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June 2010 Archives

A Galapagos lichen survey conducted on 16 June 2010 by an international scientific team of lichenologists, botanists, professors, graduate students, and naturalists taking part in a lichen workshop at the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) uncovered a bounty of new findings:  more than 60 species newly reported from Galapagos, and an estimated ten species new to science.
Lichen survey.jpg
The one-day field excursion resulted in 400 samples collected on Santa Cruz Island from diverse habitats in various vegetation zones and on an array of substrates.  Identifications for half these new specimens have been completed with the remainder requiring further examination.

All specimens were databased, visually inspected, studied under the microscope, examined with ultra-violet and chemical analyses and cross-checked against the CDF Quick Guide to Galapagos Lichens. The results of the workshop will be included in the CDF Galapagos Species Checklist.

The workshop participants hailed from the following institutions: Rosa Batallas, National Herbarium of Ecuador; Lenyn Betancourt, CDF; Frank Bungartz, CDF; Desiree Cruz, Galapagos Naturalist Guide; Manuela Dal Forno, George Mason University, US; Valeria Dután, CDF; Anne Guézou, CDF; Patricia Jaramillo, CDF; Harald Jonitz, Galapagos Naturalist Guide; Robert Lücking, Field Museum, US; Danilo Minga, University of Azuay, Ecuador; Ricardo Miranda, National Autonomous University of México; Fredy Nugra, University of Azuay, Ecuador; Catalina Quintana, Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador; Eimy Rivas-Plata, Field Museum, US; Adriano Spielmann, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil; Diego Villagomez, CDF; Alba Yánez-Ayabaca, Central University of Quito, Ecuador; and Frauke Ziemmeck, CDF.

Among the exciting finds are species in the genera Coenogonium, Physcia, Coccocarpia, Cryptothecia, Herpothallon, Heterodermia, Pyrenula, Parmotrema, Aulaxina, Phaeographis, Sticta, Calopadia, Pseudocyphellaria, and many others.

"Describing new species and discovering previously unreported ones is exciting," says lichenologist Dr. Frank Bungartz, workshop coordinator and CDF Head of Natural History Collections and Theme Leader in Biodiversity Assessment.  But he continues that:  "It is also an essential part of fully understanding the complex components that make up ecosystems.  Without knowing the individual elements of ecology -- the species -- we cannot anticipate how these elements fit together.  It is therefore critical to expand our horizons -- to notice the unnoticed."

This workshop demonstrated how much remains to be discovered in Galapagos.  In the past four years since CDF began its Galapagos lichen inventory in November 2005, seven new species have been described with many more still awaiting formal publication.  As a result, the list of lichen species known from the archipelago has tripled from 200 to now more than 600 species.

"We identified more than 60 new Galapagos species in just one day, some of them scientifically undescribed.  It gives us a rather good idea," observes Bungartz, "of how little we know and further inspires us to deepen our understanding of Galapagos biodiversity!  To do science objectively," he continues, "to really understand ecosystems and how they function, we can no longer afford to ignore the fungi, lichens, bryophytes and invertebrates that make up the large majority of life on Earth. Biodiversity is more than just the sum of its parts."

The Lichen Collection of the CDF Herbarium contains 12,000 specimens of now more than 600 Galapagos species.  Look for lichens and additional scientific data on the continuously updated  CDF Galapagos Species Checklist.

Source: Charles Darwin Foundation


TUTC dives into Blue-footed Booby Day

Long standing supporters of the Galapagos Conservation Trust, The Ultimate Travel Company, came along to Trafalagar Square on Friday 18 June to join in the celebrations of Blue-footed Booby Day.

BFBD 1 Toni & Lara low res.jpg The Ultimate Travel Company said it was delighted to be playing a part in the latest BBC Wildlife Fund initiative: "Its Wear Wildlife to Work idea made it very easy for everyone to be involved and certainly inspired the Galapagos Conservation Trust.

Their Blue-footed Booby Day proved to be a real hit with the crowds in Trafalgar Square and, as always, we were very happy to support their fund-raising effort", said Nick Van Gruisen, managing director of The Ultimate Travel Company BFBD 6 + fountain low res.jpg .




