Participation of MarBiol at the UGent delegation 2019, Ecuador
During the visit of the UGent delegation to Ecuador (1-6 October 2019), Rector Rik Van de Walle signed a cooperation agreement with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) on the Galapagos Islands. This agreement allows more opportunities for future cooperation, exchange of students and staff and local support to conduct field sampling and obtain the necessary permits. Amongst other UGent researchers active in the Galapagos Archipelago, Marleen De Troch collaborates with Rafael Bermudez (ESPOL, Guayaquil) to conduct biodiversity research on marine invertebrates at the basis of the food web. In the frame of a large ocean acidification monitoring programme they conduct joint field sampling and training of local students and UGent students in the frame of their masterthesis. The collected material will be analysed for their fatty acid profile with the Lipidomics facilities (part of the EMBRC infrastructure) of the Marine Biology research group. Galapagos is a unique environment with high biodiversity and endemicity that serves as a natural lab to study the impact of environmental changes on the functioning of marine ecosystems.