Galápagos marine iguanas and climate change


This is a video of a marine iguana coming out of the water to join his friends.

From Yale University in the USA:

Global climate change: The impact of El Niño on Galápagos marine iguanas

New Haven, Conn. — A before-and-after study led by Yale biologists, of the effects of 1997 El Niño on the genetic diversity of marine iguanas on the Galápagos Islands, emphasizes the importance of studying populations over time and the need to determine which environmental and biological factors make specific populations more vulnerable than others. …

“Since global warming is expected to cause an increase in the strength and frequency of El Niño events, it is important to evaluate the impact of El Niño on natural populations and their capacity to respond to environmental stresses,” said Gisella Caccone, senior research scientist in ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, and senior author of the paper published this week in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

In this study, the researchers investigated the effect of sea surface warming associated with the single, intense El Niño event of 1997 to 1998 on genetic diversity in Galápagos marine iguana populations. They found that populations within the same species responded very differently.

For marine iguanas living in the Galapagos Islands, an El Nino can be deadly. Some die from starvation while others survive. Scientists have long believed that the difference between life and death for the iguana depended on the animals’ ability to secrete the stress hormone corticosterone: here.

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7 thoughts on “Galápagos marine iguanas and climate change

  1. Kiwi in hospital after shark attack
    Monday, 24 December 2007

    A Wellington man is in hospital after a shark attack in the Galapagos Islands, near Ecuador.

    Sam Judd, 24, was bitten in the leg while surfing at San Cristobal Island on Friday, TV3 reported.

    Mr Judd managed to punch the shark away from him, but was left bleeding and in shock. Two friends pulled him to shore.

    The incident came as no great shock to Mr Judd’s mother, former Act Party president Catherine Judd, who said her son was accident prone and that she was used to those sorts of calls.

    “I’ve had a lot of those sorts of calls from ambulances an d other places and I’m sort of inured to those sorts of disasters, but this takes the cake.”

    Mr Judd, who received 23 stitches for thhe leg wound, said the attack would not keep him out of the surf.

    The shark attack was the first ever recorded in the Galpagos Islands.

    NZPA

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