Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Darwin's Galapagos



The incredible biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands was key to shaping Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Two hundred years on from the birth of Darwin, BBC science correspondent David Shukman visits the archipelago.

Use the map below to move around three of the main islands. Click on the icons to see how the wildlife and landscape informed the scientist's great discoveries.
 

Floreana Island

A key stop on the Darwin trail

Post Office Bay in the Galapagos was the site of a key conversation for Charles Darwin.

Tourism pressure endangers islands

The number of tourists in the Galapagos has soared in recent years. From just a few thousand visitors in the 1970s, about 180,000 people visited the archipelago last year. And if the growth continues at the current rate, some predict more than half a million tourists may be heading to this area by 2017. Tourism is a major source of income for this region and there are tight regulations surrounding the movements of tourists. However, conservationists are worried about the potential impact on this ecosystem. They believe that the more people who come into the area, the greater the risk of oil spills or other environmental damage to the islands. Invasive species are also a concern: increased movement from tourism and commerce has allowed many new species to reach the islands, threatening the native flora and fauna.

Saving Darwin's mockingbirds

Mockingbirds were a key feature of Darwin's theory of evolution - but now some species are close to extinction.

All this week, BBC News will be reporting from the Galapagos Islands.

Text by David Shukman, photographs by Mark Georgiou and video by Rob Magee

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