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Galapagos Giant Tortoises - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128175545, 9780128175552

Galapagos Giant Tortoises

1st Edition

Serial Volume Editors: James Gibbs Linda Cayot Washington Tapia Aguilera
Hardcover ISBN: 9780128175545
eBook ISBN: 9780128175552
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 7th November 2020
Page Count: 536
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Table of Contents

Section I: Overview
1. The Galapagos: Island Home of Giant Tortoises
2. Galapagos tortoises: Protagonists in the spectacle of life on Earth 

Section II: History of Human - Tortoise Interactions
3. Human perceptions of Galapagos tortoises through history
4. The era of exploitation: 1700-1959
5. Darwin and the Galapagos giant tortoises
6. The Collectors: Beginnings of scientific inquiry and the lasting impacts of living and museum collections

Section III: Natural History
7. Evolution and phylogenetics
8. Morphology
9. Reproduction
10. Thermoregulation
11. Behavior and Diet
12. Population biology
13. Movement ecology
14. Habitats
15. Role in Ecosystems
16. Galapagos Tortoises in a Changing Climate

Section IV: Conservation: Slow Rescue from Near Destruction
17. History of Galapagos tortoise conservation
18. Tortoise health
19. Invasive Species: Impacts, Control, and Eradication
20. Tortoise Populations after 60 Years of Conservation

Section V: Restoration Case Studies
21. Española Island: From Near Extinction to Recovery
22. Pinzón Island: A Century of Zero Tortoise Hatchlings to a Growing Population
23. Floreana and Pinta Islands: Restoring Tortoise Populations through Lost Lineage Recovery
24. Santa Fe Island: Return of tortoises via a replacement species

Section VI: Into the Future
25. Beyond rescue to full recovery


Galapagos Giant Tortoises brings together researchers and conservationists to share the most up-to-date knowledge of Galapagos giant tortoises. Despite being icons of the world-famous Galapagos Archipelago and the target of more than 50 years of conservation research and management, Galapagos giant tortoise evolution and much of their ecology remained unknown until recently. This book documents the history, the pressing conservation issues, and success stories recovering several of the 15 different species of Galapagos tortoises from near extinction.

The book begins with an overview of the history of the relationship between humans and Galapagos giant tortoises, starting from initial heavy exploitation of tortoises by pirates and whalers, and extending to the start of the modern conservation era in the 1960s. The book then shifts to biology, describing Galapagos tortoise evolution, taxonomy, ecology, habitats, reproduction, and behavior. Next the decades of conservation efforts and their results are reviewed, including issues of captive breeding, invasive species, introduced diseases, and de-extinction, as well as the current status and distribution of every species. The final portion of the book turns to four case studies of restoration, and then looks ahead to the future of all tortoise populations.The latest volume in the Biodiversity of the World: Conservation

from Genes to Landscape series, Galapagos Giant Tortoises is a valuable resource for researchers and conservationists, as well as students of biology, wildlife conservation, and herpetology.

Key Features

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the Galapagos giant tortoise species as written and edited by the world’s leading experts
  • Presents examples of restoration of tortoise populations following the near extinction of many of them
  • Describes conservation strategies to ensure the full recovery of all extant species
  • Explores recent efforts using replacement tortoises for extinct species to restore island ecosystems


Conservationists, researchers, and students in wildlife conservation, conservation biology, herpetology, captive breeding, habitat management, and invasive species control worldwide; visitors to the Galapagos Islands


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2020
7th November 2020
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

Ratings and Reviews

About the Serial Volume Editors

James Gibbs

Dr. James P. Gibbs is Distinguished Professor of Conservation Biology in the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, New York, US and Conservation Scientist for the Galapagos Conservancy. He received his Ph.D. in forestry and environmental studies from Yale University, Connecticut, US. He has worked on biodiversity conservation issues in the Galapagos over four decades.

Affiliations and Expertise

College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, New York, USA and Galapagos Conservancy, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Linda Cayot

Dr. Linda J. Cayot has worked for Galapagos conservation for 40 years. She received her PhD on Galapagos giant tortoises from Syracuse University, New York, US. Dr. Cayot served as herpetologist at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) from 1988 to 1998. In 1997-98, she initiated Project Isabela, aimed at eradicating feral goats on northern Isabela Island. She worked for Galapagos Conservancy in the US from 2006 to 2019, where she played a lead role in the development of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative.

Affiliations and Expertise

Galapagos Conservancy, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Washington Tapia Aguilera

Washington Tapia A. is the director of the of the Galapagos Conservancy’s Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative. He received his master's degree in conservation of tropical biodiversity from San Pablo University CEU, Sevilla, Spain and is pursuing his Ph.D. in biodiversity and environmental studies at the University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain. He has led conferences and headed numerous research publications focusing on the conservation and environmental factors on Galapagos animals including giant tortoises and land iguanas.

Affiliations and Expertise

Galapagos Conservancy, Fairfax, Virginia, USA