Galapagos Environment: Marked by fire and water

Isolated by long stretches of the Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator, the Galapagos archipelago 1,000 km west of South America and is completely in the tropics. The numerous islands. The archipelago of the size of the largest, Isabela 130km long, for the many islands and rocks sitting just a few feet above sea level The whole area is of volcanic origin and the main islands the tops of underwater volcanoes great, some resisted and now extinct, but others, such as Isabela and Fernandina, the most active volcanic regions in the world. In 1968, 350 Fernandina caldera floor crashed, and this book went to press La Cumbre volcano erupted again. Cerro Azul volcano on Isabela erupted in 1998, and also raises remodel ribs. No island seems to be more than five million years and the youngest less than a million years. Fernandina, one of the newest is the largest island in the world wild, introduced without human habitation or animals or plants. Evidence of volcanic activity as lava flows and tuff cones craters can be seen everywhere, although some islands, such as Santa Fe, basalt slabs are raised seabed.

Equatorial climates generally have little seasonal variation, but the complex ocean currents around the islands disk Galapagos weather and rainfall in two seasons recognizable affecting the vegetation and wildlife. Exact times vary, but the warm waters of the southward flow Niño in December or January, an increase in air temperature and the structure of large cumulus clouds around the islands. The “hot” season lasts until May, and it was then that 90% of the annual rainfall is mainly on the high islands. Begin in April southeast trade winds, northern Humboldt Current support on the coast of Peru, and a cooler, dry season, which lasts until June fixed for the rest of the year. The Humboldt fresh water and provide rich food resources for Galapagos significant seabird colonies reach their peak of activity in the dry. Precipitation in the coldest months are usually in the form of a light, misty rain aka “garúa.”

However, rainfall varies from place to place and from year to year. More rain falls on the high islands as weak, and falls at high altitude above the sea level. The north side of the island are in the rain shadow of east winds and receive less rainfall than the south side of the island itself. In recent years, heavy rains began in late December and lasts until May, other years, it may be nothing more than a few light showers throughout the rainy season. Precipitation heavier and larger during El Niño years.

Barrens Rocky Peaks Lush

In the short space of geological time, as the islands were formed, they were sterile, barren lava flows in complex plant communities transformed with many unique species. Known as a result, the process can take thousands of years, but it is often much faster, depending on factors such as climate, geology and rain, and it continues today on the island. Thus, a visitor to step earth brittle, barely cooled lava and lava cactus see revolutionary and I mangroves on the coast. Both conditions may change enough on the ground for others, access to less specialized plants, and a few meters inland of richer soils support distinctive vegetation strips, resulting in vegetation dense mountainous regions. Terrestrial plant communities change in the composition of the altitude and decays almost in arid zones, transition zones and wet, wet area is usually divided into three or four categories. The number of zones on each island depends on its height and thus the climate. All small islands and lowlands of the larger islands are covered by semi-desert, but the rainforest grows only on the high islands like Santa Cruz, Isabela and Floreana, on some islands, a large part of the fertile I was wet and deleted.

A large percentage of the flora has similarities with that of the tropical Central and South America, and some species resemble plants which are now only in the Caribbean. The first settlers were probably planted tiny seeds light enough to be carried by the wind and nearly 30% of the species seem to happen that way. Approximately 60% of all species were carried out on the islands of birds, or to put their feet or feathers, or ingested as food also filed in the stool, and the rest floated on the sea about 750 species of vascular plants have been identified in the Galapagos and new species and subspecies are described below. More than 540 species are native and of this number, 170 are endemic, nearly 200 are weeds or plants introduced by man.

Some terrestrial plants are almost as unique as pets and how they show excellent examples of adaptive radiation (see No Situations Vacant, p18). Particularly noteworthy are the 20 types of Scalesia, daisies trees themselves, which range from small woody shrubs trees 15 m high, which grow in dense stands as cloud forests. The six species of prickly pear (cactus fruit) have co-evolved with animals such as cactus finches, carpenter bees and land iguanas varies, and also criticized in various forms.