The Galápagos: A Natural History

The Galápagos: A Natural History

Henry Nicholls

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0465035973

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Charles Darwin called it “a little world within itself.” Sailors referred to it as “Las Encantadas”— the enchanted islands. Lying in the eastern Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator off the west coast of South America, the Galápagos is the most pristine archipelago to be found anywhere in the tropics. It is so remote, so untouched, that the act of wading ashore can make you feel like you are the first to do so.

Yet the Galápagos is far more than a wild paradise on earth—it is one of the most important sites in the history of science. Home to over 4,000 species native to its shores, around 40 percent of them endemic, the islands have often been called a “laboratory of evolution.” The finches collected on the Galápagos inspired Darwin’s revolutionary theory of natural selection.

In The Galápagos, science writer Henry Nicholls offers a lively natural and human history of the archipelago, charting its course from deserted wilderness to biological testing ground and global ecotourism hot spot. Describing the island chain’s fiery geological origins as well as our species’ long history of interaction with the islands, he draws vivid portraits of the life forms found in the Galápagos, capturing its awe-inspiring landscapes, understated flora, and stunning wildlife. Nicholls also reveals the immense challenges facing the islands, which must continually balance conservation and everencroaching development.

Beautifully weaving together natural history, evolutionary theory, and his own experience on the islands, Nicholls shows that the story of the Galápagos is not merely an isolated concern, but reflects the future of our species’ relationship with nature—and the fate of our planet.

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Most extensive collections, and, most of all, to make a thorough study of the status of the gigantic land tortoises before it proved too late’. In this goal, they succeeded and these collections—as epic as they were—have turned out to be of vital importance to the conservation movement that began to emerge in the 1950s. Without the historical background provided by the collections of the California Academy of Sciences and others, it would have been hard to think sensibly about conservation in.

And sedges (from around 500m above sea level and up). On Santa Cruz, the quinine tree is now thought to occupy more than 110 km2, which corresponds to roughly 10 percent of the island. Are these trees doing any harm to the rare habitats they’ve reached? Recent research suggests they are. The closer to one of these quinine trees, the fewer species there are and the thinner their ground coverage. This is particularly evident at the highest elevations, where the quinine cuts out almost all of the.

Report runs to almost fifty pages and gives a stark sense that things were out of control. Here’s a view of the Galápagos (as the UNESCO assessors saw it) in 2006. In spite of the regulations on domestic migration introduced by the special law, the Galápagos population continued to expand at almost 7 percent a year, making it the fastest-growing province in Ecuador. One in five of these residents was an irregular or illegal migrant without the necessary paperwork. In the 1960s, there had been.

Cayot, Lori Ulrich and Rebecca Fuhrken. Lori Ulrich contacted several members of the Galápagos Conservancy who kindly gave permission to reproduce the most wonderful photographs in the colour section. I’d like to give a special mention to all those at Island Conservation (especially Heath Packard, Karl Campbell, Erin Hagen, Brad Keitt and Nick Holmes) for helping me research a feature on rat eradication I wrote for Helen Pearson at Nature (some of which I’ve worked into this book). Thank you to.

The outer layer in contact with the air can form a skin whilst the molten rock continues to run inside. When the flow ceases, it leaves a long and cavernous tube. In the Santa Cruz highlands, there are several farms where it’s possible to walk the length of such lava tubes. One of them runs directly beneath the road between Puerto Ayora and Bellavista. Weathering Whilst volcanic activity and faulting can cause nearly instantaneous alterations of the Galápagos landscape, the lapping of waves,.

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