Phenomena

Galapagos Week: Introduction

One hundred and eighty-two years ago today, the H.M.S. Beagle reached the Galapagos archipelago carrying, among others, naturalist Charles Darwin. The ship would spend the next month exploring the islands, and Darwin’s experiences during that time, and the specimens he collected, would ultimately lead him to propose the concept of evolution.

I had the incredible opportunity to visit the Galapagos Islands last October, and, like so many before me, I was fascinated by the islands and their remarkable ecosystems. The Galapagos Islands are located at the equator, but they owe much of their rich biodiversity to sitting at the confluence of several ocean currents, both warm and cold. In particular, the cold Cromwell Current’s upwelling on the western side of the archipelago carries valuable nutrients up from the deep and helps support vibrant marine life from bioluminescent plankton to leaping mobula rays. (And, yes, I geeked out over both.)

Over the next week, FYFD will be exploring some of the fluid dynamics of the Galapagos Islands and their denizens on land, sea, and air. Be sure to check back every day for a new post! (Image credit: N. Sharp and J. Shoer)

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