News
Home  >  News > A current look into the rich biodiversity of the lost world of tepuis

A current look into the rich biodiversity of the lost world of tepuis

The edition of this book has been led by the experts Teresa Vegas-Vilarrúbia (UB) and Valentí Rull (ICTJA-CSIC).

The edition of this book has been led by the experts Teresa Vegas-Vilarrúbia (UB) and Valentí Rull (ICTJA-CSIC).

These highlands are natural laboratories to study the origins and evolution of biota and neo-tropical ecosystem. Image: Yuribia Vivas

These highlands are natural laboratories to study the origins and evolution of biota and neo-tropical ecosystem. Image: Yuribia Vivas

Pantepui is a great region with ecosystems of big interest and value for the scientific community. Image: Bruce Holst

Pantepui is a great region with ecosystems of big interest and value for the scientific community. Image: Bruce Holst

These biogeographical regions are a key scenario to explain and understand the causes that create the known latitudinal gradient of biodiversity. Image: Bruce Holst

These biogeographical regions are a key scenario to explain and understand the causes that create the known latitudinal gradient of biodiversity. Image: Bruce Holst

According to the experts, we risk losing one of the few virgin biomes on the planet. Image: Bruce Holst

According to the experts, we risk losing one of the few virgin biomes on the planet. Image: Bruce Holst

03/07/2019

Recerca

Hard-to-access rocky walls, high cliffs and a great amount of endemic communities in those peaks shape the typical landscape of tepuis, authentic natural laboratories to study the origin and evolution of biota and neotropical ecosystems.

These rare ecosystems –which inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World- are the axis of the book Biodiversity of Pantepui. The pristine “Lost World” of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands (Ed. Elsevier-Academic Press), published in an edition led by the experts Teresa Vegas-Vilarrúbia, from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona (UB) and Valentí Rull, from the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera of the Spanish Scientific Research Council (ICTJA-CSIC). The authors of this publication are the experts Otto Huber, from the Museum of Nature of South Tyrol (Italy), and Josefa Celsa Señaris, from the Natural History Museum La Salle de Caracas (Venezuela).
 

Pantepui, an unknown world to the scientific community

The new volume gathers for the first time the most recent knowledge on biota and the origin and evolution of these biogeographical regions –Pantepui- of the Guiana Shield. This great geological shield in South America, which ranges from Venezuela, the Guianas and Brazil, was traditionally regarded as one of the unaltered regions of the planet. “The most important objective of the book was to gather biogeographical patterns of the diversity and endemism of Pantepui”, says Valentí Rull. “So far, every expert had published in journals –sometimes with little outreach- on the findings of the specific group of analysed bodies”.  

Now, the new book gathers the existing knowledge and analyses from the geographical, ecological and evolutionary perspective. “Pantepui is a key scenario to explain and understand the causes that create the known latitudinal gradient of biodiversity”, notes Rull. “These gradients are expressed with high biological diversity values in the tropics, which decreases towards the planet poles. In short, the region offers one of the few real opportunities to study this general pattern and see the natural environmental factors, evolutionary processes and ecological mechanisms that created the high tropical biodiversity”.

 

The biodiversity in the Guiana Shield peaks, in danger

The new publication analyses the main threats to preserve the biodiversity in Pantepui, a great region with ecosystems of great interest and value for the scientific community. According to the lecturer Teresa Vegas-Vilarrúbia, from the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences of the UB, “the lack of specific studies on the ecological requirements of the species in Pantepui and its adaptation, the bureaucratic difficulties to do research in the original place of the tepuis peaks, and the lack of the proper management for the conservation are factors that make the process of knowledge on the neotropical regions more difficult”. 

Global warming is another of the big threats for the conservation of the biodiversity of Pantepui. “These effects could be fatal for the endemic species that live in the tepuis peaks and cannot migrate to higher areas”, notes the lecturer Vegas-Vilarrúbia.

“According to the IPCC climate forecasts –continues Vegas-Vilarrúbia- a 22 % of the endemic species in Pantepui –which can’t be found in any other place- are estimated to lose their habitat by 2050, a figure that could rise to 49 % by the end of the century. This would involve their definite extinction at a global scale. It is urgent to focus future studies on the ecology of the threatened species. This is how we can opt for conservation measures with a good basis and guarantees”.

“Global warming is not only intensifying but also acceleration, but the governments’ and big energy corporations’ decisive response actions are weak, and late. We are running out of chances to act”, concludes the lecturer Vegas-Vilarrúbia. 

 

Share this at:
| More |
  • Follow us:
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Facebook profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Twitter profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Instagram profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Linkedin profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Youtube profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Google+ profile
  • ??? peu.flickr.alt ???
Member of International recognition of excellence HR Excellence in Research logo del leru - League of European Research Universities logo del bkc - campus excel·lència logo del health universitat de barcelona campus

© Universitat de Barcelona