Galapagos Islands

Topics: Galápagos Islands, Charles Darwin, Species Pages: 5 (1449 words) Published: September 4, 2010
Galapagos Islands





Galapagos Islands 2

The Galapagos Islands are located near Ecuador that was born from volcanoes erupting violently out of the sea. Plant and animal species traversed 1000km of ocean to colonize the islands, leaving species isolated and evolving independently on different islands. Observing this had a resounding impact on the formations of Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection and the theory of evolution by natural selection. The Galapagos Islands are a chain of islands that straddle the equator. The islands were first discovered in 1535 and were put on the maps in 1570. The group of islands is made up of 13 main islands and six smaller islands (Galapagos Islands, 2006). In 1978 UNESCO recognized the islands as a World Heritage Site, and in 1985 a Biosphere Reserve. In 2007 the islands were put on the UNESCO World in Danger List. (Wikipedia, 2008). These islands are in threat by the non native plants and animals growing population of humans.

The Galapagos Islands are well known for their various native breeds of animals. These different breeds of animals cannot be found anywhere else in the world. One of the animals that are not found anywhere else is the Marine Iguanas. These are the only sea-going lizards in the world and they will often wear distinctive white wigs of salt which are expelled from glands near their noses. One of the theories as to why these creatures are of unique existence to the Galapagos Islands is that they were originally land lizards that came to the islands on driftwood and then evolved to continue living in the sea. Another theory is that the Marine Iguanas are the last remaining descendants of a species of sea lizards that are now extinct in the rest of the world. Many scuba divers that visit the Galapagos Islands observe the vast array of marine life that is found there. This island also is the home of many diverse endemic plants. The island has its own species of cotton, guava, pepper and passion flower (Galapagos Conservation Trust, 2007).

Humans have intruded the Galapagos Islands and have become a huge threat for the future of the islands. With the increase of humans residing on this island come devastating results. Marine supplies are being acquired faster than they can be replaced and habitations are being corrupted at astonishing rates. The large number of boats in the water brings higher amounts of pollution to the area. There are also going to be the smaller challenges like littering that affects the balance of the water. With the growing population come animals from the outside world that are not native to the islands such as cats, dogs, goats and rats. The affects of these non native animals comes devastation to the life on the islands. These animals eat the vegetation which makes the food limited for the native animals. This could cause for the animals that are native to the islands to become endangered.

There has also been the affects of Mother Nature that has endangered the equilibrium of animal and plant life. There is a rare occurrence every two to seven years call El Nino. This allows warm ocean waters to pool in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean that enclose the Galapagos Islands. The warmer water acts like a lid that averts nutrient rich water from rising. Without it, the marine food chain is blocked off at the bottom, affecting the entire ecosystem (Wikipedia, 2010). There has been a never ending fight between the government and the population on how much they are permitted to fish the waters around the islands. There has been an apprehension that they could fished too much and endangering the large marine life.

The current confrontation is that accessible materials and preservation measures actively in place are not ample enough to take care of the Galapagos Islands from the certain dangers of the future. Preservation programs must be in place with a lasting ability for the future, an acceptable purpose for...
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