Bio 100 Final Project

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Running head: UNESCO RESEARCH PAPER

Final Project: UNESCO Research Paper

University of Phoenix

BIO/100
Instructor Susan Wolodkowicz
6/27/2010

Final Project: UNESCO Research Paper

One of the most diverse and unique places on Earth is the Galapagos Islands, these islands are home to an array of intriguing and beautiful plant and wildlife. The Galapagos Islands are where Charles Darwin formed his theory evolution and natural selection; this is because there is an collection of evidence that shows that the organisms living on these islands have evolved from prehistoric organisms. Unfortunately human intrusion and non-native animals are seriously affecting the ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands; if something is not done about the problems affecting the islands soon we will lose many species of plants and animals to extinction. Plant life from the Galapagos Islands came from other places. The islands were formed millions of years ago from volcanos under the ocean. Seeds were brought from birds flying over, wind and water. 99% of plant life on the Islands comes from South America. There are many different types of plant life living on the Galapagos Islands. There are 7 different types of vegetation zones on the islands; (a) The Littoral Zone

(b) The Arid Zone
(c) The Transition Zone
(d) The Scalesia Zone
(e) The Brown Zone
(f) The Miconia Zone
(g) The Pampa (Fern) Zone
Plant life is very abundant in the Galapagos Islands, a few of the most common and unique plants of the Galapagos Islands are; mangroves, cacti, tiquilia tree and the scalesia. * Mangroves cover the coastal part of the islands the most common are red mangroves. They have a reddish wood with dark green and pale yellow leaves and yellow flowers. * Cacti are common; the most common is the prickly pear cacti which have yellow flowers that develop into orange-red fruit. These are eaten by Land Iguanas and Tortoises. * Scalesia have yellow flowers and are related to daisys, they have adapted and can live in a very dry habitat. There are 20 different kinds of scalesia that grow in the Galapagos Islands. The Scalesia have significantly decreased in number due the pigs and goats eating them. These animals are not native to the Islands the Scalesia plant could very well disappear if action is not taken to remove non-native animals from the islands. * Tiquilia plant grows in sandy areas and is a woody herb that has dull grey coloring. There is also a great deal of animal life that makes the Galapagos Islands so unique, Charles Darwin spent much time there studying plant and animal life. This is where Darwin studied his finches, some of the famous animal life from the Galapagos Islands are; * Tortoise- These are giant creatures divided into 14 sub-species. Three of the 14 types of tortoises are now extinct, 11 types remain. Tortoises have been put on the endangered species list. They have been killed off by hunters that hunted them for food in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries (National Geographic) and now have to share food supply and save their eggs from species that have been brought to the island and are nonnative’s to the island, these are animals such as pigs, dogs, cats, rats, goats and cattle. * Marines Turtle- these turtles are the only green sea turtle living and nesting on the Galapagos Islands. * Marine Iguanas- These creatures are abundant on the island, there are three different land marine iguana species living on the island. * Land Iguanas- also very abundant love to eat cactus and roam free around the island. * Lava Lizards- 7 different species live on the Galapagos Islands. * Cormorant- A flightless bird species and the only flightless cormorant species in the world. They have evolved into swimmers on the Islands instead of fliers. * Penguins- another flightless bird, they are the only...
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