Over a busy week in April, scientists and other experts from around the world united to assess the impacts of climate change on the Galápagos Islands' ecosystems – land and sea, plants, animals and people – and to propose management steps.
APRIL 20-23, 2009
One of the primary goals of the workshop, the final stage of a one-year long project supported by CI and WWF, was to scientifically confirm the predicted effects of climate change on the archipelago, as well as to postulate probable future impacts. Key findings include:
- The region’s ocean surface temperature will rise – resulting in reduced “upwelling” of cold water and nutrients essential to sea mammals and birds as they support the food chain and fish productivity.
- Increased precipitation and temperatures will result in difficult conditions for existing species – coral bleaching is increasingly evident, with serious implications for entire fisheries – and an increase of newly introduced species. These “invasive” species could also increase the spread of disease and out-compete native Galápagos species.
- Sea level rise, not yet seen in the region, will begin to impact the islands. Nesting beaches for threatened Galápagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus), and Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) may be damaged due to coastal erosion and flooding.
- El Niño and La Niña, weather patterns that can cause extreme weather events, may become more intense, and impacts on agriculture, eco-tourism, and certain species are expected to have serious negative impacts.
NEWSROOM: Galápagos battles with climate change
CI’s scientists, regional experts, and partners are on the job, and have delivered the beginnings of a plan to help the people of the Galápagos Islands adapt to climate change.
The Galápagos island region provides a globally-unique 'field laboratory' for assessing the impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity and the associated human well-being.