The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands - The Galapagos Islands are located...

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The Galapagos Islands 1 The Galapagos Islands Introduction to Life Science SCI/230 May 3, 2009
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The Galapagos Islands 2 The Galapagos Islands Introduction The Galapagos Islands are located near the South American coast. These islands are part of Ecuador, located on the equator, and are 600 miles from the Ecuadorian coastline. The Galapagos Islands were formed by hot spots in the mantel, by the constantly moving plates known as the Nazca and Cocas plates (Galapagos Conservation Trust, 2008). Galapagos Conservation Trust (2008) stated, “There are 13 large islands, 6 smaller ones, and 107 islets and rocks.” These islands are where Charles Darwin studied various different types of animal and plant life. The Galapagos Islands has a large diversity of animal life and plant life that can be found on the islands, and they are well known for this fact. Animal Life There are various species of animals, which can be found living on the islands of Galapagos. One unique species found living in this location is a species of penguin, which lives in the warm tropical waters of the islands. Other species of birds, which can only be found living in the Galapagos Islands, are four different mockingbird species, hawks, rails, flycatchers, finches, and doves. A species of iguana, which is a marine reptile that feeds on seaweed. There are other reptiles found on the islands, which include lava lizards, land iguanas, snakes, and geckos. Also found on the islands is the Giant Tortoise that has been found to have evolved into fourteen forms, which are distinct (Galapagos Conservation Trust, 2008). Sea birds that can only be found in the area of the Galapagos Islands are gulls, the flightless cormorant, the waved albatross, masked, red-footed, and blue-footed boobies, and frigate birds. Around the coasts of the islands one can find fur seals and sea lions, whales, sea turtles, and dolphins. In the waters, surrounding the islands there have been 300 different species
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The Galapagos Islands 3 of fish, which have been described (Galapagos Conservation Trust, 2008). Galapagos Conservation Trust (2008) stated, “There are also at least 1,600 species of insects, 80 spiders, 300 beetles, 150 mites, 80 land snails, 650 seashells and other mollusks, 200 starfishes and urchins, 120 crabs, and many other smaller animals.” Over the years, the finches, which live on the islands of Galapagos, have evolved several times due to their beaks. The beaks of the finches have become harder and larger to enable them to open some larger nuts. In 1977, the islands experienced a severe drought. This drought wilted the vegetation on the islands, leaving not many soft seeds, but a greater amount of harder seeds (Grant, 1986). Grant (1986) stated, “The birds that survived the 1977 drought tended to be larger, with bigger beaks.” The ability to bear offspring, which could eat the tougher, larger seeds allowed these birds to survive. This is a good example of the evolutionary process described by
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2010 for the course N/A SCI/230 taught by Professor N/a during the Summer '09 term at University of Phoenix.

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The Galapagos Islands - The Galapagos Islands are located...

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