How the islands formed?
Islands are classified into two fundamental categories:
- Continental islands, like Hispaniola, where Dominican Republic is, are separated fragments of a continent by slow geological phenomena. The Hispaniola is the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba, and the eleventh most populous island in the world.
- Oceanic islands, on the other hand, rise directly from the bottom of the sea and most are a consequence of volcanic activity. Living organisms also participate in its consolidation. The coral forms the periphery of many volcanic islands and sometimes grows in shoals where it constitutes whole islands. Mangroves are other island builders; in shallow water its high roots can retain enough alluvial material to form emerged lands.
How do arrive living beings to the islands?
It is enough for birds and bats to fly to the newly formed islands; other colonizers, such as seeds, spores, insects and certain spiders that are swept by the wind, also arrive in the air. Some arrive as bird guests: mud attached to the feet and feathers of birds that migrated to an island near Java contained 21 kinds of seeds as well as insect eggs and snails.
Other colonizers arrive by sea, as there are seeds that survive a long time floating in salt water. Sometimes the plants arrive like masses of floating vegetation torn from the continental borders and dragged by the currents. In this kind of rafts are also stowaways, such as insects, lizards and other animals. The famous turtles of the Galapagos probably arrived from South America on rafts of that type.
Thus, the islands have created a natural environment and biodiversity of their own. In Saona and Catalina there are birds, turtles, dolphins, whales and manatees among other species. You just have to be lucky to see some of them, maybe during the catamaran trip or doing snorkeling, which some are in danger of extinction…
In the natural pool, on the way to Saona, in the Natural Park of the East, you can also see starfish. They must be treated with care because they are very delicate and can die if they are kept out of the water for a long time or left on their backs in the sea.