Jose Luis Rivera


Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) nesting near a cliff on Española Island in the Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador.  

This sea bird species is highly endangered mainly due to its small population size, limited range (99% of the world’s population nests at Española) and problems with fishing industry. They wander around the ocean for several months per year, and only return to land to breed, between April and September. They nest once per year, having only one chick, being its only predator the Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis), another endangered species that is endemic to the Archipelago. The abundance of Albatrosses and other sea bird chicks maybe a key factor to understand the differences in the Galapagos Hawk’s breeding system, that on Española are monogamous, whereas in the rest of the Archipelago are polyandrous (one female that breeds with several males). 

My current research focuses on understanding how the survivorship of the Galapagos Hawk is influenced by intrinsic factors (such as sex, body size or age) and environmental factors (vegetation coverage as a measure of resource accessibility). And how differences in survival probabilities may be related to its breeding system.

Portraits Of Research 2009