In 1979, the Galapagos Islands was one of the earliest World Heritage Sites to be selected by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), a designation intended to protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage around the world. Today, there are over a thousand World Heritage Sites and the Galapagos Islands are one of the most widely valued.
The biology of the Galapagos Islands has arguably been studied more than any other archipelago in the world. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands for five weeks in 1835 and then spent the next several decades at his home in England conducting experiments on a multitude of non-Galapagos species to confirm his theory of natural selection. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, one of the most important ideas in all of science.
The islands are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 605 miles (973 km) off the west coast of South America and consist of 13 main islands and 6 smaller islands. Only some are open to visitors.
In this richly illustrated tour of the Galapagos, world renowned photographer and naturalist Wayne Lynch captures the unique wildlife living here, including the Galapagos tortoise, the marine iguana, the flightless cormorant, the blue-footed boobie and the magnificent frigatebird.
In 1979, at the age of 31, Dr. Wayne Lynch left a career in emergency medicine to work full-time as a science writer and photographer. Today, he is one of Canada's best-known and most widely published professional wildlife photographers. He is the author of Penguins of the World. He and his wife Aubrey live in Alberta, Canada.
Galapagos: A Traveler's Introduction ordinarily would appear in our travel section, but its solid biology and rich color photos from naturalist author Wayne Lynch makes it a special recommendation for armchair readers with any interest in the visual and scientific processes of these unique islands. The lovely photos are the backbone of a discussion designed to visually illustrate Darwin's theories, providing amateur naturalists with beautiful color images that make it easier to understand not only Darwin's observations and conclusions, but the special allure of the Galapagos. It's a rare visual treat highly recommended for armchair naturalists, would-be visitors, and nature enthusiasts alike.
(starred review) In this richly illustrated guide, Lynch (Planet Arctic) shows readers why the Galapagos Islands, where naturalist Charles Darwin studied habitat-specific adaptations of wildlife, still fascinate scientists and tourists alike. Lynch is a seasoned nature photographer, and his large, full-color images offer readers stunning glimpses of the islands' life and landscapes. The book begins by discussing how eruptions from underwater volcanoes formed this chain of Pacific islands as recently as 80-90 million years ago. Most of the book showcases and provides concise information about specific species of flora and fauna, particularly those that have developed unique biological traits, such as the heavy or pointed beaks of the finches that so amazed Darwin, and other species, such as the Galapagos penguin, that are found nowhere else on Earth. Lynch includes a chapter on human visits to the islands, which were limited for centuries to pirates and castaways. Today, the Galapagos attract more than 220,000 tourists yearly and boast a permanent population of more than 35,000. The final chapter details how habitat loss, pollution, and invasive species point to a challenging future for this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lynch's beautiful and informative guide is a must for fans of nature photography and perfect for tourists planning to travel to the islands.