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Department of Biogeography

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein

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Steinbauer, M*: Relating space and the geological evolution of island archipelagos to the diversity of high elevation ecosystems
Talk, Vulnerable islands in the sky: science and management of tropical island alpine & sub-alpine ecosystems, Hawaii, USA: 2012-08-03 - 2012-08-08

High elevation ecosystems on oceanic island typically offer a higher degree of endemic species than their low elevation counterpart. A possible reason besides the lower human influence might be the stronger environmental isolation from source regions for biotic colonisers. The later hypothesis should be especially true for islands in relative proximity to a continent and diminish with increasing spatial isolation. However, inter-archipelago species exchange is considered to be a major process in the colonisation of oceanic islands. High elevation ecosystems pose a special opportunity when investigating this mechanism as they are the part of an island that is fastest eroded in the ontogeny of an oceanic island. This leaves the highly specialised biota the least time to establish and move on to a newly emerging island within the archipelago.
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