The Galapagos archipelago: A natural laboratory to examine sharp hydroclimatic, geologic and anthropogenic gradients

WIREs Water
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Abstract

Poor understanding of the water cycle in tropical ecosystems has the potential to exacerbate water shortages and water crises in the region. We suggest that the Galápagos Islands provide an excellent proxy to regions across the tropics as a result of sharp hydroclimatic, anthropogenic, and pedohydrologic gradients across the archipelago. Hydroclimatic and pedohydrologic gradients are found across different elevations on single islands, as well as across the archipelago, whereas anthropogenic gradients reflect land use and land cover change across islands as population and growth in tourism have affected individual islands differently. This article highlights specific opportunities to further examine our understanding of the interactions between water and critical zone processes in tropical ecosystems, making connections between the Galápagos archipelago and much of the understudied tropics. The Galápagos archipelago offers a natural laboratory through which we can examine current threats to freshwater security as well as the dynamics of coupled natural and human systems.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The Galapagos archipelago: A natural laboratory to examine sharp hydroclimatic, geologic and anthropogenic gradients
Series title WIREs Water
DOI 10.1002/wat2.1145
Volume 3
Issue 4
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Publisher location Hoboken, NJ
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 587
Last page 600
Country Ecuador
State Galapagos Islands
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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