Galapagos Island Essay

1617 words - 7 pages

Charles Darwin an English naturalist and geologist discovered several species of finches on the Galapagos Islands during his second voyage on the HMS Beagle in (1831). The Galapagos Islands are a small archipelago of islands which compose thirteen main islands and six smaller isles. The vast majority of these finches varied from island to island, the large variety of the finches differed from one another. E.g., (in their beak shape and size). The major driving force of diversification was due to ecological changes. Darwin did not think of the birds of the Galapagos as significant; all Darwin discerned was that the finches were different compared to the finches native to Ecuador. To this day ...view middle of the document...

After the El Nino something had changed, the finches were now beginning to breed excessively and also with numerous partners, this phenomenon led to an increased population of more than 400%. In addition, the El Nino had prompted a reverse in the survival rate between the large ground finches (Geospiza magnirostris) and the small ground finches (Geospiza fuliginosa). The small ground finches were less at risk to death, because of the abundance of small and soft seeds that the wet El Nino had produced. The large ground finches could not adapt to the small seeds due to their beak shape and size so therefore natural selection prevailed for the small ground finches. The El Nino also had caused microevolutionary changes in the inter-breeding population. The super-Nino integrated different breeds of finches together, and at the same time, the hybrids began their rise in speciation.
Species modify their phenotypes in ways that permit them to thrive in the local environment they colonized. Hybridizations among Darwin’s finches occurred repeatedly though rarely, resulting in elevated morphological features with the (cactus finch) Geospiza Scandens and the (medium ground finch) Geospiza fortis. Hybridization between the variations had an introgressive affect on their genotypes but demonstrated higher relative fitness under various climatic settings. The interbreeding between different variants of finches had caused changes in the offsprings DNA which resulted in hybrid finches. The combined phenotypes were genetically more adaptable to the environment that the hybrids were born into, making survival less at risk than their counterparts (purebreds). The finches diversified rapidly into a multitude of new varieties, particularly when a change in the ecosystem made new resources available. The finches had rapidly produced a number of new species from a small ancestral population to expanding into unoccupied areas. Variants that are best adapted to the conditions of their life are more likely to survive and reproduce themselves--Survival of the fittest (CITE). Darwin notes, “ Animals on separate islands, ought to become different if kept long enough apart with slightly different circumstances (CITE).
The research, Darwin performed and the species he had brought back to England from his expedition were noteworthy to the development of the original theory of evolution and his idea of natural selection. Darwin’s first book On the Origin of Species published in (1859) noted two key argument(s), “All living things on earth today are the descendants, with modifications, of earlier species,” he also proposed a mechanism; natural selection, to demonstrate how biological evolution takes hold (CITE). The finches on the Galapagos Islands are a significant example of biological evolution. They are typically exhibited as a notable instance of relative fitness and adaptive radiation.
The finches increased fitness for their environment by reproductive success--the...

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