Sunday, 10 January 2010

Ascension species

Hello all. The mushypea is currently on Ascension Island carrying out some work with the conservation department. At some point I must write an article on the complicated ethics of conservation work which so heavily favours some species over others (not specifically on Ascension) but for now I want to write about something happy.

Attached is a photo of a small rock pool in one of the lava flows near the coast of Ascension (not me in picture). Incredible though it may seem, this tiny pool is home to a small species of shrimp found nowhere else on earth. It's nearest relatives are in Hawaii and the Caribbean, but here in this muddy pond it exists in its own world, along with an endemic form of algae, and probably a fair few other undescribed species.

At the most basic level, I find something truly wonderful and exciting about the ability of life to adapt and survive in the most improbable of environments. It took over an hour of clambering over rocks in the baking sun to get to this little pool, but it was worth every second.

Next time, something about windmills and climate change on Ascension.

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