Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Chromista Ochrophyta Phaeophyceae Laminariales Alariaceae

Scientific Name: Eisenia galapagensis
Species Authority: W.R.Taylor
Common Name(s):
English Galapagos Kelp, Galápagos Kelp

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): Miller, K.A., Garske, L. & Edgar, G.
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N. & Carpenter, K.E. (Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinating Team)
Prior to the 1980s, recorded from multiple sites across the central and western archipelago, but currently only known from western Fernandina and southwestern Isabela after targeted surveys. Based on total reduction in extent of occurrence over the past thirty years, mean population decline estimated at 30 to 50% per ten year interval over that period, with presumed cause of decline (El Niño) persisting and probably exacerbated by climate change. This species assessed as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Eisenia galapagensis is an endemic species from the Galápagos Islands. Prior to 1983, reported from: Santa Cruz: Academy Bay (Taylor 1945: type locality), Caamaño and opposite Gordon Rocks (Taylor 1945). Santa Fé. Marchena: North Bay (Taylor 1945). Fernandina: Punta Espinosa. Isabela: Caleta Iguana (Wellington 1975). Floreana: Post Office Bay (Taylor 1945) and Black Beach Anchorage (Taylor 1945). After 1983, reported from: Fernandina: Cape Douglas (2004 record), several sites on the western coast (2007 records; Graham et al. 2007). Isabela: Caleta Iguana (2007; Graham et al. 2007).
Countries occurrence:
Ecuador (Galápagos)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southeast
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Taylor (1945) reported E. galapagensis as rare and uncommon at Post Office Bay, Floreana, and common at Academy Bay, Santa Cruz. Additionally, Wellington (1975) reported E. galapagensis as especially abundant at depth around Caleta Iguana (Isabela). Since then, it has been collected from several sites off western Fernandina in 2004 and 2007, and at Caleta Iguana in 2007 (Graham et al. 2007).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:E. galapagensis has been reported to occur at depths of 27 to 55 m (Taylor 1945). This species is easy to recognize, in part because it has a maximum size of at least 85 cm frond length and is the sole known member of the cold-water order Laminariales occurring in the Galápagos Islands. E. galapagensis typically grow in groups; juveniles through adults were observed at all sites recorded in 2007. Individuals have been found as shallow as 12 m but populations appear to increase in density and size with depth, to at least 60 m when suitable substrata are available (Graham et al. 2007). The conspicuous sporophyte alternates with a microscopic phase.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Presumably El Niño and climate change. Ecosystem interactions involving these two factors appear to have caused widespread decline in algal populations because of an increase in density of grazing sea urchins and other herbivores, following overexploitation of predators along with ENSO disturbances.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: E. galapagensis is present within the Galápagos Marine Reserve (IUCN category VI); Galápagos Archipelago Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA); Galápagos Island World Heritage Site (UNESCO N (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)), and Galápagos Island Man and Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO).

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
suitability: Suitable  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.1. International level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.2. Problematic native species
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.3. Temperature extremes
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.5. Other impacts
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

0. Root -> 100.1. OLD 1.1.1-Policy-base actions->Management plans->Development
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Graham, M.H., Kinlan, B.P., Druehl, L.D., Garske, L.E. and Banks, S. 2007. Deep-water kelp refugia as potential hotspots of tropical marine diversity and productivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 16576-16580.

IUCN. 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 12th September 2007).

Taylor, W.R. 1945. Pacific marine algae of the Allan Hancock Expeditions to the Galápagos Islands. Allan Hancock Pacific Expeditions 12 12(iv): 528 pp.

Wellington, G.M. 1975. The Galápagos coastal marine environments. A resource report to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. A resource report to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Quito. 357 pp.

Citation: Miller, K.A., Garske, L. & Edgar, G. 2007. Eisenia galapagensis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T63598A12686906. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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