Bummer: Scientists find Galápagos Islands swarm with marine invaders


After Charles Darwin boarded the H.M.S. Beagle in 1831, the 90-foot ship visited 15 disparate lands — the likes of Brazil, the Canary Islands, and Chile — before eventually anchoring in the Galápagos Islands, four years later.

For 500 years, in fact, ships from thousands of miles away landed in Galápagos, unwittingly carrying along seeds, insects, and critters picked up from around the globe. It’s little surprise, then, that the famous volcanic land teems with foreign animals and plants. But new research, published Thursday in the journal Aquatic Invasions, shows that off the shore, the Galápagos waters are also alive with non-native, invasive species. By scouring just two areas off of two islands (there are 13 major islands), researchers discovered 48 non-native marine species — 10 times more than previously known.  Read more…

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