Concentraciones de plomo en huesos de pinnípedos confirman que las Islas Galápagos son un entorno relativamente no contaminado

Lobo marino de Galápagos


• Se analizó el plomo en los huesos de cuatro especies de pinnípedos de tres áreas marinas.

• Las concentraciones más bajas de plomo se encontraron en pinnípedos del archipiélago de Galápagos.

• Las concentraciones de plomo fueron más altas en pinnípedos de Mauritania y el Río de la Plata.

• En aguas mauritanas, la probable origen del plomo fue el polvo del Sahara transportado por el viento.

• En las aguas del Río de la Plata, la probable origen del plomo fue las actividades industriales.


El plomo (Pb) es un elemento traza que está presente de forma natural en regiones áridas, pero también se libera al medio ambiente marino mediante emisiones industriales antropogénicas. En este estudio, evaluamos las concentraciones de Pb en muestras de huesos de cuatro especies de pinnípedos: el lobo marino de Galápagos Zalophus wollebaeki, muestreado en el archipiélago de Galápagos, la foca monje Monachus monachus de Mauritania, y la foca de pelo sudamericana Arctocephalus australis y el león marino sudamericano Otaria flavescens, de Uruguay, e investigamos posibles diferencias geográficas. Las concentraciones de plomo en las muestras de Galápagos fueron más bajas que las detectadas en las muestras de Mauritania y Uruguay, indicando que el archipiélago de Galápagos es un lugar comparativamente prístino para este elemento tóxico en relación con las otras dos áreas. Las aguas de Mauritania y Uruguay probablemente están afectadas por la entrada de plomo transportado por el polvo del desierto y liberado por la industria local, respectivamente. Este estudio respalda el uso de los huesos para evaluar las concentraciones de plomo en la biota, así como el uso de pinnípedos como bioindicadores de la contaminación marina.

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In 2022, the Galapagos Science Center (GSC) and the broader UNC & USFQ Galapagos Initiative will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. We are proud to announce the World Summit on Island Sustainability scheduled to be held on June 26–30, 2022 at the Galapagos Science Center and the Community Convention Center on San Cristobal Island.

The content of the World Summit will be distributed globally through social media and results documented through papers published in a book written as part of the Galapagos Book Series by Springer Nature and edited by Steve Walsh (UNC) & Carlos Mena (USFQ) as well as Jill Stewart (UNC) and Juan Pablo Muñoz (GSC/USC). The book will be inclusive and accessible by the broader island community including scientists, managers, residents, tourists, and government and non-government organizations.

While the most obvious goal of organizing the World Summit on Island Sustainability is to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the GSC and the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, other goals will be addressed through special opportunities created as part of our operational planning of the World Summit.

For instance, we seek to elevate and highlight the Galapagos in the island conservation discourse, seeking to interact with other island networks in more obvious and conspicuous ways to benefit the Galapagos Islands, the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, and the world. We will seize the opportunity to further develop the I2N2 – International Islands Network-of-Networks. Further, we wish to highlight and emphasize multiple visions of a sustainable future for the Galapagos Islands and we cannot do this alone. Therefore, engaging the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, the Government Council of Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park, and local Galapagos authorities, including government and non-government organizations and local citizen groups, is imperative.

The Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Borrowing from Hawaii’s and Guam’s Green Growth Program and the Global Island Partnership, we wish to examine existing global programs that emphasize island sustainability and their incorporation into life, policies, and circumstances in the Galapagos Islands. We will also seek to enhance our connections with the institutional members of our International Galapagos Science Consortium and expand the Consortium through the recruitment of other member institutions. We will also work to benefit islands and their local communities by working with citizen groups as well as important NGOs who seek to improve the natural conditions in the Galapagos and diminish the impact of the human dimension on the future of Galapagos’ ecosystems.

Lastly, we will use the World Summit to benefit UNC & USFQ and our constituencies through a strong and vibrant communication plan about the World Summit, creating corporate relationships as sponsors, identifying funding goals through donors, and benefiting our study abroad program for student engagement in the Galapagos Islands. We plan to develop and issue a Galapagos Sustainability Communique after the World Summit that includes the vision and insights of all its participants for a sustainable Galapagos with applicability to global island settings.

We are eager to hear your perspective and have you join us at the World Summit on Island Sustainability!