Silver man and Blue footed Booby low res.jpgThe pigeons in Trafalgar Square got a shock today when they were joined by a silver 'statue' with blue webbed feet supporting Blue-footed Boobies.

The Galapagos Conservation Trust's chief executive Toni Darton said: "The Blue-footed Booby is symbolic of the threatened species on the Galapagos Islands, the paradise which inspired Charles Darwin, but which is now at risk."

Celebrating Blue-footed Booby Day, the Galapagos Conservation Trust was joining in the BBC's Wear Your Wildlife to Work Day, part of the BBC Wildlife Fund's appeal to help save threatened species and wild places around the world. The appeal culminates this Sunday with BBC 2's Wild Night In.
A fun day was enjoyed by GCT supporters, including those from The UltimateTravel Company, as they celebrated Blue-footed Booby Day in Trafalgar Square on 18 June.

Tourists and pigeons looked on in amusement as supporters danced and paddled in their blue shod feet. Here are a selection of photographs which capture the day.




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Silver man and Blue footed Booby low res.jpg BfBD Lara in front of billboards low res.jpg BfBD kid taking pic low res.jpg BfBD Silver man and his lady low res.jpg


Andrew Marr, BBC broadcaster and President of the Galapagos Conservation Trust is wearing his blue shoes in support of the Trust's 'Blue-footed Booby Day', on Friday 18 June, which is part of the wider  BBC Wildlife Fund's  Wear Wildlife to Work Day.
Andrew Marr wears his blue shoes to work2 copyrightBBC small.jpg
One of the highlights of the appeal is a live fundraising extravaganza Wild Night In on Sunday 20 June, on BBC Two from 8-10pm.

Kate Humble, supporter of the BBC Wildlife Fund and a presenter of Wild Night In, said: "I hope everyone will join in and support the BBC Wildlife Fund appeal, and celebrate the wonder of our natural world through conservation - whether it's restoring humble habitats for dormice or saving majestic species such as sharks.  "Let's all go truly wild and help bring our most vulnerable wildlife back from the brink of extinction."

Amy Coyte, Director of the BBC Wildlife Fund, said: "Never has the need to help save species and restore wild places been more urgent. Working with charities taking positive action across the globe we hope to make a real difference for wildlife."

The BBC Wildlife Fund's first live appeal programme, Saving Planet Earth, was broadcast in 2007. The appeal raised a total of just under £2 million, which has been used to help save threatened species ranging from albatrosses and Galapagos penguins to slow worms and spiders.
Other success stories include securing a vital land corridor for rare African elephants in Namibia and a programme of rabies prevention vaccinations for Ethiopian wolves. In the UK, the BBC Wildlife Fund has helped to restore the habitat of the Adonis blue butterfly in Sussex and supported an innovative survey to safeguard the future of Bechstein's bat, one of the UK's rarest mammals.

All of the money donated by the public will be used to support wildlife conservation. Money raised will be distributed via grants to UK registered charities involved in conservation work around the world and also on our doorstep.

Wildlife enthusiasts of all ages can take part in the appeal and celebrate the diversity of life on Earth. A special fundraising pack, full of ideas of how to go 'Wild for Money' at school, work or home, is available from the BBC Wildlife Fund's website Wild for Money

GCT 2009 Report

GCT's annual report and audited accounts for 2009 are now available. Highlights are:

* Raising over £700,000 income for the first time in our history, an increase of 34% over the previous year and at a time of economic uncertainty

* Providing grant funding of over £335,000 for Galapagos, including direct grants of over £200,000 to the Charles Darwin Foundation

* Raising close to £150,000 for Project Floreana and launching our Donate a Darwin Appeal to save its flagship, the Floreana Mockingbird, at the Bank of England in February

* Engaging a record number of young people - our combined Junior membership and Tortoise Club for Primary Schools saw a 35% increase in membership during the year

* Recruiting a record number of Life Members - 32 in all during the year

* Establishing a £400,000+ joint research fund with Cambridge University to develop lasting links between the University and Galapagos

* Capitalising on the Darwin anniversaries to raise GCT's profile and put Galapagos conservation firmly in the spotlight, and leveraging increased funds as a result.

A copy of the report and accounts can be seen and downloaded  by clicking on the following link:

FINAL accounts for 2009.pdf
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