Galapagos Islands

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Date Submitted: 03/11/2011 03:08 PM

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The Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands located approximately six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. The islands location is key to the diversity of wildlife, and it was here that Charles Darwin visited in 1885, and observed the different types of finches, which led to his theory of evolution. This paper will discuss the diversity in the marine life of the Galapagos Islands, the food source, and which elements that help the marine life, and which elements that have devastating effects on the marine life.

The marine life around the Galapagos Islands is very diverse, and many of these species are indigenous to the area. Along the coasts, marine animals such as fur seals, sea lions, rock crabs, penguins can be found taking in the sun, and in the water the marine turtles and marine iguanas swim along with whales, dolphins, the 12 species of sharks, the six species of rays, and over 460 species of fishes. Of these fish, at least 51 species are endemic, and this includes the Galapagos grouper. The different species of whales are in the baleen family, and include the fin, sperm, pilot, killer, toothed whales, and humpback (UNESCO, 1999-2010). There are more than 650 species of sea shells, 120 crabs, and 200 urchins and sea-stars. The marine iguana is a unique species of iguana, which has evolved to live both on land and in water. The iguanas developed a pair of salt glands that enables them to feed under water. The gland is between the eye and the nostril on each side of the head. Periodically they eject saline and the spray can reach over a foot in distance. As with much of the marine life of the Galapagos, they have adapted to tolerate different extreme temperatures (Muschiol, 2009). The temperature of the water is critical for the survival of the marine life, and it is the reason the diversity exists. The Galapagos penguin is the only tropical penguin in the world, and the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean provide the...