Hello from Galapagos,
Sorry I have not been in touch for a while, but I’m back with lots of news. During the month of February my supervisors Professor Terry Dawson and Dr Ken Collins came to visit me in the Galapagos Islands. For their arrival I organised a diving trip to the west of the archipelago to search for marine invasive species. The itinerary was to leave the Island of Santa Cruz and travel toward the island of Santiago spend a day diving there and then travel all the way up the coast of Santiago and the east of Isabela Island round the top to Punta Vicente Roca where to our surprise we found orcas and sunfish at one of our dive spots. From this point we travelled to the island of Fernandina, which is the island most west of the archipelago where a huge upwelling occurs. After Fernandina we slowly made our way down Canal Bolivar stopping at different dive spots we have on the way. During the dives we found Caulerpa racemosa var. occidentalis and Asparagopsis taxiformis in a few of the sites. These two types of algae are known to be invasive in other parts of the world and are established in the Galapagos Marine Reserve but do not show an invasive behaviour. At this time there are 6 of these species that are on our watch list. This means we are keeping an eye on them in case they change their behaviour and start affecting the ecosystems because of some change in the environment due to climate variations or physical changes.
This trip was part of the yearly monitoring for marine invasive species around the archipelago. At the end of the trip we stopped off at Puerto Villamil, which is one of the inhabited ports on the island of Isabela, here I presented our findings to the Galapagos National Park and the community. There was a lot of interested and I have been asked to return to the island and give another talk to the schools in the area. In Puerto Villamil we also held meetings with some of the collaborating institution that are the Galapagos NationalPark and the Ecuadorian Navy. The last activity we conducted was theport monitoring around the main passenger docks, cargo docks and navigation buoys.
More from the Galapagos soon,