Medio Ambiente

The Galapagos Islands Have Ten Times More Invasive Marine Species Than Previously Thought

01/04/2019 Maritime Herald

“This increase in exotic species is a surprising discovery, especially because in this initial study only a small fraction of the Galapagos Islands were examined,” says Greg Ruiz, co-author of the work and marine biologist

Photo: Maritime Herald

Photo: Maritime Herald

A total of  53 invasive alien marine species  have found their way to life in the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), which is ten times more than what scientists previously thought. This is reflected in a study carried out by researchers from the Smithsonian Research Center Environmental and Williams College (United States), as well as the Charles Darwin Foundation (Ecuador), and published in the journal  Aquatic Invasions .

The work documents 53 species of marine animals introduced into the Galapagos, a  site included in the Unesco World Heritage List and one of the largest marine protected areas on Earth . Previously, scientists only knew about five invasive species.

“This increase in exotic species is a surprising discovery, especially because in this initial study only a small fraction of the Galapagos Islands were examined,” says Greg Ruiz, co-author of the work and marine biologist at the Smithsonian Center for Environmental Research.

James Carlton, professor emeritus of the Maritime Studies Program at the Williams College-Mystic Seaport, notes that this is “the largest documented increase in exotic species in any tropical marine region in the world.”

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