Praise Research Center for Protecting Galapagos Wildlife

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Target: Darwin Initiative project leader, Ken Collins

Goal: Praise the Charles Darwin Research Station for working to protect the wildlife in the Galapagos

A team of scientists from universities across the United Kingdom has assembled as part of the Darwin Initiative, which aims to protect biodiversity and to determine the extent of the damage caused by invasive species in the Galapagos. Developing strategies to reduce damage caused by tourism and cargo ships could not only save Galapagos from further destruction, but also teach scientists how to protect marine wildlife around the world. This research deserves our support.

Until recently, the Galapagos was believed to have been returning to a period of homeostasis, but scientists with the Darwin Initiative and the Galapagos Marine Reserve uncovered a decaying ecosystem caused by tourism, invasive species, and the passing of cargo ships. Project leader Dr. Ken Collins made a says, “Tourism is partly to blame for the influx of invasive non-native species, due to the huge rise in ships and planes from mainland Ecuador bringing in pests.” During their research it was discovered that cargo ships and tourism boats were carrying disease-infected mosquitoes, which were attracted to their white deck lights. White algae attaching itself to these vessels is also an immediate concern as two new algae species have already been found in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

The team is already coming up with solutions after receiving a U.K. government grant. Now, it’s just a matter of implementation. Using yellow sulfur bulbs on the ships and also fumigating the hulls before departure can eliminate the mosquito population. Further research must be done to determine if the new species of algae will compete for space and resources. Once they return from the Galapagos, the researchers will be meeting with several maritime groups including the Ecuadorian Navy to discuss control measures.

Please sign the petition below to show your support for the Darwin Initiative research group. With enough support and funding, this team could find answers to many of the problems that plague our most valuable and rare marine ecosystems.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ken Collins,

Through your work with the Darwin Initiative and the Galapagos Marine Reserve, your team of researchers has not only discovered several threats to the Galapagos ecosystem, but also several solutions to these problems. Tourism and cargo ships threaten one of the most diverse and rare environments on the globe and your findings hold the key to keeping it safe.

Thank you for your contribution to marine biodiversity. I hope that you receive the support and funding you need in order to continue working and finding answers that will keep wildlife protected around the world.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: ccharmon via Flickr

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