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Wildlife & Ecosystems

Following Darwin’s Finches in the Galapagos

How are foods introduced by humans literally changing the face of the iconic Darwin’s finch in the Galápagos Islands?


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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

To conserve the diversity of Darwin’s finch species, we must understand how humans impact them.

This research will deepen our understanding of diversification—how species come to be different from each other.

Fourteen species of birds make up the group know as Darwin’s finches. As Darwin once observed, while these species look very similar, they have adapted in an array of ways to be different from each other and perfectly suited to their particular habitat within the Galápagos. Many scientists believe these birds to be the fastest-evolving vertebrates, which make them fascinating to study. These researchers have already observed changes in beak shapes and sizes that seem linked to human food sources, and with your help, they can continue to track, essentially, evolution in action.

finch-research-science-galapagos

This study will have important long-term implications for the evolution and preservation of the wide variety within the Darwin’s finch species.

This study will have important long-term implications for the evolution and preservation of the wide variety within the Darwin’s finch species, and possibly for species around the world. It can provide guidelines for how to conserve Darwin's finches in face of increasing human disturbance. The research also helps raise awareness about the unexpected ways humans trigger the decay of biodiversity, even in one of the best-protected places in the world.

Darwin’s finches can tell us much more about how we humans reshape the natural world. Your work on this research project will help conserve the distinctions that make these species, with their rich historical and biological significance, what they are.

About the research area

Galapagos, Ecuador, South America

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

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The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Luis Fernando
De León
Researcher, Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología

ABOUT Luis Fernando De León

In the incredibly biodiverse Galápagos Islands, Dr. Luis Fernando De León studies the evolution of the iconic Darwin’s finches.

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Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food

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