Galapagos Islands
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Galapago Islands: Palomar College Field Trip August 1989
Ektachrome Transparencies by W.P. Armstrong, August 1989

M/N Bucanero off the shore of Hood Island.

Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) on Hood Island. This is an excellent example of adaptive radiation where ancestral species colonized a new habitat and evolved into different species. Many thousands of years ago, iguanas floated out to these volcanic islands from the mainland of Ecuador. The new species evolved in response to different selection pressures that enabled them to fill unique ecological niches. This species is unique amoung modern lizards because it dives and forages in the sea. There are also endemic land iguanas on the Galapagos Islands that feed on prickly pear cactus and other vegetation. The story of Darwin's Finches on the Galapagos Islands is another classic example of adaptive radiation.

Blue-Footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) on Hood Island.

Young Galapagos fur seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) on Hood Island.

Giant prickly pear (Opuntia echios var. gigantea) on Santa Cruz Island. This remarkable species evolved a tall woody trunk resembling a ponderosa pine to protect it from browsing by giant tortoises.

Galapagos passion flower vine (Passiflora foetida galapagensis) on Santa Cruz Island.

Floreana Island in early evening: The endemic shrub Lecocarpus pinnatifidus (foreground) with the M/N Bucanero in distance. A few of us were left on this island until the crew discovered that we didn't show up for dinner on the Bucanero!