Have you ever heard of the Galapagos Islands? Zoom in and try to find it on this map. Hint: It’s neighbor is the country of Ecuador. Did you find them?! These islands formed as a result of erupting lava that cooled down as lava rock from volcanic activity on the ocean floor. Over time these lava rocks grew and grew into an archipelago, a cluster of islands. There are many endemic species (species native to this area) to the Galapagos, but how did they get to an area that is hundreds of kilometers away from any continent?
Settling on the islands
By playing our bingo game in our lesson, Coincidental Colonization,you’ll experience first-hand how chance plays a big role in the successful dispersal of your species to an area such as the Galapagos. Notice the different ways species could have colonized or settled on these islands. What species will you choose? Maybe the blue footed boobie or the Galapagos tortoise? How will it settle?
Cal Academy’s Expeditions to the Galapagos
Take a look here at one of our scientist’s expedition 800-m deep in a submersible capable of withstanding the enormous pressure so deep into the ocean. John McCosker has made many discoveries, including fish found only in the waters of the Galapagos. Next time you visit us here at the California Academy of Sciences in our Islands of Evolution exhibit, check out the specimens collected during this expedition along with other specimens such as the Galapagos tortoises and Darwin’s famous finches which were collected on previous expeditions.
Galapagos Islands Charlie Zielinski