Issue 11
Monday, 04 July 2016
Charles Darwin University
Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks and visiting Charles Darwin Scholars Peter and Rosemary Grant
Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks and visiting Charles Darwin Scholars Peter and Rosemary Grant

Galapagos partnership renewed

By Leanne Miles

An agreement building on five years of mutually beneficial research and partnerships in education and training between the Northern Territory and the Galapagos Islands has been renewed.

The Memorandum of Understanding for International Cooperation was signed by Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks and Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) for the Galapagos Islands Executive Director Dr Arturo Izurieta.

Professor Maddocks said the MoU signing for another five years would allow for continued collaboration in research, education and training between CDU and the CDF.

“CDF is a research entity in the Galapagos whose mission is to secure the conservation of biodiversity of the Galapagos Archipelago through research and other means,” Professor Maddocks said.

“We have mutual interests related to research and capacity building for conservation management and livelihood improvement for remote communities.”

He said that during the first five-year agreement a team from Darwin including the Lord Mayor, visited the Galapagos Islands and participated in a workshop on scenario development. And in 2013 Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods Professor Stephen Garnett and Northern Institute researcher Kerstin Zander visited the archipelago to work with CDF on its tourism database at the behest of the World Wildlife Fund.

In 2013 CDU also hosted an exhibition of Galapagos photographs by photographer Fernando Espinosa Chauvin in the NT Library to celebrate the ties between CDU and the CDF, which was attended by the Ambassador of Ecuador to Australia, his Excellency Mr Raul Gangotena.

This link has also lead to Veronica Toral-Granda, who has more than 20 years of involvement with CDF and conservation on the Galapagos, starting a PhD with CDU entitled “Human mobility and the arrival and dispersal of alien species on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador”.

The MoU re-signing event also marked the end of Emeritus Professors Peter and Rosemary Grant’s three-week stay at Casuarina campus as the 2016 Charles Darwin Scholars and the re-launch of the Charles Darwin, Evolution and Tropical Australia MOOC.

“It seemed appropriate given Peter and Rosemary’s very long association with the Galapagos, through their more than 40 years of research on Darwin’s Finches, to renew this agreement while they are here,” Professor Maddocks said.