In a study published today in the journal PeerJ, scientists from the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the National Geographic Society revealed that the northern Galápagos islands of Darwin and Wolf are home to the largest shark biomass reported to date (12.4 tons per hectare).
Worldwide, overfishing has reduced the biomass of most sharks and other large predatory fishes by more than 90 percent — even in remote areas. The findings detailed by CDRS and National Geographic Society researchers in PeerJ are significant because the presence of these top predators indicates a healthy marine ecosystem. Moreover, the data amassed over two years of rigorous research will add to a growing body of literature about the role of top predators in marine ecosystems.
“The islands of Darwin and Wolf are jewels in the crown of the Galápagos because of the sheer abundance of sharks and other top predators,” said Pelayo Salinas de León, the paper’s lead author and senior marine ecologist at CDRS.