About the project


The project’s goal is to catalogue the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands by training and employing local people, who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, in genetic barcode techniques.


The project began as a response to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the Islands, employing people linked to tourism who had lost their income and who are active stakeholders in conservation in the National Park.

Instead of sending highly specialised researchers to the Islands in the middle of a pandemic, the project promoted “Citizen Science” through the development of a new working model that included the training and employment of locals who, prior to the pandemic, worked in essential sectors of the Archipelago’s economy, such as:ecotourism, fishing and agriculture.

The first few months focused on training people in key field, laboratory and curatorial techniques to work on the project and enhance their future job opportunities.

San Cristóbal Laboratory Training


What do we do?

We develop sustainable links between conservation science, ecotourism and community resilience through the application of a new working model that includes training and employing local people.

How do we do it?

The project has three aims: (1)using non-invasive genetic barcoding techniques to catalogue and protect the biodiversity of the islands; (2) building local capacity in field, laboratory and curatorial techniques to open up new job opportunities for the local community; and (3) quantifying the impact of the project on the well-being of individuals and society.

Why are we doing it?

We want to build a more equitable, sustainable and resilient future for Galapagos by improving our knowledge of the Islands’ biodiversity and promoting the participation of the local community.

The project seeks to generate a global bioinformatics database with genetic information on Galapagos species, which will help scientists to:

  • Confirm the number of existing species in the Galapagos Islands and help measure the health of Galapagos ecosystems.
  • Identify new species.
  • Provide important information to combat illegal trafficking of species and controlinvasive species.

Project participants

Initially, 74 people were hired to take on this ambitious project.

Since its launch, the project has become a diverse community that focusses on learning about the biodiversity of Galapagos and scientific knowledge, engaging local people with the conservation of the islands and their community.

Despite the remoteness of the Islands, technology has allowed us to integrate a team of 84 people who worked from cities in six different locations: Isabela, Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, Quito, California and England.

After the pandemic, four more citizen scientists were hired for laboratory analysis work.