Thursday, August 13, 2009

Galapagos face ecological disaster due to tourist trips: study

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Mosquitoes brought into the Galapagos on tourist planes and boats threaten to wreak "ecological disaster" in the islands, central to Darwin's theory of evolution, a study said Wednesday. The insects can spread potentially lethal diseases in the archipelago off Ecuador's Pacific coast, used by Charles Darwin as the basis of his seminal work "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection".

"Few tourists realise the irony that their trip to Galapagos may actually increase the risk of an ecological disaster," said Simon Goodman of Leeds University, one of the study's co-authors. "That we haven't already seen serious disease impacts in Galapagos is probably just a matter of luck."

The study found that the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, was regularly hitching rides on planes from the South American mainland, and island-hopping on tourist boats between the different islands….

Darwin's finches or Galapagos finches. Darwin, 1845. Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the world, under the Command of Capt. Fitz Roy, R.N. 2d edition.

No comments: