The Galapagos: Exploring an Isolated Wonderland with Dr. Kelly Swing - Context Travel

The Galapagos: Exploring an Isolated Wonderland with Dr. Kelly Swing


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As one of the most recognized destinations for nature tourism in the world, the Galapagos Islands and their endemic fauna deserve a prominent place on anyone’s travel bucket list. This scientifically-based survey provides perspectives on what makes the archipelago so very special in relation to its enchanting landscapes and unique species.

One of the early Spanish names applied to the Galapagos Island chain was “Las Encantadas”, suggesting that there is something magical about this variable series of volcanic landmasses straddling the equator 1000 km (600 miles) off the westernmost point of the South American continent. Knowing that these islands appeared in this isolated position from the depths of the sea through millions of years of voluminous lava flows confirms that absolutely every life form present today arrived from somewhere else. The expansive separation from ancestors back on the continent has, in a vast number of cases, produced new species.

In 1835, a 26-year-old Charles Darwin, upon arrival in the archipelago, having just spent well over three years exploring the adjacent continent, soon recognized that the species he was observing on the islands were similar but somehow different, leading him eventually to the conclusion that they were derived, through some process of gradual change, from organisms familiar to him back on the mainland into these distinct versions. We will relive the thought processes of Mr. Darwin and discuss where several species came from as well as how they made the treacherous crossing to arrive in their new homes – all in order to understand how he came to develop his famous theory of evolution to explain the high levels of Galapagos endemism as well as many other phenomena he witnessed during his five-year circumnavigation aboard the Beagle.

Led by an expert on the New World tropics, Kelly Swing, this interactive seminar will explore the natural history of Galapagos ecosystems and endemic fauna. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of nature on these isolated islands as well as the urgency to protect this world-class treasure.

Kelly Swing, a North American scientist who is specialized in tropical ecology, has lived permanently in Ecuador since 1991. Before that, his graduate studies for the M.S. and Ph.D. involved extensive research in the wilds of Bolivia and Costa Rica, respectively. He was Founding Director of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station for the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in AmazonianEcuador for 25 years and has taught nearly 200 field courses in various ecosystems of Ecuador over nearly 30 years, mostly for Boston University. Kelly has published widely in scientific journals, books, and magazines. Interviews related to nature and its conservation with Dr. Swing have appeared on NBC, PBS Radio, CNN, CNN en Español, Al-Jazeera, and BBC Radio; he has served as a consultant on many award-winning nature documentaries that have been broadcast by Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, PBS, BBC Nature, etc. His photographs from nature are published in scientific articles, books, magazines, conservation websites, and museum blogs.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
75%
(3)
25%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
J.K.
Really Odd and Interesting Animals and Plants

We have been to the Galapagos years ago but learned more watching and listening to Dr. Kelly than we did in a week's journey. This was a wonderful introduction to a unique and fascinating place.

S
S.G.
Great Travel Guide

If you thinking of planning a trip to the Galapagos, this is the seminar for you. Kelly explained the history of the islands and then discussed the various species and where they can be found. Great information and travel tips. Well organized with wonderful visuals.

P
P.
Good multifaceted introduction to the islands

Dr Swing introduced the islands from several perspectives, discussing the oceanic influences, geology, climate, and fauna of the Galapagos. He used his own excellent photos as illustrations, but I would have liked to have some moving pictures of the fauna eg: the sea iguanas shooting out salt; the baby sea lions waiting for their parents to return with fish; penguins hopping on the rocks, birds nesting, etc.

M
M.K.
Great talk

Excellent discussion by an expert on these islands. I feel inspired, and initially prepared, to travel there.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
75%
(3)
25%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
J.K.
Really Odd and Interesting Animals and Plants

We have been to the Galapagos years ago but learned more watching and listening to Dr. Kelly than we did in a week's journey. This was a wonderful introduction to a unique and fascinating place.

S
S.G.
Great Travel Guide

If you thinking of planning a trip to the Galapagos, this is the seminar for you. Kelly explained the history of the islands and then discussed the various species and where they can be found. Great information and travel tips. Well organized with wonderful visuals.

P
P.
Good multifaceted introduction to the islands

Dr Swing introduced the islands from several perspectives, discussing the oceanic influences, geology, climate, and fauna of the Galapagos. He used his own excellent photos as illustrations, but I would have liked to have some moving pictures of the fauna eg: the sea iguanas shooting out salt; the baby sea lions waiting for their parents to return with fish; penguins hopping on the rocks, birds nesting, etc.

M
M.K.
Great talk

Excellent discussion by an expert on these islands. I feel inspired, and initially prepared, to travel there.