Text and images by Leandro Vaca
The following news summarizes the tidings of our multi-institutional research cruise by the Direction of Galápagos National Park (DGNP), University of San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), University of North Carolina (UNC) and the Galápagos Science Center (GSC). The goals of this large-scale endeavor are to generate base line information on the current state and health of indicator organisms and emblematic species to determine the overall state of the Galapagos’ mayor ecosystems.
The cruise initiated on the 10th October of 2014, taking off from Santa Cruz Island, Pto. Ayora at 8H00 pm. On their way he research crew visited many of the Galapagos’ larger and smaller islands, including Fernandina, Isabela, Pinta (origin of the tortoise Lonesome George), Marchena, Genovesa and Santiago. During the visits to each of the islands we developed the field work and in-situ measurements of oceanographic parameters for our mayor research lines inlcuding primary productivity, Galápagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) and Galápagos Fur Seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) censuses, a marine iguanas census, coral community ecology, cetacean sighting, intertidal community ecology as well as micro-plastic pollution.
Research activities were developed at diurnal schedules where tasks were divided between teams working on land and in the marine environment. Field work in the intertidal zone was conducted at various times of the day, coinciding with the ideal low tide conditions exposing intertidal communities.
Follow our updates with detailed reports on each of our mayor research lines to be published here on the GSC El-Niño Research Cruise – News Blog.