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International Cosmos Prize

The Prizewinner 2002

Name The Charles Darwin Research Station
Establishment January 1964
Location Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz,
The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Reason for Awarding

Charles Darwin Research Station is a biological research center established in 1964 by the international NGO/NPO Charles Darwin Foundation (headquartered in Brussels, Belgium) in the Galapagos Islands, about 1,000 kilometers west of the mainland of Ecuador, right on the equator. The Station has since been conducting diverse activities to protect the natural lives of the Islands.

The Galapagos Islands came to be known worldwide when British biologist Charles Darwin published “Origin of Species”, based on his studies on the Islands in 1835. The Islands continue to draw global attention as the habitat of numerous indigenous species that hint at the evolution of life forms on earth, including elephant tortoises, which gave the Islands their name (“Galapagos” means tortoise in Spanish), and peculiarly-shaped marine iguanas. Their inflow of settlers since the first half of the 20th century has accelerated the disappearance of indigenous organisms and the destruction of ecosystems.

Since its founding, Charles Darwin Research Station has carried out a vast range of activities and made remarkable achievements, from research into land and marine lives and ecology to activities more directly related to the conservation of the Islands' nature, including the protection and propagation of then-endangered elephant tortoises, as well as ecological education for the local public and worldwide information transmission concerning the situation on the Islands.

Charles Darwin Research Station attests to harmonious coexistence with the nature on the volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, while combining scientific research on the evolution of life forms on earth and environmental protection. Its activities have been making a major contribution to enticing people around the world to contemplate the evolution of life on earth. Charles Darwin Research Station and its activities and achievements fully conform to the motive of the International Cosmos Prize, that is, pursuit of the essence of life phenomena, based on respect for life on earth.


1959 Charles Darwin Foundation was created; Galapagos National Park was established.
1964 Charles Darwin Research Station was established in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
1965 Tortoise rearing program was initiated
1971 "Lonesome George", the only known surviving Pinta tortoise, found on Pinta
1976 Land iguana program was initiated
1978 Galapagos National Park was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
2001 World Heritage Site expanded to include the Marine Reserve
2003 The Baseline Study of Marine Reserve was published
2004 Commander of the National Order of Honorato Vasquez

Members who visited Japan

Dr. Fernando Espinoza [Executive Director of CDRS & CDF]

Birth 16 June 1954
Nationality Ecuador
Education Bachelor in Biochemical, Catholic University of Ecuador
Ph.D. in Science, Chemical Institute, Sao Paulo University

Dr. Alan Tye [Department Head of Botany]

Birth 1 August 1953
Nationality U.K.
Education Bachelor in Natural Science, Ph.D. in Bird Behavioral Ecology,
Cambridge University

Dr. Gunter Reck [Professor of Universidad San Francisco de Quito]

Birth 14 April 1946
Nationality German
Education Bachelor in Fisheries Biology/Zoology, Ph.D. in Marine Science,
Institute for Marine Science, University of Kiel
(From the left)
Dr. Espinoza, Dr. Tye, Dr. Reck