Record Details

Toral-Granda, M Verónica;Causton, Charlotte E;Jäger, Heinke;Trueman, Mandy;Izurieta, Juan Carlos;Araujo, Eddy;Cruz, Marilyn;Zander, Kerstin K;Izurieta, Arturo;Garnett, Stephen T
Alien species pathways to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Journal Article
Iguana iguana
Alien species, one of the biggest threats to natural ecosystems worldwide, are of particular concern for oceanic archipelagos such as Galapagos. To enable more effective management of alien species, we reviewed, collated and analysed all available records of alien species for Galapagos. We also assembled a comprehensive dataset on pathways to and among the Galapagos Islands, including tourist and resident numbers, tourist vessels, their itineraries and visitation sites, aircraft capacity and occupancy, air and sea cargo and biosecurity interceptions. So far, 1,579 alien terrestrial and marine species have been introduced to Galapagos by humans. Of these, 1,476 have become established. Almost half of these were intentional introductions, mostly of plants. Most unintentional introductions arrived on plants and plant associated material, followed by transport vehicles, and commodities (in particular fruit and vegetables). The number, frequency and geographic origin of pathways for the arrival and dispersal of alien species to and within Galapagos have increased over time, tracking closely the increase in human population (residents and tourists) on the islands. Intentional introductions of alien species should decline as biosecurity is strengthened but there is a danger that unintentional introductions will increase further as tourism on Galapagos expands. This unique world heritage site will only retain its biodiversity values if the pathways for invasion are managed effectively.