Genetic Consequences of Invasive Species in the Galapagos Islands

  • Jaime A. ChavesEmail author
Part of the Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands book series (SESGI)


Species invasions of the Galapagos Islands is the number one threat to its endemic biodiversity. The Galapagos Islands support important human settlements, which combined with thousands of visitors per year making the archipelago highly susceptible to invasions of nonnative species. Invasive species reached the Galapagos most likely from mainland Ecuador and exhibit genetic signatures consistent with recent founder events. Comparisons between invasive populations in Galapagos and their native counterparts on the mainland reveal lower genetic diversity in the former. These invasions are generally consistent with our understanding of how invasive species reach and persist on islands, and help us to highlight the generality of this relevant biodiversity threat, as a path to search for potential solutions. Here, we present some examples of the genetic consequences of such invasions in the hopes that these can be used to inform policy, management, and science decisions concerning native and invasive species on the Galapagos.


Human-mediated introduction Alien species Mitochondrial DNA Phylogenetics Genetic diversity Founder event Hybridization Genetic erosion Haplotype 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colegio de Ciencias Biológicas y Ambientales, Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQQuitoEcuador
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Ambientales BIÓSFERAQuitoEcuador

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