The ecological consequences of megafaunal loss: giant tortoises and wetland biodiversity

Froyd, Cynthia A.; Coffey, Emily E. D.; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline F. N.; Tye, Alan; Willis, Katherine J. (2014). The ecological consequences of megafaunal loss: giant tortoises and wetland biodiversity. Ecology Letters, 17(2), pp. 144-154. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing 10.1111/ele.12203

[img]
Preview
Text
van der knaap.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).
Online Open: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12203/abstract

Download (375kB) | Preview

The giant tortoises of the Galapagos have become greatly depleted since European discovery of the islands in the 16th Century, with populations declining from an estimated 250000 to between 8000 and 14000 in the 1970s. Successful tortoise conservation efforts have focused on species recovery, but ecosystem conservation and restoration requires a better understanding of the wider ecological consequences of this drastic reduction in the archipelago's only large native herbivore. We report the first evidence from palaeoecological records of coprophilous fungal spores of the formerly more extensive geographical range of giant tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Upland tortoise populations on Santa Cruz declined 500-700years ago, likely the result of human impact or possible climatic change. Former freshwater wetlands, a now limited habitat-type, were found to have converted to Sphagnum bogs concomitant with tortoise loss, subsequently leading to the decline of several now-rare or extinct plant species.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

van der Knaap, Willem Oscar and van Leeuwen, Jacqueline

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1461-023X

Publisher:

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2014 16:10

Last Modified:

14 Jul 2015 09:25

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/ele.12203

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Coprophilous fungi, ecosystem engineer, Galápagos Islands, giant tortoise, megafaunal extinction, wetlands

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.40895

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/40895

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback