ISLAND BIODIVERSITY AND CULTURAL EVOLUTION: EXAMPLES FROM THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN, MADAGASCAR, MAURITIUS, PHILIPPINES DURING THE PAST 800,000 YEARS

Abstract: 

Islands, due to their isolated setting, lower complexity and smaller size, are ideal natural laboratories for studying the effects of natural and human-induced changes on ecosystems. In addition, many islands are hot spots of modern, often endangered, biodiversity and home to unique human cultures.

Studies that are based solely on the present-day island ecosystems are likely to miss the aspect of change and, in addition, overlook important components of the ecosystems that are no longer represented (e.g. the now extinct megafauna). For that reason, data from the recent past are necessary. A better understanding of the past changes on islands and the importance of those changes to human culture will help us to develop better approaches in conservation and to stimulate community involvement. Such knowledge will have application to actual islands and on fragmented continental "habitat islands" as well (e.g. nature reserves).

The proposed project is a study of the changes through time (Pleistocene and Holocene) of abiotic, biotic and ethnographic characteristics of islands from the Eastern Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and the West Pacific. These areas have a different geologic, biogeographic, ethnologic and historical background and therefore will contribute to a broader understanding of the subject.

The basic aim is to identify how the natural and anthropogenic changes of island ecosystems affected the insular biodiversity and what is the cultural dimension in this change.

The project will combine methods and data from Earth Sciences, Life Sciences and the Humanities and will provide a novel synthesis on this subject. Furthermore, it will establish a working group with the potential to investigate the interaction between biodiversity, environmental change and human culture worldwide.

Project info

Acronym:
ISOLARIO
Scientific Coordinator:
Drinia Hara
Research Team 2 Leader:
Antonarakou Assimina
Research Team 3 Leader:
Papadopoulos George
Research Team 4 Leader:
Xirotiris Nikolaos

Stats

I.D.:
1160
Mis:
375910

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