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Voyage to the Galapagos Guide & Resources

Welcome to the Galápagos, a living laboratory of evolution, and the place that inspired Charles Darwin's revolutionary theories. In this episode of Scientific American Frontiers, Alan Alda tours this unique archipelago with scientists studying the unusual wildlife that inhabit the various islands.

Here are the topics and running times of stories on this show and a brief description of related activities you'll find in this online teaching guide:

  • Darwin's Eden (running time 10:32): Begin your journey on Española, where you will meet the giant tortoise, one of the famous residents of the Galápagos. ACTIVITIES: Conduct soil and water tests, then compare student data with data from the Galápagos.

  • Evolving Beaks (running time 7:53): Darwin's finches have given scientists the best demonstration of evolution in action. ACTIVITIES: Observing bird beaks; design a better beak.

  • Lizards of the Sea (running time 11:39): Marine iguanas adapted very successfully to life in the Galápagos, but were devastated by the last El Niño. ACTIVITIES: Understanding El Niño and La Niña; local and regional effects of global weather events.

  • Masked Killers (running time 9:00): Biologist Dave Anderson has enjoyed unique access to the daily struggles of masked boobies. ACTIVITIES: Wild adaptations of animals.

  • Paradise Lost? (running time 13:33): Scientists struggle with the challenges of maintaining biological diversity in the Galápagos. ACTIVITIES: Debate the pros and cons of ecotourism; alien invaders.

  • Viewer Challenge -- After you watch Voyage to the Galapagos, test your viewing skills with ten questions about the show!

  • Read a special letter from Alan Alda on the 10th anniversary of Frontiers!

  • Related Sites for Voyage to the Galapagos.


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.