Darwin and a Galapagos for Nudibranchs2
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In the water, a Dive Team perches adjacent to an underwater island recently reputed to be a site of Species Transmutations. While Transmutation is more metaphorical here, as Darwin’s theories are a perfect fit for this area, the earlier naturalists like Lamark would likely have seen many of these Nudibranchs as Key Indicators of the ability of a species to change itself into a “different species”. One population may use a specific toxin from it’s surroundings, to concentrate and fire off against interested predators, and another population that was once identical, is now using a different toxin and completely new set of Defensive Strategies, in a nearby area, with much larger currents and more turbidity....The BHB Marine Park is a place where previously unknown species of Nudibranchs have been spotted, harboring new defenses and new solutions. Here, each has found a Niche in yet one more sub-environment of this Underwater Archipelago, this underwater Galapagos for Nudibranchs.

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The scientist, ( photo far right) Anne Dupont, is on a “mission.” At this unique spot by an Island off of South Florida, She has 5 discoveries of Nudibranchs never found in the US before and 11 possible new species discovered..... Here, nestled inside the protection of the intracoastal waterway, marine life can live in shallow water with maximum exposure to sunlight, yet minimal threats from surf or storms. A marine estuary, the area is a rich nursery ground , and one of very few that divers have access to. In 1835, a young and excited Charles Darwin noticed an explosion of divergent species while exploring the Galapagos Islands. This drove Darwin to ponder the transmutation of species, and in time, to arrive at his theory of Evolution and Natural Selection. The questions were fascinating for Darwin, and are equally fascinating now to Dupont. Why is a species suddenly showing so much change? What are they reacting to? What is allowing the new versions to survive and reproduce?