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15 January 2019

Easing of selective pressure on Opuntia cacti in the Galapagos Islands

A cactus you can pet with your bare hand? Turns out it can tell you something about whether that island contains any land iguanas. A case study in the easing of natural selective pressure.

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14 January 2019

A tale of three iguanas

As noted last week, I spent the week spanning New Year’s Eve in the enchanted isles of the Galapagos. The previous week (over Christmas) my family and I were in coastal Ecuador. I saw a total of three species of iguanas in the two locations, and they offer a neat little story of evolution. Let’s take a look. First, let’s introduce the key players: The green iguana, Iguana iguana (coastal Ecuador, …

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8 January 2019

Geology of the Galapagos Islands

Dozens of delectable geological images from the Galapagos Islands, showing fluid basalt flows and violent pyroclastic deposits along with many primary volcanic features (and a bit of sedimentology thrown in for good measure).

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27 April 2016

An opportunity to help in Canoa

As I mentioned last week, I have family in one of the coastal towns in Ecuador that was hardest hit by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake the previous weekend. Don and Wendy have asked me to share this opportunity to help: The James Dean Byrd Foundation runs a school in Canoa, La Escuela Bilingue los Algarrobos, whose campus is currently being used as a staging ground for the military’s assistance in …

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21 April 2016

Firsthand reports from Canoa, Ecuador after the quake

Callan’s mother-in-law lives in one of the most strongly-shaken regions of Ecuador. Here, she and her boyfriend recount the experience of the earthquake Saturday night and its aftermath. Includes 8 photos from the scene.

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21 November 2013

Giant oyster fossil (?) from Ecuador

My mother-in-law collected a cool oyster for me: She found it down in Ecuador; I think on the beach. She says it’s a fossil, but I haven’t been able to identify it at all, as either ancient or modern. Anyone know?

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31 January 2013

Industrious iridescent blue wasps

A friend of the family sent me these photos from coastal Ecuador, where these fast-working wasps rapidly constructed a nest. Photo #1 is from Tuesday morning, and photo #2 is on the afternoon of the same day!

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28 August 2011

Damage to the Ecuadorian Embassy

My wife Lily is an Ecuadorian citizen. She was born in Quito, and we have traveled there together. (She’s also a U.S. citizen.) After the big earthquake on Tuesday, significant structural damage was reported at several Washington landmarks including the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Castle. Another one, less recognizable to most folks, but key in our personal geography, is the Embassy of Ecuador. Not only is it an outpost …

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