A hotspot of biodiversity both on land and at sea, the Galápagos Islands contain many species found nowhere else on Earth. The islands are among the most unique and irreplaceable areas in the world, harboring over 2,900 known species of fish, invertebrates, and marine mammals, in addition to endemic seabirds and the world’s only marine iguana. Of those species, 57 are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Another unique characteristic of the Galápagos is the coexistence within a small geographic region of tropical species, temperate species, and species typically found in what some scientists call the Southern, or Antarctic, Ocean. This is made possible because the islands are reached by four major currents, including upwellings of deep water rich in nutrients. Yet little scientific information exists about the marine ecosystems that stretch beyond the narrow, shallow strip of ocean surrounding the archipelago.
The Pristine Seas team is currently undertaking an expedition to the Galápagos in collaboration with the Galápagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station. The team will use scuba and rebreather diving, a manned submersible, 360-degree imaging, satellite tracking of sharks, and National Geographic drop cameras to survey and document the waters around the islands—with particular emphasis on deep and offshore environments.
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