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Inglis joins Science Committee on fact-finding trip to Ecuador

June 12, 2008

Inglis joins Science Committee on fact-finding trip to Ecuador

Delegation studying basic and applied research, climate change, El Nino weather patterns at Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Led by U.S. Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) will join a delegation of House Science Committee members on a fact-finding trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands to study the effect of climate change on El Nino weather patterns, marine wildlife, and fisheries.

Ranking Member on the House Science Energy & Environment Subcommittee, Inglis has joined previous Science Committee delegations to study and review climate change data at National Science Foundation (NSF) facilities in Greenland and Antarctica.

“In addition to learning more about the significant research being done, I welcome the opportunity to oversee the expenditures we’re authorizing from the Science Committee,” Inglis said.

Currently, United States scientists, funded through NSF, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), are conducting research at the Galapagos Islands.  The Galapagos Islands are unique places that scientists believe will experience early and extreme impacts of climate change. For this reason, there is great interest in monitoring the climatic shifts–especially increases in frequency, intensity, and duration of El Niño events.

While in the Galapagos, Inglis will be meeting with Dr. Julian Sachs, a National Science Foundation funded climate change researcher.  Dr. Sachs is currently conducting sediment coring on the Floreana Island in order to better understand El Niño events which impact the Islands every two to seven years. During El Niño years the environmental changes that take place are similar to the changes projected to occur in a warmer future. Rainfall patterns, local climate, ocean temperature, ocean currents, nutrient availability, and ocean productivity are all altered for the duration of the event.

At the research Station, Inglis will have the opportunity to talk with scientists who research and provide technical assistance and information focusing on the conservation of the Galapagos. These efforts, while specific to the area, hold value for a wide range of applied and basic sciences. Their isolation, small size and high diversity make them an excellent living laboratory for the study of climate change, invasive species and invasive species management, impacts of tourism on park and wilderness area management, and fisheries and marine reserve management.

Inglis also anticipates visiting the Santa Cruz Island to observe work being done to understand the impacts of invasive species on the native species to the Galapagos Islands. The research station works in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park Service, the U.S., and other international partners, to develop community education programs, eradication programs, quarantine and inspection, programs, and inventories of invasive species.  Some of the same species that are problems for the Galapagos are also problematic here in the United States, and the information gleaned from Galapagos research can benefit domestic agricultural, conservation, and scientific efforts.

Management of fisheries and marine resources conservation is another significant scientific endeavor at the research station in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park Service. As Ranking Member of the Science Subcommittee of Energy and Environment, which is responsible for funding research affecting national ocean and domestic resources, Inglis will discuss the approach Galapagos scientists, fishermen, and local businesses have taken to develop sound management plans for these resources. The results of the international cooperative research conducted on the islands can help to better manage the natural resources found in the United States.

What: Fact-finding House Science Committee trip to the Galapagos Islands

When: June 12-17

Where: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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