Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Great Books on the Galapagos Islands

To learn more about the Galapagos, here are 4 great books to check out:

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire by Tui De Roy

From Scientific American:
In words and pictures, Tui De Roy, a magazine writer and one of the world's leading wildlife photographers, introduces readers to the islands that were her home for 35 years. Brought to the Galapagos at age two by her Belgian parents, De Roy grew up amongst the giant tortoises, the iguanas, the sea lions and birds that are unique to the islands. These were the creatures that Charles Darwin spent five weeks observing and collecting in 1835 and that formed the basis of his theory of evolution. The book is elegantly structured: each chapter emphasizes one distinct aspect of the Galapagos in the hope that by "displaying visually the essence of its splendid wildness," the volume can serve as an inspiration to ensure the survival of the islands' threatened animals.

The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner

This is the Pulitzer Prize winning book about two Princeton University evolutionary biologists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, engaged in the long-term study of Darwin’s Galapagos finches. This work is of enormous significance because it studies evolution in real time. For 25+ years the Grants and their graduate students constantly tracked generations of finches on one a very small Galapagos island, Daphne major, measuring beak size, weighing, and observing the birds to validate Darwin's theory of evolution.

Galapagos: A Natural History by Michael H. Jackson

From Book News, Inc.
The text details the natural history of the plants and animals found in the Galapagos Islands. Accented with numerous illustrations, it also provides an annotated list of the dominant plants according to vegetation zone. The discussion covers the problems of colonization by founding populations, biological evolution and ecology, and the evolutionary processes bringing about species diversity.

The Galapagos Islands: A Natural History Guide, Sixth Edition by Pierre Constant

New York Daily News
By far, the best Galápagos guide on the market. Photos are tantalizing as well as truly informative.