Notes From the Field! #Galapagos
Jen Jones, @galapagosconservationtrust #PlasticsPollution “Thanks to the support of the International Iguana Foundation, we will continue our surveys in Punta Pitt, San Cristobal island and in our new study site in the west of the Archipelago - Fernandina and western Isabela island. As well as continuing the environmental sampling for macro and microplastics, we hope to get baseline data for other pollutants including hydrocarbons and heavy metals to add to our ecotoxicological knowledge.
We will also be sampling the marine iguana’s major food source – the green algae (Ulva lobata) – to establish if there are differences in food quality between our polluted and pristine sites. Laboratory studies have shown that algal surfaces can accumulate microplastics which is a concern for the trophic transfer of pollutants to algae eaters such as marine iguanas. They are also known to accumulate heavy metals and may be useful bioindicators for pollution in the future. We will take blood and faecal samples from marine iguanas at both sites to assess for evidence of microplastic ingestion and analyse vital health indicators to assess if there is a difference between the two populations.
A family ‘Connecting with Nature’ Day is planned later in the year to present the project to the San Cristobal community as part of GCT’s wider outreach programme. We will also add a new case study to our ‘Discovering Galapagos’ materials for use in schools.” Photos: Jen Jones
#iguana #plastics #pollution #singleuse #reptile #marine #lizard