PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Galapagos Author Talks About 'Collecting Evolution' and Vindicating Darwin


The Galapagos Islands represent one of the world’s pinnacles of natural diversity as well as scientific discovery. It is the place that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, and has since become one of the last unspoiled ecosystems on earth. A new book traces the the journey of the scientists who spent a year in the Galapagos collecting specimens that bolstered Darwin's ideas.

Darwin’s journey in 1835 was followed almost a hundred years later by an expedition by eight men on a yearlong mission to collect information and specimens on geology, entomology, ornithology, botany, zoology and more. The story of these men is compiled in “Collecting Evolution: the Galapagos Expedition that Vindicated Charles Darwin,” written by Matthew James. He's presenting his research and book at Florida Gulf Coast University and at the Kapnick Center at Naples Botanical Garden.

Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., James explains how he built his story around artifacts in archives, interviews, and by thumbing through diaries and old letters. And he'll explain how the expedition that vindicated Darwin's theories have relevance to conservation efforts in Southwest Florida today.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.