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Video transcript

- John McCosker. I'm chair of the department of Aquatic Biology at the Academy of Sciences. The Galapagos is a very unique place on planet Earth. It is an island group that 9 million years ago came from the seabed 1000 kilometers from the shore. And a number of animals were capable of reaching it. Not many, but the few that did make it were able to evolve in isolation. And during that period of time they became endemic species found nowhere else on plant Earth. Every since Darwin in 1835 visited the Galapagos Islands and realized that the uniqueness of the animals that lived in Galapagos was very special to science as well as to all humanity. He was overwhelmed by the uniqueness of some of the tortoises, the mocking birds, some of the plants and animals. You see, the plants and animals on the Galapagos are so unique that 50% of the birds were found nowhere else. With scuba and submersibles we can go underwater and realize that the same endemism, uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands occurs underwater, much as it does above the water. It is a hotspot because of all the dangers that it now faces because of humanity. Increased tourism, invasive species, and the universal global problems of climate change, ocean acidification, damage to near-shore environments, exaggerated climate effects of El Ninos and La Ninas such that no place on Earth is safe, even the Galapagos. We have to focus on those areas that have the highest degree of biodiversity, who have also been very damaged by humanity. In order for us to save what's left on plant Earth we must focus.