Scientists carry out a census of emblematic species in the Galapagos Islands

In the last 16 days, a group of scientists from the Galapagos National Park (PNG) and the San Francisco de Quito University (USFQ) carried out a census of emblematic species of this Ecuadorian archipelago, considered one of the best preserved on the planet.

The research cruise, aboard the ship "black saw" of the PNG, visited 14 of the 19 islands that are part of the insular complex and monitored thirty sites of biological importance to obtain relevant information and analyze the population status of the emblematic species of this paradisiacal region.

The specialists carried out a census of marine iguanas with a record of 35,933 individuals, of which the health of seventy that presented "good results"The PNG reported in a statement on Tuesday.

Likewise, the expedition monitored 27 sea turtles in a grouping area, among which 17 juveniles and 10 adults were found on the Isabela Islands (the westernmost) and its neighbor Fernandina.

They have also observed 9,000 sea lions, of which 6,000 of the species "Zalophus wollebaeki" and 3,000 "Arctocephalus galapagoensis"the latter known as "fine-haired or two-haired wolf".

"In this process, the highest percentage of newborn sea lions was recorded on the San Cristóbal and Floreana islands, while the largest number of fur seal pups were sighted on the Fernandina and Isabela islands."specified the PNG report.

He added that when all the studies are completed, an estimated total of the total population of wolves in the archipelago can be obtained.

Additionally, the scientists conducted a "oceanographic sampling" in 30 stations within the Marine Reserve of the archipelago to be able to relate the environmental variables with the biological and population parameters of the emblematic marine species of the region.

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Samples were taken at four depths where primary productivity and sea temperature data were collected. In this last parameter, the scientists found that the surface waters were 2 degrees colder than in previous years, with an average of between 20 and 21 degrees Celsius.

"This annual collection of ecological information allows us to understand how the populations of emblematic species are maintained and, in turn, how they adapt to the conditions given by climate change in the region."concluded the text of the Galapagos National Park, an entity attached to the Ministry of the Environment of Ecuador.

This archipelago is made up of 13 large islands, 6 smaller ones and 42 islets, and is considered a natural laboratory that allowed the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on the evolution and natural selection of species.

The Galapagos Islands, which were declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1978, are located in the Pacific Ocean about a thousand kilometers west of the continental coast of Ecuador.

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