Galápagos: A Natural History
Princeton University Press, 2006 - 221 pages
The Galápagos Islands are a paradise for birders, botanists, geologists, and snorkelers, with many islands still devoid of human habitation. Since they lie more than 600 miles west of South America and were never connected to the mainland, almost all plant and animal life arrived here by chance. As Charles Darwin discovered, the evolution of plants and animals is more visible here than anywhere else on earth.
John Kricher, a renowned ecologist and Galápagos ecotour guide, presents a detailed natural history of this spectacular archipelago. He looks at the amazing diversity of life found here, from iguanas to penguins, and explains the fascinating geology of these remote islands. Throughout his narrative, Kricher weaves the intriguing history of evolutionary biology that is intimately connected with the islands, and describes Darwin's adventures and observations while he was visiting in 1835.
Indeed, Kricher takes his chapter titles from comments scattered throughout Darwin's account of his expedition around the world, The Voyage of the Beagle. Kricher closes his book by assessing the conservation efforts to preserve the Galápagos--and the challenges these efforts have met. Of special interest is the book's richly detailed island-by-island guide. For both the ecotraveler and the nature enthusiast, Galápagos is essential reading.
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Nothing Could Be Less Inviting
First by Bucaniers and latterly by Whalers
Charles Darwin and 3 7
At Least Two Thousand Craters
These Great Monsters
All the Birds Were So Tame 9 9
One Small Intimately Related Group of Birds 12 5
Several Huge Whales