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Image of Galapagos ocean currents map

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Currents are like rivers in the ocean. This map shows the complexity of currents surrounding the Galapagos. This situation has profound influences on the Galapagos climate and hence its animals, especially due to the El Niño effect. During El Niño, the cold Humboldt Current from the south slackens off and the islands are bathed in the warm waters of the Panama Current (arrow labeled "Niño Flow"). Water and air temperatures rise and rainfall increases dramatically. Land animals thrive. On the other hand, nutrients the Humboldt normally brings to the islands, fall in concentration so aquatic life, and seabirds that depend on it, suffers. Currents were and still are important in transporting land and sea animals to the Galapagos (see animal origins).
(Map modified from Michael H. Jackson, Galapagos: A Natural History Guide)

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