Tuesday 20 May 2014

Galapagos Finches - From Darwin to the 21st Century

Most of us were taught in school that the bedrock of Darwin's book Origin of the Species and his theory of adaptation stemmed from his observation of finches in the Galapagos Islands. While on Galapagos, he collected and categorized finches from every island he visited, mostly as a study of what exists, but not why they exist.

It was only after he returned home to England and began studying his samples that he came to the realization that the birds from each island had developed slightly differently. Specifically, depending upon where they lived and the type of vegetation that was available on their particular island, they had developed unique beak styles that provided the best and most efficient access to their food source.
Tuesday 13 May 2014

The Mysterious Damsel Fish

If you follow my blog you know how much I love to treat my guests to adventures and give them unique memorable moments to remember. This passion of mine isn't limited to the land. I seek out teaching opportunities under water as well. One interesting member of the marine family we examine when snorkeling is the damselfish.

Take a look at this video from my YouTube Channel: Damselfish Providing Security Against Trespass.  

When we come across them on our snorkeling excursions, we put the damselfish's most interesting character trait to the test.
Tuesday 6 May 2014

Galapagos: A Hotbed of Scientific Exploration

One of the behind the scenes aspects of the Galapagos Islands, one that visitors and even natives rarely get to see, is the in-depth and often pivotal scientific research that happens on every island on an ongoing basis. I've written before about the finch research taking place on Daphne. And, I've also written extensively about work done constantly by the Charles Darwin Foundation, particularly with their tortoise breeding programs. The most famous of all is, of course, the effort made with the iconic Lonesome George.

But those are merely the best known of the projects. Research, study and observation are all critical components of our quest for maintaining the pristine quality and the ecological integrity of the islands.  In just the last month, results of two new studies were reported in scientific journals. They provide information critical to our understanding of the Galapagos Islands and, equally important, of how much harder we must continue to work to save and protect the biodiversity and natural order throughout the archipelago.