Saving Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos


This video from the USA says about itself:

Help Protect Darwin’s Finches!

From the Northlands News Center in the USA:

Duluth native’s idea could help save Darwin’s Finches

May 26, 2014

Updated May 27, 2014 at 7:05 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) – A famous group of bird species has a Duluth native to thank for helping save it from a grim fate.

Darwin’s Finches, studied by famed researcher Charles Darwin, are a group of several bird species on the Galapagos Islands.

The birds had been dying from a parasite laid in their nests by flies. It was known that a mild insecticide could kill the parasites, but it was hard for researchers to get to the nests and apply the insecticide without disturbing them.

Then, Duluth native and University of Utah researcher, Sarah Knutie, had an idea.

“Female Darwin’s Finches were coming to my laundry line and grabbing frayed fibers off of the laundry line,” said Knutie, who had been studying the finches in the Galapagos as part of her dissertation, “[I thought] I wonder if I could spray cotton balls with this mild insecticide, present the cotton balls to the finches and allow them to take the cotton back to their nests and essentially kill the parasites themselves.”

Her idea worked. The researchers found that the insecticide-treated cotton lowered the number of parasites in the Finches’ nests.

While Knutie says this is a short–term solution, it is progress in what biologists say could become a very serious problem.

“Very unique organisms live there [the Galapagos Islands] that aren’t found any place else on earth,” said University of Minnesota Duluth biology professor, Dr. Timothy Craig, “It would be a real loss in a lot of ways if we lose one of those species.”

Knutie is nearing the end of her PhD work at the University of Utah and has a job at the University of South Florida as a post–doctoral researcher.

She hopes to one day be a professor.

Jennifer Austin

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3 thoughts on “Saving Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos

  1. Reblogged this on Cuy, the "Hamster" and so on… and commented:
    A little information for those of you wondering about the beautiful Galapagos islands. Personally its my favorite spot, but some of you may otherwise think differently. Regardless, you will never have an actual valid opinion about this chain of magnificent islands until you actually visit them. Obviously every place does have its ups and downs but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to visit this place.

  2. Pingback: How cotton balls are helping Darwin’s finches fight parasitesBig Online News | Big Online News

  3. Pingback: Explorer Thor Heyerdahl born 100 years ago | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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