The best of the Galapagos

This week, the New York Times travel section started a series on sustainable traveling. The inaugural column, headlined “Can Darwin’s Lab Survive Success,” is probably the quintessential case for illustrating the pros and cons of eco-tourism.

A couple summers ago, I spent a month camping in the Galapagos Islands, working as both a journalist reporting on the island’s problems with invasive species (partly due to the booming tourism industry), and as a research assistant for a National Geographic-funded study on the archipelago’s famous giant tortoises. The Yale lab that I was working with have been doing some truly amazing stuff on these animals–for instance, finding a long-lost relative of Lonesome George, the rarest species in the world (population of 1).

The story I ended up writing for Science Magazine about invasive species can be found here. And below are two galleries of exclusive photos from our fieldwork on Santa Cruz, as well as some fun little side-trips to Isabela (where I horse-backed to its biggest volcano) and around Santa Cruz.