The Galapagos Penguin is assessed to be an Endangered species (IUCN 2010, BirdLife International 2o12). Having faced large population fluctuations since the 1970s, the Galapagos Penguin’s small, endemic population is in trouble. Population bottlenecks have led to a decrease in genetic diversity, which could hinder the species ability to adapt and overcome future obstacles such as disease, or a change in food source (Bollmer et al. 2007). Usually relying on cold nutrient-rich upwellings to survive, populations have instead been met with many years of warm, unproductive waters due to El Niño. Warmer waters have forced many parents to abandon their young in search of food, ultimately resulting in the starvation of many adults and offspring (Boersma 2008). El Niño can also bring a halt to breeding due to high surface water temperatures (Boersma 1976). Other causes of population decline currently being studied include low variability in the major histocompatibility complex MHC gene, feral cat (Felis catus) predation, and microfilariae (parasitic nematodes) found in the hearts of some Galapagos Penguins (Bollmer et al. 2007, Merkel et al. 2007, Vargas et al. 2006).