Galapagos Islands Oceanic Systems - Galápagos, one of the most unique and complex oceanic systems in the World. It is an interdependent system with many cold water marine animal and plant forms, mainly due to dominant cold water currents. The Galápagos archipelago is one of the most complexes, diverse and unique in the world, still holding its biodiversity and ecosystems untouched and with little human alterations.
Location, biological richness, evolutionary processes and little human presence have made these islands of world recognition: World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve. Galápagos marine and terrestrial environments hold tight interdependence, and any alteration of any one has a profound effect on the others. Therefore the Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR) cannot be treated separately from the terrestrial areas, the Galápagos National Park (GNP).
Climate, marine currents and geographical isolation have produced a high degree of biological diversity and endemism. More than 2900 marine species have been reported, out of which 18.2% are endemic. Average per biotic group is richer, up to 25% of the total. Nowadays several studies are carried on quantification and identification of new species, mainly through taxonomic surveys and exploration and collection of deep water areas.
Many marine habitats are rocky bottoms, vertical walls, sandy beaches, mangrove forests and coral reefs. Coastal vegetation also shows a high degree of endemism. Many coastal lagoons, wet lands and salt water-fresh water interchange zones hold still many non-surveyed unique species. Among the natural events that affect the Galápagos marine communities we can find western up-welling and El Niño event (El Niño Southern Oscillation: ENSO).
In the last years formal and informal information have confirmed that the biological location known as “bajos” in the East, South and South-East of the Galápagos correspond to the presence of shallow submerged geological structures (mounts or volcanoes of 500 meters or less).
Around and over these structures we can find suitable oceanic conditions that favor marine life and a great biotic production. As a result, these areas show a great and constant concentration of many biological elements that interact in a shallow pelagic ecosystem. These elements frequently form gregarious feeding groups, made from species of different nature: migratory and pelagic, like tuna, sharks and needlefish, and also coastal, like sea lions, birds, marine iguanas and turtles, 100% of which are found in the GNP areas.