The reconciliation of Marine Ecosystem Management goals, offshore drilling and the transportation of oil is a perennially sticky problem. On January 17, 2001, the tanker Jessica ran aground on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. The three million liters of diesel and bunker oil that leaked from the wreck seemed a relatively innocuous spill at the time, but within months it killed over 60 percent of the Marine Iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) on nearby Santa Fe Island, justifying the relisting of the subspecies A. c. mertensi as endangered. It is believed that even low oil concentrations in the coastal waters were sufficient to kill fermentation bacteria in the lizards' gut, rendering them unable to digest the algae upon which they subsist. This symposium, which discusses “cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on marine ecosystem–based management stresses the inclusion of the human factor. The incidence of oil-laced algae and Marine Iguana deaths highlights the human link and the need for reassessing the severity of spills as they occur to better manage the aftermath.
The artist noted: "While visiting the Galapagos, a pleasant past-time for me was observing Marine Iguanas and the many dainty finches, like the Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) shown here, hopping about these gruff-seeming lizards taking ticks and mites from their skin. These reptiles are the only modern sea-going lizards. The stronger males forage by diving once a day, and smaller females and juveniles forage from exposed reefs close to shore."