Students perform an investigation on an evolutionary topic of choice and present a critical analysis of the findings.

Prerequisites: Essentials of Biology (BIOL 1550)

Program Flyer
Evolution Lab (BIO 3600)

Students who attended this program during Spring Break 2018 completed an observational research study. Upon returning from Ecuador, they created a scientific magazine called Scientific Gorlok, which provides a summary of the research conducted as well as highlights from their time in the Galapagos Islands. 

Program Cost
Application Deposit: $165 (due at the time of application)
Study Abroad Fee: $175 (covers international insurance & ISIC card)
Program Fee: $3,065
What's Included: Tuition (2 credit hours)* On-site required co-curricular activities. Round-trip airfare from Quito the Galapagos, most meals and double accommodation
What's Not Included: Application deposit, some meals, round-trip airfare from the US to Ecuador, personal spending money and study abroad fee.

Tentative Program Itinerary TBA

Students may be eligible for Webster study abroad scholarships.  Please reference the Study Abroad website for more information.

Spring Break scholarship deadline- November 15th

Application Process  
Application Deadline:  November 15th, 2019

To apply, follow these steps:
1) Ensure you meet the study abroad eligibility requirements
2) Start an application via the Webster online application system
3) The application will ask you to fill out a number of forms, pay the study abroad fee, write a brief statement of purpose, and submit a passport sized photos. 

*The $165 application deposit is refundable to if ALL of the following conditions are met: 1) Student attends the program 
2) Student completes the pre and post-study abroad surveys 3) Student does not have any outstanding program charges.

Information Session-Ecuador and the Galapagos Programs
Biology of Animals and Evolution Lab, Spring Break 2019
Date: Tuesday, November 6th 
Time: 12pm
Location: Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB), Room 140 

Seals basking in the Ecuadorian sun